Lil Wayne, The Rock Star, Captured In 7 Key Moments

By Candace McDuffie

Lil Wayne, one of hip-hop’s most spirited and freewheeling auteurs, is set to embark on a nationwide tour with punk-pop fixtures Blink-182 this summer; the fun kicks off this Thursday (June 27) in Columbus, Ohio. While the announcement may have come as a surprise to some, those familiar with Wayne’s extensive catalogue know his impressive musical fluidity. The self-professed “best rapper alive” has always oscillated between the traditions of Southern hip-hop (he joined Cash Money Records in 1995 when he was just 12 years old) and the modern-day experimental nature of rap. Throughout his career, he’s also worn his affinity for rock — as a statement of both music and fashion — proudly.

Weezy’s look, originally considered radical for an urban artist, has since become the blueprint for current emcees to emulate. Donning multicolored dreadlocks and a plethora of face tattoos and piercings, Wayne boasted an alternative aesthetic that has inspired a generation of younger performers like Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and even Post Malone to embrace their most authentic selves. It’s a sentiment that has likewise trickled down to discography.

In honor of Lil Wayne being rap’s most decadent rock star and his summer plans with Blink-182, here are some of his best career crossover moments that defied easy categorization between “rap” and “rock.”

  1. Bar for bar with Birdman on “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” (Rock Remix)

    The first single from Lil Wayne’s 2006 joint project with his one-time mentor Birdman, Like Father, Like Son, “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” received the rock treatment courtesy of Blink-182’s own Travis Barker. The song, which was featured on the deluxe version of the album, still keeps both rappers’ signature calculated cadences and florid deliveries. But with the heavy-handed guitar riffs and swelling buildups, Barker’s version of “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” boasts the two different genres working in harmony with one another — and it just goes.

  2. A quick cameo on “Party Like a Rock Star”

    One of 2007’s most notable anthems made the cliché feel universal, thanks in part to Wayne’s lithe, albeit brief, appearance on this Shop Boyz remix. Sonically, it contains the rhythmic bombast of a club-ready banger with a few guitar chords thrown in. Lyrically, though, it pays homage to the fabled “rock-star lifestyle” while name-checking some of the genre’s most mythical figures like Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Lee, and Mick Jagger. Weezy’s walloping verse, similarly, celebrates everything he embodies: “Young Money baby, you know who we are / And I can play with that pussy like I play that guitar.”

  3. Getting emo with Fall Out Boy

    It was only a matter of time before Wayne got in touch with his sensitive side, as he did on Fall Out Boy‘s “Tiffany Blews” in 2008. As the band took a more formulaic songwriting approach in the year before its first break-up, Weezy’s brought a refreshing, ambitious presence to the track. Patrick Stump’s delivery of Pete Wentz’s flowery lyricism is par for the course. But Wayne’s tender bridge — “Dear gravity / You held me down in this starless city” — holds an early blueprint for the onslaught of emotionally resonant, emo-inspired SoundCloud rap that took hold a decade later.

  4. Indulging impulses with Weezer

    Rivers Cuomo’s propensity for catchy choruses shines brightly on this club-ready gem from their seventh studio album, 2009’s Raditude. Full of uplifting builds and playful melodies, the song perfectly aligns with Lil Wayne’s rambunctious and hedonistic lifestyle. From consuming excessive amounts of alcohol that they pop in clubs to the women that swarm them to the cars and jewelry they spend their money on, it’s clear Lil Weezer are enjoying the spoils of their riches together — a wry nod to Weezy’s fun with the Shop Boyz just a few years prior.

  5. Courting rock (and controversy) on Rebirth

    When Weezy pivoted to rock with 2010’s ungainly Rebirth, it left fans confused and critics unimpressed. Crunched between his wildly successful albums Tha Carter III and I Am Not a Human Being, Rebirth seemed blasphemous — a crossover attempt by rap’s biggest mastermind — but it only cemented Wayne’s creative insular vision. The record is saturated with angst and meteor-storm productions, as well as Weezy’s impulsivity. One minute he’s full of pop-punk precociousness on “Knockout,” and the next, he cranks up the intensity on “One Way Trip.” Rebirth wasn’t just a defiant move by Wayne — it was a career-altering one.

  6. Letting the drummer have some

    As illustrated above, the collaborative history between Travis Barker and Lil Wayne is a rich one. Naturally, for the first single from his 2011 debut album, Give the Drummer Some, Barker recruited some of hip-hop’s most prominent stars, including Swizz Beatz, Rick Ross, The Game, and Tunechi himself. “Can a Drummer Get Some” is your standard pulsating rap-rock monster soaked in whirlwind crescendos and steely percussion. While the other rappers do their best to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the track, Wayne is right at home as his bars prove to be as heady and relentless as he is.

