Lil Wayne is one of the greatest rappers of all time. No matter where you place him on your own top emcee list, it’s impossible to deny Tunechi’s track record. Wayne is arguably the hardest working hip-hop artist we’ve ever seen—a big part of the reason he’s still relevant 17 years into the game. Since getting his start with the Hot Boys at the age of 15, Weezy has released an absurd amount of music, including 27 mixtapes, 10 albums, and countless guest features. Next up is the Carter V, which Wayne claims will be the final installment of the series—as long as it ever actually drops.
To properly prepare you for C5, we’ve assembled 25 of Weezy’s best tracks ever. Peep the list below, vibe out, and feel free to share your opinion. Which songs did we leave out? Which ones are too high; which are too low? As a sidenote, these are all tracks under Wayne’s name—we’ve excluded guest features and posse cuts in order simplify the process.
25. Me And My Drank
“Me And My Drank” is vintage auto-tune Weezy, a track that came at the height of his sizzurp-sipping days. Wayne professes his love for the purply substance over six minutes of catchy piano while utilizing a flow that was extremely unique for the time of release.
Quotable: “You bottle pop, I buy a bottle pop / Pour some syrup in it, get out my waffle house”
24. Let The Beat Build
Lil Wayne ‘lets the beat build’ on this one as the title suggests, steadily spitting his heart out to the tune of a masterful Kanye West instrumental. Weezy F is clever as ever and applies a special cadence which matches the beat’s building crescendo to a T.
Quotable: “I’mma take it one two way back / Like a silk wife beater and a wave cap / Like the wave pool at Blue Bayou / And I wave fool as I blew by you”
If you’re not a fan of Wayne’s late-career content consisting of mostly metaphors, similes, and catchy one-liners, then you might enjoy venturing back to the early days. “Bloodline” is a cut from the New Orleans native’s third studio album, 500 Degreez, which dropped in 2002. The Mannie Fresh-produced track employs a catchy steel drum sound, allowing Weezy Wee to spazz out for four and a half minutes.
Quotable: “Gotta kick in the oven now watch it bubble / And you can knock on my door but you can’t knock the hustle / It’s like a game of twenty-one and I got nineteen”
Lil Wayne tackles the “Cannon” beat, and in this writer’s opinion, does it better justice than anyone (no disrespect to Busta, Asher etc). His rapid-fire, machine gun flow is impressive as fuck and wordplay is at an all-time high. Listen for yourself below.
Quotable: “I’m the sickest n**** doin it, bet that baby / These other n***** dope, I’m wet crack baby”
21. Prostitute Flange
The second-to-last track on Wayne’s The Drought Is Over 2 mixtape (2007) features him rapping about how he’d give up everything to be with the perfect girl—no matter what she’s done in the past. The piano-heavy instrumental is infectious and will have you bobbing your head to this Carter III pre-cursor entitled “Prostitute Flange.”
Quotable: “I’ll give up the game / At the top of the arena there’s my jersey wit my name”
20. Mrs. Officer ft. Bobby Valentino
It’s no secret that Wayne has an affinity for women. On track number from Tha Carter III, Wayne links up with Bobby Valentino to profess his love for a lady cop. “Mrs. Officer” is melodic, feel-good, and best of all perfect to ride to.
Quotable: “And after we got done / I said baby what’s your number she said ‘911,’ / Emergency only! / Head doctor perform surgery on me”
19. Best Rapper Alive
Lil Wayne makes his case for best rapper alive on 2005’s Tha Carter II. The epic beat samples Iron Maiden‘s “Fear of the Dark” and Wayne rides it with comfort and ease. Fun fact: wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos listens to this track before every game.
“The young heart attack, I spit that cardiac / You can’t see me baby boy you got that cataracts / I’m right here straight out the hood just like an alley cat”
18. Something You Forgot
We see a different side of Wayne on “Something You Forgot,” a mixtape track throughout which he spits about his relationship with singer Nivea. Weezy is clearly distraught over losing the love of his life, but the music that results from his heartbreak deserves attention as this song lands at #18 on our list.
Quotable: “See this is just a nightmare, so I blink twice / Open up my eyes hopin’ she’d be in my sight / I remember the time, I wish I could bring it back / What she mean to me, is what I mean to rap”
17. Georgia Bush
Anybody who claims that Lil Wayne isn’t a conscious rapper hasn’t heard “Georgia Bush.” Wayne takes on Field Mob‘s “Georgia” beat for the first half of the song, expressing his beef with former president George Bush for what happened in New Orleans during Katrina. For the second half, Weezy combines an incredibly fast flow with mean lyrics over 2Pac’s “Ambitionz As A Ridah.” A startlingly impressive seven and a half minutes of music which landed on Dedication 2.
