Lil Wayne Riffs on Pussy, Menstrual Periods, and "Nightmares of the Bottom," August 2

Photo by Sayre Berman
Check out County Grind's 22-photo I Am Still Music Tour slideshow.

Lil Wayne
With Rick Ross, Keri Hilson, and Far East Movement
Cruzan Amphitheatre
August 3, 2011

Better Than: Suckin' on a "Lollipop" while learnin' "How to Love."

In the runup to last night's Lil Wayne show at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, we here at Crossfade dropped the most pressing question in popular music ... Has the Young Money maniac gone soft?

Citing court-ordered sobriety, Weezy's recent foray into Grade-A weenie music, his Rebirth fashion line, self-propagated rumors of retirement, and the apologetic tone of his new mixtape, we wondered if Mr. Carter's been irreversibly mellowed by 11 months on Rikers Island.

At the time, though, we didn't make any big, bold pronouncements on the supposed softness of the new Wayne. We made a few jokes. We talked some shit. But ultimately, we decided to reserve final judgement until after spending a night with the YMCMB boss, fellow billionaire Ricky Rozay, and the rest of the I Am Still Music megatour.

So ... Now that we've gotten drunk, sweaty, and stupid with Weezy, do we have an answer? Well, yes and no.

Photo by Sayre Berman
Chillin' with the YMCMB street team.

Rolling up to the intersection of Sansbury Way and Process Drive at 7:27 p.m., Crossfade arrived at exactly the same time as Rick Ross. Accompanied by Meek Mill ridin' shotty, the Maybach Music mogul was driving his white Rolls Royce at a perfectly legal speed while studiously obeying the directions of Palm Beach County traffic cops. You know, he might bark a lot about coke deals and car chases. But deep down, Mr. Rick is a good citizen.

Within minutes, the Boss dissappeared into the VIP parking lot and then backstage. Meanwhile, we got stuck at the general admission gate for an hour, trying to untangle a press pass snafu. The result: Missing every minute of Far East Movement and Keri Hilson's sets.

(Sorry, FEM, Keri, and everyone else with an early stage slot, we would've totally written some blurbage about you. But unfortunately, blindly listening to blown-out echoes of "Like a G6" and "Pretty Girl Rock" from a distance of several hundred yards isn't really a concert experience that deserves a recap.)

Photo by Sayre Berman
Sorry, Ms. Hilson, we didn't wanna miss ya.

By the time we made it to Section 1, Row S, Seat 15, it was 8:38 p.m. and Rick Ross had already ripped through a leadoff track (which we couldn't identify from our position in the parking lot), "Hustle Hard," and "Aston Martin Music."

Alone onstage like some kind of soldier-king with an insanely enormous God Forgives I Don't banner behind him, Rozay was rockin' out in a XXXL white tee, shin-length camo shorts, a single chunk of simple bling around his throat, and a pair of expensive shades. He blasted through that new-ish slice of now-classic click-clack -- "B.M.F. (Blowin Money Fast)" -- before bringing out Meek Mill for a couple of collabo cuts -- "I'm a Boss" and "Tupac Back" -- off Self Made, Vol. 1.

Photo by Sayre Berman

Done after a half-hour, the Boss left with a holla and an inspirational message. "Can I get a Rozay?," he shouted. "I gotta say thank you to all you motherfuckers for supporting Maybach Music and Ricky Rozay. Remember that dreams come true. Maybach Music started in a basement."

During the lull between sets, the DJ alerted the audience to a photo op ("If you want a picture with Far East Movement, they're over at the t-shirt stand takin' pictures") while letting Lil Wayne's Sorry 4 the Wait mixtape play out, start to finish. Swishers were lit. Sweat was shed. And warm beer got guzzled.

And then half-way through the playback of "IDK," the clock clicked to 9:29 p.m., the lights went out, the PA went silent, and several thousand Young Money motherfuckers started screaming. It was finally time to find out whether Weezy is soft, still hard, or something else entirely.

From the beginning, the signs were mixed. After spinning the recorded version of his verses off Eminem's "No Love" as an intro, Wayne came screaming out onto the stage like a spazzy speed fiend, sprinting straight at the crowd, giddily flailing his limbs with excitement, and raging through truncated takes on "I'm Goin' In" off Drake's So Far Gone, Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now," and DJ Khaled's tag team track "Put Your Hands Up." This shit was definitely hard.

But next, he took a timeout to share some feelings. "Now before I go any further, I'll be sayin' shit throughout the night like 'I love every single one of y'all' and 'I appreciate every single one of y'all.' You know, shit like that."

"But I want you to know when I say that ... I want you to know that I am a 28-year-old self-made millionaire," he continued. "I also want you to know that I can have almost anything I want when I want it. So why the fuck would I lie when I say I love every single one of you motherfuckers? You feel me? Cool."

Photo by Sayre Berman
Weezy loves and appreciates every single one of y'all.

"I also want to say three things about myself. Number one is I believe in God. Number two is I ain't shit without you. And number three, the most important one, is I ain't shit without you. Ya dig?" This shit was pretty soft, even if it was endearing.

A little later, after blitzing through a hyperactive blast of classic Weezy F. Baby tracks ("A Milli," "Got Money," "Wasted," "Go DJ"), he dug deep into the vault, saying, "This part of the show's for the real Lil Wayne fans. What I'm gonna do right now is do a few of my favorite songs and see if y'all fuck wit' 'em. Let's go!"