  7. Creating the ultimate mash-up with Blink-182

    Although last year’s Tha Carter V showed how Wayne once again relished in his rap ingenuity, the announcement of a joint tour with Blink-182 was a bold one. Then again, in the age of Denzel Curry demolishing Rage Against the Machine covers and Lil Nas X dipping into power chords (thanks to Barker, of course), perhaps now is the perfect time for Weezy to make a rock comeback and remind skeptics of not only his musical versatility, but his sheer talent as well. The “What’s My Age Again?/A Milli” mashup that accompanied the tour announcement does that perfectly; his bars brilliantly work in cohesion with the song’s classic chords and bombastic percussion. With Weezy on the mic and Barker behind the kit, this arena tour is sure to be one for the ages.

Madonna Shows The Tragic Effects Of Gun Violence And Pushes For Change in ‘God Control’ Video

Madonna‘s new video for “God Control” comes with a warning for graphic violence. It’s a surprising one, but necessary. The singer uses a crackle of gunfire and startling scenes of violence to make a stand against gun violence in America. Simply put, she believes that it has to stop. Under the identity of the superspy Madame X, she recounts a night interrupted by gun violence on two occasions, forever altering the lives of everyone involved.

Madonna’s Madame X sits at a typewriter penning an emotional memo. As she pounds at the keys furiously, a night is shown in reverse, revealing a tragic situation. In chronological order, the events are as follows: A woman, also played by Madonna, gets ready to go out for a night of fun, not before taking notice of a school shooting on the news. Once she gets ready to boogie, she heads toward her destination on foot, and it’s not long before she gets robbed at gunpoint for her valuables. Not disillusioned, even though most would probably be after a traumatic event like that, she gets to a nightclub and dances all night surrounded by joyous people that are celebrating life. In the wee hours of the morning, around closing time, gunfire erupts from an automatic weapon. Many people are shown riddled with bullets, deceased, including Madonna herself.

After the night is shown in vivid, gory detail, the video transitions to protest footage. She supports the marches, the signs that call for improved background checks and ensuring the ability that all kids feel safe at school. At the end of the video, what Madonna is typing is revealed. Over and over, she writes “We lost gun control.” When finished, she looks at the camera, crying. The last shots of the video are statistics that call for change, showing the tens of thousands of lives lost to gun violence in the United States every year. The last words, in all caps, are “GUN CONTROL NOW.”

“God Control” comes from Madonna’s recently released album, Madame XHer new LP also features “Medellín” with Maluma, “I Rise,” “Crave” with Swae Lee, “Future” with Quavo, and “Dark Ballet.”

Watch the important video for “God Control” up above.

Schoolboy Q And Kid Cudi’s ‘Dangerous’ Video Is About The Pointlessness Of Retaliation

Schoolboy Q is known for his magical rap videos, both absurd and ominous on most occasions. And bitingly funny, on others. Recent videos like “Numb Numb Juice” and “Floating” make it clear that he values having fun in his visuals more than anything else, often playing with camera angles and special effects to keep fans and first-time watchers wondering what he’ll do next. For his new video for his Kid Cudi-collaboration, “Dangerous,” the rapper takes things in a different, much more serious direction with a poignant statement about violence and the pointlessness of revenge. And he does it all with just a couple of gunshots.

“Dangerous” consists of just two scenes. The first is of Schoolboy Q and an associate, sitting in a car, watching two men walk unsuspectingly. Once they’re out of close range, Schoolboy Q and his friend get out of the car and follow them, careful to not let them know they are being tailed. Eventually, the guys are caught and shot, with Schoolboy Q chasing down a fleeing man and delivering his own brand of justice. Then, the screen flashes black and the phrase, “An eye for an eye leaves the world blind” – a quote that is widely attributed to Mahatma Gandhi – is shown. Following this, Schoolboy Q’s car is riddled with bullets in what appears to be a retaliatory attack.

“Dangerous” appears on Schoolboy Q’s recently released album, Crash TalkIt follows the videos for “Numb Numb Juice,” Chopstix,” and “Floating.” The LP also features YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, and Travis Scott.

Watch the dark video for ‘Dangerous’ up above.

Ellie Goulding And Juice WRLD Want To Vaporize Their Exes On ‘Hate Me’

The smell of rotten love is more of a stench, like dying roses and salty tears. It’s intoxicating and it changes the atmosphere of your reality. Sour love turns into resent, then hate, and then, sometimes, love again. But in the case of Ellie Goulding and Juice WRLD‘s new collaboration “Hate Me,” the much-coveted emotion was snapped away from their respective relationships without an Infinity Gauntlet. Now,  all that’s left is the emotional debris and memory of better times in the wake of the devastation. Raw, brutal anger burns their nostrils like acid.