Quotable: “Now what is the survivor to do? / Got to no trailer, you gotta move / Now it’s on to Texas and to (Georgia) / They tell you what they want, show you what they want you to see / But they don’t let you know what’s really going on / Make it look like a lotta stealing going on / Boy them cops is killas in my home / N**** shot dead in the middle of the street / I ain’t no thief, I’m just trying to eat”
16. Way Of Life ft. Big Tymers
“Bloodline” checked in at #23 on our list, and here we have another cut from the NOLA rapper’s 500 Degreez album. For Wayne and go-to collaborators Big Tymers (Birdman and Mannie Fresh), stuntin’ is simply a way of life and they won’t change for anything or anyone. Catchy beat and hook earned “Way of Life” some serious radio play at the time of release.
Quotable: “Know what I got up in my styrofoam cup, that purple stuff / It was given to me at birth to stunt”
15. Stuntin’ Like My Daddy ft. Birdman
From one song about stuntin’ to another. “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” is all about flexing and it comes with crazy production. It’s perfectly clear that Weezy knows he’s a show-off, wants everyone to know and couldn’t give less of a shit about your opinion. Add that way of thinking to supreme talent and confidence, traits which Wayne also possesses, and we’ve got ourselves a true rockstar on our hands.
Quotable: “What you know about putting bricks in the spare, man? / I can stuff a coupe like a motherfuckin’ caravan / I’m in my zone, my form is so rare, man / If there’s a throne, you lookin’ at the chairman”
14. Dough Is What I Got
Tunechi has never been afraid to drop fire bars over other artists’ instrumentals. Check out his mixtape discography and it’s pretty clear that Wayne spits some of his most incredible verses on the best beats of the given moment. Weezy flips Jay Z‘s “Show Me What You Got” for this cut from Tha Drought 3 and doesn’t disappoint, providing lyrical murder throughout; his delivery comes through the speaker like a racehorse out of the gates.
Quotable: “And when it comes down to the recording / I must be LeBron James if he’s Jordan / No, I won rings for my performance / I’m more Kobe Bryant of an artist”
Lil Wayne describes how he feels about a woman by comparing his love for her to his love for three particular things; if you’re not sure what I mean, the chorus should clear it up. The instrumental draws you in and hypnotizes in a way that’ll leave it on repeat.
Quotable: “Oh yes I love her like I ought to / I see you at the alter, Mrs. Carter / I see you with my daughter, or son / more than one / Maybe five like the Jacksons, or John Paxson”
12. I’m a DBoy ft. Birdman
Perhaps the hardest song on Tha Carter II. In fact, I distinctly remember choosing “I’m a Dboy” as my favorite song for my seventh grade time capsule in English class (shout out to Mr. Mayo, wherever you are). Also, Birdman actually isn’t awful on this track.
Quotable: “Tell her open the blinds / And I’m over the stove at 9 / Yeah I’m cookin breakfast for the block then I let her cook mine”
11. Blunt Blowin
People like to sleep on Tha Carter IV, but don’t be fooled—that album had some fire. No question, the project’s best song is “Blunt Blowin,” a 5-minute ode to Wayne not giving a single fuck. And it’s amazing. The beat drops harder than a diamond in an ice storm and it might cause you to punch everything in the vicinity. The best way to describe the track is triumphant; if it existed in Medieval Times, it could’ve been played as a jouster entered battle. There’s something so simple yet so goddamn dope about a chorus of “I’mma blunt blowin, polo draw showin / I don’t give a lovely mothafuck.”
Quotable: “You can look into the future, it’s right behind your eyelids / But I don’t wanna know, cause shit I like surprises”
“Fireman” might be the song that truly ignited (see what I did there?) Lil Wayne’s career and introduced him to mainstream America. Add a banging beat to three dope verses and it’s no surprise that this song is, fittingly enough, pure fire.
Quotable: “Been in that water since a youngin you just shark food / Quick Draw McGraw I went to art school / Yeah the lights is bright but I got a short fuse / Don’t snooze / Been handling the game so long my thumbs bruised”
9. We Be Steady Mobbin ft. Gucci Mane
Dear Kane Beatz, wherever you are, thank you for blessing us with the “We Be Steady Mobbin” instrumental. Tunechi and Gucci obviously realized how special this beat was, because they each provided maximum effort to create this classic work of art. Wayne is at the top of his form on “Steady Mobbin,” spitting three of his most ferocious verses ever. Gucci isn’t too shabby, either. Don’t believe us? Well then just ask Tity Boi, no pity boy, this scar city the city boy. So many quotables here—it’s hard to pick just one.