So what exactly were Wayne's picks? He unzipped some Playaz Circle's "Duffle Bag Boy." He got philosophical with "My Life." And for 15 seconds, he spit so hard over Khaled's "We Takin' Over" that he almost had a seizure. That shit was straight thuggish, i.e. hard.

Next, though, we entered the poppy slow jam portion of the evening. And it started promisingly with one of Weezy's typically twisted, sexually explicit monologues. But then it all got bogged down in sugary stuff and a mini-set by Young Money singer-dancer Shanelle.

You could smell the romance in the air. And addressing the ladies, Lil Wayne said: "If your pussy stinks, be quiet!" In response, the females screamed girlishly to communicate something like, "In fact, I own a fragrant vagina." So he upped the ante: "If you're on your period, be quiet!" And the females screamed girlishly again. Satisfied, he turned to the dudes and delivered the punchline: "Fellas, you can thank me later."

That shit was weird, borderline offensive, and kinda funny. But the slow jams ("Motivation") and Shanelle songs ("Button," "Hair Down My Back" minus Lil Wayne) were way soft. The crowd even took a seat.

But once Weezy returned to the stage, shirtless and sweaty, tossing off a couple of trademark tracks ("If I Die Today" and "I'm on One"), the party was back to bangin'. And even though Wayne took another quick timeout to "clean off" 'cause he was sweating like a "pig," it only took a minute.

Photo by Sayre Berman

He toweled down, changed his shorts, switched his shoes, and bounced out for "We Be Steady Mobbin'," "Mr. Carter," "Miss Me," "Single," and "Lollipop." It was a pretty solid sequence that unfortunately peaked (or bottomed out) with a gurgling rendition of semi-acoustic sapfest, "How to Love." And if you're wondering ... It ain't any better in concert.

But entering the final quarter, Weezy obviously kicked his game into overdrive. He brought Birdman to the stage for "Fire Flame" and "Money to Blow" before calling out a bunch of YMCMB associates and friends -- Gudda Gudda, Mack Maine, Lloyd, and Shanelle again -- to rattle off "Every Girl in the World," "BedRock," and a couple of Rebirth cuts. Basically, Wayne was drivin' like Iverson, hitting the paint hard.

He toyed with the crowd, spitting a spoken-word version of his Carter IV track, "Nightmares of the Bottom." And then as the show ended, he disappeared into the shadows behind his stage set and teased us with the possibility of an encore. "No, no, no ... If you really want one more song, you gotta sing," he insisted, snickeringly crooning, "Ooone mooore sooong!" The crowd pleadingly complied. And Weezy agreed straight away, blurting out "OK!" and tearing into a raw "6 Foot 7 Foot" before he wrapped the show with a giveaway sesh -- throwing his shoes, a few shirts, and even his boxer shorts into the mob -- and throwing a Muhammad Ali robe over his shoulders, saying "Sayonara," and skipping off the stage.

After Lil Wayne waved bye-bye to all his West Palm motherfuckers, we tried to spend a little quiet time pondering that "most pressing question in popular music." And here's Crossfade's half-cooked conclusion: The Young Money maniac hasn't really gone soft. But you can't honestly say he's hardcore either. Dude's all over the place -- weird, wild, goofy, gross, ingenious, touchy-feely, hyper, hood, silly, stupid, smart, and occasionally insane.

Over the last decade, we got used to a syrup sippin', stream-of-consciousness spittin', non-stop hustlin' Weezy F. Baby. But now it seems as though he's mutated into a whole different kinda stone sober schizo with a heartfelt romantic streak.

Honestly, it's tought to say whether this new Wayne remains the Best Rapper Alive. But even when he's bad, he's still hella entertaining.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Homies with matching gold grills, chicks in pink YMCMB merch, lezzie thugs and their girlfriends, white trash flying the Confederate flag, and lots of vertically challenged Lil Wayne look-alikes.

Rick Ross's Partial Setlist
-"Hustle Hard"
-"Aston Martin Music"
-"B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)"
-"I'm a Boss" (with Meek Mill)
-"Tupac Back" (with Meek Mill)

Lil Wayne's Setlist
-"No Love" (Intro)
-"I'm Goin' In"
-"Look at Me Now"
-"Put Your Hands Up"
-"A Milli"
-"Swag Surfin"
-"Got Money" (with Mack Maine)
-"Go DJ"
-"Ice Cream Paint Job"
-"Duffle Bag Boy"
-"My Life"
-"We Takin' Over"
-"Motivation" (with Shanelle)
-"Button" (Shanelle)
-"Hair Down My Back" (Shanelle)
-"How to Love"
-"If I Die Today"
-"I'm on One"
-"We Be Steady Mobbin'"
-"Mr. Carter"
-"Miss Me"
-"Mrs. Officer"
-"How to Love"
-"Fire Flame" (with Birdman)
-"Money to Blow" (with Birdman)
-"Every Girl in the World" (with Gudda Guddda, Mack Maine, and Lloyd)
-"BedRock" (with Gudda Guddda, Mack Maine, and Lloyd)
-"American Star" (with Shanelle)
-"Drop the World"
-"Nightmares of the Bottom" (Spoken word)
-"6 Foot 7 Foot"

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Location Info


Cruzan Amphitheatre

601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach, FL

Category: General

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