It’s 2006. Lil’ Wayne is hitting his stride after dropping Tha Carter II, Dedication I and Dedication II, all within six months of each other. The competition between Weezy and Jay Z was heating up, but when Jay came out of retirement with the drink coaster that was Kingdom Come, it was clear: Lil’ Wayne was the greatest rapper alive.
There is, however, one project that everybody seems to forget from that period – The Carter 2: Like Father Like Son. It was the second tape Wayne did with DJ Khaled after The Suffix, as their relationship was probably strengthened by Wayne’s move to Miami in the early aughts. The tape, which came out in February 2006, was released to help promote Carter II as well as build buzz for Baby and Wayne’s Like Father Like Son album, which dropped in October of that year. As such, the tape contained songs left off of both Carter II and Like Father Like Son, widely considered to be two of Weezy’s best projects top to bottom.
It starts with “Long Time Coming,” (no, Rap Genius, this is not Wayne freestyling over Cam’s song of the same name) which features a flip of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” for what sounds like the original intro to Carter II. Notice how Wayne starts the song with, “I came back around. You came back for seconds people!” He even follows the loose structure of “Walk In” from Carter I, telling us not to go upstairs and instead diverting our attention to all the youngens in the living room. His extended verse takes the form of a live narrative as he walks through the crib, talking about what he’s doing in real time before he has to get to this album. It was probably left off Carter II for sampling reasons, as many songs on this tape include prominent source material that may have hindered their commercial release.
Another reason many of these songs never made any official albums was because they sound like they were produced by Mannie Fresh. “Long Time Coming” sounds like chunky Heatmakerz production, as Fresh rarely used samples, but “So Fly” (above) with Birdman and Chop sounds like vintage Fresh, right down to the keys and strings. Mannie left Cash Money in ’05, hence why he’s nowhere to be found on Carter II and Like Father, Like Son.
“Lil Nigga” with Baby and Scarface sounds like another example of a Mannie Fresh beat that had to be shelved. Birdman’s verses are cool, but when ‘Face opens his verse with, “I’ma make somethin’ shake, run up on somebody with this chrome .38 / put it in his face,” you wish Brad Jordan had all three verses on this bitch.
“My Girl” is so resonant now in light of Wayne’s beef with Birdman and Cash Money Records. The girl in the song is CMR, and over another vocal sample, Wayne talks about his history with the record label – “I had conversations with other top women / We talked about going steady but I wasn’t ready” – as well as referencing fallen Cash Money soldiers and those who he had to shake off to stay in his relationship. “And I almost left, I was weak / And we still movin’ units every week, I’m sorry.” It’s probably the most fascinating song on this whole tape.
Last but not least, “4 The Haters.” It samples the incredible O’Jays song “What Am I Waiting For,” and though the chop with the drum programming is a little too clunky for my taste, it’s got a nice bounce to it. It’s the perfect way to end the tape, before the throwaway single from Khaled’s debut album and a surprise appearance by All-Star, who you might now know as Starlito.
Those are just the highlights. Other songs like “Ain’t Worried ‘Bout Shit,” “I’m Hot” and “Don’t Die” feature different beats than on the Like Father, Like Son, and “Where Da Cash At,” by Young Money’s first signed artist, Curren$y, also shows up here. That inclusion makes it feel like Wayne was really ready to invest in Spitta, but we never got Music To Fly To. What a shame.
So download this tape, reminisce on the days when Wayne and Birdman would still embrace, and tell your friends about the forgotten Lil Wayne tape from his prime.