Quotable: “Man suck my clip / Swallow my bullets, and don’t you spit / I am the hip-hop socialist / Life is a gamble and I’m all about my poker chips”
8. Dear Summer
Classic Wayne right here. Track 13 off The Suffix (2006) mixtape showcases his tremendous storytelling ability. There’s so much raw emotion on “Dear Summer:” from his childhood, to tragic tales of the drug game, to New Orleans’ suffering throughout Katrina, Weezy F covers many bases. Listen for yourself below.
Quotable: “And I had coke so I had hope u may say that is wrong / But I ain’t talkin to ya child I’m talkin to this song / I’m just doing the walk down memory lane / If I crash just pick up my brain”
7. I Feel Like Dying
Lil Wayne paints vivid pictures on “I Feel Like Dying.” He depicts what it feels like to be on any number of drugs in the most entertaining of ways with a mesmerizing backdrop of a beat that samples Henry Ate’s “Once.” Anyone who’s dealt with drug addiction can relate to the chorus of, “Only when the drugs are done / I feel like dying.” Withdrawal is no joke.
Quotable: “I can mingle with the stars and throw a party on Mars / I am a prisoner, locked up behind Xanax bars”
6. Hustler Musik
Many consider Tha Carter II to be Weezy’s masterpiece. Wayne goes in for three outstanding verses on “Hustler Musik,” a smooth street anthem which appears midway through the album. The song is considered a modern day classic in the emcee’s canon.
Quotable: “Phantom of the Opera, all black guap 10 locked in / I can let them shots out, you can’t get no shots in / Bulletproof, leave a n**** with a bullet-roof / Shoot ya’ in your mouth Leroy, they call him bullet-tooth”
5. Go DJ
Lil Wayne and DJ Mannie Fresh link up for “Go DJ,” the first track to crack our top five. On Tha Carter I, Weezy was still a newbie, and his still-on-the-come-up hunger really shines through on track two of the album. You’ll still hear this one played by DJs in big cities in 2014.
Quotable: “Put some water on the track, Fresh, for all his flame / Wear a helmet when you bang it, man, and guard your brain / Cause the flow is spasmatic: what they call insane / That ain’t even a motherfuckin’ aim. I get dough boy”
4. Money On My Mind
Every go-getter’s theme song. If you’re a Weezy fan, by now you’re well aware of his tendency to chase money over women; Tunechi’s even got “M.O.B.” tatted on his chest. “Money On My Mind,” track three on Tha Carter II, is the epitome of Wayne’s coke rap years.
Quotable: “Dear Mr. Toilet, I’m the shit / Got these other haters pissed ‘cuz my toilet paper thick”
3. Leather So Soft ft. Birdman
“Leather So Soft” is often overlooked in Lil Wayne’s seemingly endless discography. The track appeared on Wayne and Birdman’s Like Father, Like Son album and boasts a Jim Jonsin-produced instrumental that’s as smooth as the leather that Weezy discusses in the chorus.
Quotable: “You see the paper gon’ come, if not I’m gon’ get it / I gotta die with money cause I wasn’t born wit it / It was 9-27-82 baby due / Charity Hospital aka the city zoo”
2. 1000 Degrees (I’m Me)
The final two tracks in the countdown are chock-full of tantalizing wordplay and ingenious lyrics. “1000 Degrees (I’m Me)” was a Carter III reject which landed on an EP entitled The Leak. The song contains a haunting beat, providing the right platform for Wayne to deliver three of his most creative verses, ever. Lines like “Last year they had the Grammy’s and left me in Miami / Sleeping on a n**** like I’m rapping in my jammies / I’m rapping when you sleep /I was rapping when you were in jammies” cannot go unnoticed.
Quotable: “Un-fucking-believable / Lil Wayne’s the president / Fuck em, fuck em, fuck em even if they celibate /
I know the game is crazy It’s more crazy than it’s ever been / I’m married to that crazy bitch, call me Kevin Federline”
1. Wasted (Remix)
We know what you’re going to say. ‘Really? You’re putting a mixtape cut at number one? What about Mr. Carter? Where’s A Milli?’ Yes, in our opinion, Lil Wayne’s twist on Gucci Mane’s “Wasted” is his best song of all-time. The track appeared on Tunechi’s No Ceilings project, often heralded as one of the best mixtapes ever. If you’ve never heard this particular Wayne record before, you’re in for a treat. Everything about it—flow, delivery, and above all, wordplay—is at a paramount. So turn your speakers or Dre Beats all the way up, press play below, and allow your ears to take in the best one-liners ever heard in rap music for four minutes straight. Bar after bar after bar after bar of sheer craziness.
Quotable: “Oh she a good girl, I got her transforming / She give me hot head, I call it global warming / If we don’t do it dog, let’s do it now / I am more animal then the zoo allowed / Put me in the wild, I’ll be there for a while / You n***** little league, call em Curaçao”