Ellie Goulding’s latest sounds like a soft, mid-tempo, mild doctor’s case of the blues. She absolutely loathes an ex who has a new girlfriend. And she wants him to know, telling her everything that he doesn’t do with his new girl that he did with her. She knows that he doesn’t kiss her with his eyes closed. She knows that he moved on so fast because he wants to replace her. She spews the toxic fumes that cloud the atmosphere, enabling Juice WRLD to come in and immerse himself in the feels of the moment. His verse is equally as jarring as he reflects on a lover’s animosity towards him, revealing how she believes that he’s easily replaceable. He gets migraines from the pain that the relationship causes. Together, the two sound sick of the entire situation. And medicine won’t clear up the infection, only time apart will.

“Hate Me” follows Goulding’s recently released videos for both “Sixteen” and “Flux.” She was also featured on the Game of Thrones album For the Throne – Music Inspired by the HBO Series.

Listen to the toxic environment of “Hate Me” up above.

BTS Is Coming Back To The Big Screen With Bring The Soul: The Movie

Get ready, ARMY. BTS is headed back to the big screen this summer with their latest feature film Bring the Soul: The Movie.

The massively popular K-pop stars are coming back for their third film, which comes hot on the heels of 2018’s Burn the Stage: The Movie. Given that it ended up becoming the highest-grossing global cinema release of all time, Bring the Soul is poised to do just as well.

This film entry will find BTS following the final concert of their Europe tour hanging out on a rooftop in Paris. They’ll bring fans into their world with “intimate group discussions” interspersed with concert footage recorded throughout the tour as well as stories from their experiences on tour.

Big Hit Entertainment

“Trafalgar Releasing is thrilled to collaborate with Big Hit Entertainment again for Bring The Soul: The Movie, giving fans around the world an intimate opportunity to see the band following their landmark Love Yourself tour,” said Trafalgar Releasing CEO Marc Allenby. “The ARMY are truly a community, and we are excited to bring them together for an all-new BTS experience in cinemas worldwide.”

It sounds like BTS fans around the world will want to make sure they save the date, clear their schedules for the movie’s release, and get ready to start refreshing to nab tickets when they drop. As you’re likely well aware as an ARMY, it can be notoriously difficult to score things like this when the release is limited as it is.

You can lock in your order from the movie’s official website beginning on July 3…as long as the site’s still up, anyway. Until then, you can kill time with the group’s new mobile game release BTS World, which puts you in the driver’s seat as BTS’s fledgling manager, straight from Big Hit Entertainment.

Cardi B Leads An Army Of Nude Dancers, Then Kills Them In Absolutely Wild ‘Press’ Video

Cardi B may not need any more press, but with a new video for “Press,” that’s exactly what she’s going to get. Cardi B is back with another daring video that’s equal parts Law and Order and The Silence of the Lambs, with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in there for good measure. The last one’s a stretch, but describing the video for “Press” will leave you with a loss for words. You’ll come away with a possible fear of Cardi B’s eyes and their malevolent crimson glare when she’s riled up. Someone add “Cardiphobia” to the dictionary, please.

In “Press,” Cardi B is a heightened version of herself. She’s embroiled in the midst of a court case where screaming, practically insane, fans swarm around the courthouse to get a glimpse at what’s happening. They expect her to fold under the intensity of the law’s examination but that’s not the case. Inside, she’s cool, calm, and collected while the array of judges grill her. She’s probably so calm because, at night time, she masquerades as the head of an army of naked zombies that have put together a synchronized dance routine sharp enough to make Omarion jealous. Something happens, possibly a snap decision that sends the rapper into a murderous frenzy, and a bunch of people die around her. Some prosecutors, some interrogators, basically all of her enemies. It ends with her in jail, still cool and calm. She pushes someone’s head under water and it wraps up with the implication that this new villain has just started a long reign of terror.

Cardi B, Bodak Voorhees, the star of Texas Chainsaw Massokurrr, is clearly up to something – perhaps a new album. This is her third new video since the rollout for her debut Invasion of Privacy dropped last year following “Money” and “Please Me” which features Bruno Mars. She recently took home the awards for Female Hip Hop Artist and Album Of The Year at the 2019 BET Awards.

Check out the monstrous Cardi B in “Press” up above.

It’s No Mistake: Sebastian Maniscalco Will Host The 2019 VMAs

With exactly two months to go until the Video Music Awards touch down in New Jersey, we have another big announcement coming your way. Get ready, because your 2019 VMA host is… drumroll please… Sebastian Maniscalco!

The comedian and actor broke the news during an appearance on The Tonight Show on Tuesday, reveling in the excitement with Jimmy Fallon (who, by the way, is a VMA veteran, having hosted the show back in 2002). Maniscalco is now the latest in a long tradition of comedians who have emceed the awards show — past VMA hosts include Chris Rock, Chelsea Handler, Arsenio Hall, Russell Brand, and Kevin Hart.

