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Friday, August 7, 2009

Lil Wayne's big game

Over the past two years, rapper Lil Wayne has been a constant and overwhelming presence on the radio, appearing on literally dozens of hits by himself and others. He's done this seemingly by never sleeping, and working at a constant, dizzying speed.


Phonte Coleman of Triangle hip-hop group Little Brother got a sample of his work ethic a few years back. Little Brother and Wayne met when both were doing interviews at the same radio station, and Wayne told Coleman he was a fan.


So Little Brother hit him up for a cameo vocal and sent a track called "Breakin' My Heart," not expecting to hear anything back for at least a few weeks. Two days later, Wayne sent it back with a vocal he'd knocked out. It was a highlight of Little Brother's 2007 album "GetBack."


Rapper Lil Wayne specializes in cameos on other musicians' work, including Durham's Little Brother and Madonna.





"His work ethic is really inspiring and amazing," Coleman says. "I don't think I could ever be that prolific. I mean, if you take 100 shots, not all 100 are gonna be good. I'd rather take 10 or 20 focused shots and try to hit 'em all. But to each his own. It's really working out for him. Plus it just shows how the record labels are kinda off. In the past, if you asked labels, they'd try to shut all those collaborations down. But they're what's made him hot, so it's all good."

Wayne will perform in the Triangle on Saturday, headlining a hip-hop bill at Raleigh's Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek. He blows into town with two hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including a cameo on fast-rising British vocalist Jay Sean's "Down." And Wayne's protege, Drake (also on the Raleigh bill), is flirting with the top of the chart.


That's actually down a bit from last fall, when Wayne's distinctive rasp seemed to be everywhere. There was one week in October when Wayne was on seven songs in the top 40, including collaborations with Jay-Z, Akon and T-Pain. Everything he raps on turns into gold.


"Lil Wayne is still at the point where all you need to do is put him on a record," says Sean Ross, executive editor of music and programming for the online trade publication Radio-Info.com. "He still has the ability to jump-start careers."


One intriguing test case of Wayne's transitive star power will be "Revolver," a new single from Madonna's forthcoming greatest-hits album. Scheduled for release this fall, "Revolver" features a Lil Wayne cameo. Ross likens the attention that will get to Madonna's 2008 collaboration with Justin Timberlake, "4 Minutes (To Save the World)."


"Wayne will probably rub off on Madonna like Justin did, which is to say he'll get her back on the radio as an 'event' record," Ross says. "If it's a great record, it will stay there on its own merits. If it's just a good record for Madonna at this point in her career, it will get the 12 or so weeks of chart life the Justin collaboration did."


Read the rest of the article here. Source: News Observer


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