While Maniscalco — who has four Comedy Central stand-up specials to his name, as well as this year’s Stay Hungry on Netflix — is guaranteed to bring the laughs to the VMA stage, he still needs a little help getting familiar with the world of popular music. In the hilarious vid below, he breaks the hosting news to his trusty robot, who quips, “Are you sure they haven’t made a mistake?” The comedian then gets a crash course in today’s biggest artists, like Cardi B (“Is that a spice or a supplement?”), Billie Eilish (“Can’t wait to meet him!”), and Childish Gambino (“The Italians are breaking into hip-hop!”).

Stay tuned for further announcements about this year’s nominees, performers, and Video Vanguard recipient. And make sure you catch the VMAs live on Monday, August 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV!

5SOS Gave Their ‘Dancing With A Stranger’ Cover A Sneaky Surprise Ending

A month after debuting the new single “Easier,” 5 Seconds of Summer are continuing to tease their impending fourth album era.

While visiting BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge on Tuesday (June 25), the Aussie band broke out a cover of Sam Smith and Normani’s sultry duet, “Dancing With A Stranger.” Telling host Clara Amfo about their cover choice, the guys explained, “We love this song, and the sonic of it and the lyric really relates to our album coming up, so it makes sense.”

For 5SOS’s version, Luke Hemmings and Calum Hood traded verses, while Ashton Irwin and Michael Clifford joined them on the harmony-heavy choruses. And in an imaginative twist, they ended their cover with a little interpolation of “Latch,” Smith’s breakout collaboration with Disclosure.

Prior to their cover, 5SOS told Amfo all about the personalized mat they brought to the Live Lounge to perform on.

“They’re our personal icons,” Irwin explained, describing the mat’s different symbols. “There’s four artists in the group, obviously, and we’re all extremely individual in what we want from this group. I think different fans are attracted to different ideologies behind each member.”

The band added that they want to take the mat around the world with them, so look out for more of that while the guys gear up for album No. 4. And in the meantime, check out their acoustic and atmospheric Live Lounge performance of “Easier” below.

Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell Will Be Out In Two Fucking Months

The world watches, it watches and it waits. Lana Del Rey‘s fifth studio album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, has been in the pipeline for some time, and news about its release has been scant. But that’s old now that we have a time frame to pay attention to, thanks to Rey herself at a performance at Dublin, Ireland’s Malahide Castle this past weekend (June 22). Two months. Just sixty days (tops) until the next chapter unfolds. Norman Fucking Rockwell is almost fucking here.

Lana addressed the Malahide Castle’s excited crowd when she had a moment, after performing records seemingly both new and old. “I hope you like the record, it’s coming out in two months,” she said before the crowd erupted into molten screams. In addition to breaking fans off with her older music, she also unveiled a cover of “Doin Time” originally by 90s ska punk band Sublime. Her rendition comes from the soundtrack of a documentary about the band that premiered in May at Tribeca. It was her first time performing it live.

Lana ‘s released four songs expected to appear on Norman Fucking Rockwell so far: “Mariners Apartment Complex,” “Venice Bitch,” “How To Disappear,” and “Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have – But I Have It.” She’s also working on a book of poetry, believed to be called Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass, that she plans to sell for $1.

Check out Lana making her announcement up above.

H.E.R. And YBN Cordae Have Crushes On Money On ‘Racks’

You know the saying, win a Grammy, get right back to work. Just kidding, no one (that I know of) actually says that. But that seems to be H.E.R.‘s mantra after winning two Grammy Awards for Best R & B Album (H.E.R.) and Best R & B Performance (“Best Part”). She took a few months to recompose herself and now she’s flying out the gate with a new song, “Racks,” featuring everyone’s favorite rising rapper, YBN Cordae. Stepping out of the language of love, the pair lose themselves in a forest of money and material wealth, romanticizing the benefits of having your financial affairs in order.

H.E.R. sounds absolutely magical, like a siren lulling an unsuspecting sailor to an early demise, as she sings about money. Her “racks and things” are massive and seemingly never-ending; she brags about spending them as quick as they come. You can hear her licking the tips of her fingers and flipping through crisp Benjamin Franklins, the smell of fresh paper surging through her nose. Behind her comes YBN Cordae with a verse about seemingly pushing money away, although, at the same time, acknowledging how it is a “catalyst” for happiness. Instead of zeroing in on growing wealth, he’s instead looking for love, navigating the seas.

H.E.R.’s self-titled debut studio came out in 2017. She released two EPs last year – I Used To Know Her: The Prelude and I Used To Know Her 2 – that served as tastes of an upcoming album. It’s 2019 now and with the release of “Racks,” it isn’t unreasonable to assume that a new project could be on the way. “I’m really excited to be an artist in 2019 because I can showcase more of my musicality,” she recently told MTV News.

Listen to H.E.R. and YBN Cordae admire monetary gains in “Racks” up above.