This is the first single from Lil Wayne's ninth studio album, Tha Carter IV
. It premiered via Funkmaster Flex on December 14, 2010. The song was produced by Bangladesh, who helmed Wayne's 2008 smash "A Milli
," and revolves around a tweaked vocal sample culled from Harry Belfonte's 1956 calypso classic "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
Bangladesh originally earmarked the beat for T.I. He told Bet.com
: "I was actually sending the beat to Gee [Roberson, Atlantic Records executive] for T.I.. I mean, not that I think T.I. would sound good on the beat, they were just looking for a single and somebody said, 'Man, send that to Gee; T.I. needs something.'"
However, Roberson, who co-manages Lil Wayne, saw the beat as potential Carter IV
material, despite Bangladesh having fallen out with Weezy's label over money he claimed was owed him. "I already dealt with T.I., I know how T.I. is. I knew he wouldn't really be rocking this beat right there, so I sent it anyway," Bangladesh said. "And Gee just hit back talking about Wayne: 'Man, Wayne'll kill this, Wayne'll kill this,' so I had to really see if I wanted to do it or not, but they've been communicating, they've been reaching out."
Bangladesh told MTV News how he ended up reuniting with Lil Wayne: "It's kind of similar [to how we worked together for 'A Milli']," said the Atlanta-based producer. "I had 'A Milli,' knowing that the actual track was actually important. I had opportunities to sell it, but until I got it to Wayne at that time, who I wanted to get it to, I couldn't sell it to anybody else. This time, I knew this beat was great like that, too. And I hadn't really thought of sending it to him. I sent it to Gee Roberson, and he works closely with Wayne and played it for him. That's how it happened, really."
The song also serves as an introduction to a new Young Money artist, Bronx-based MC Cory Gunz, who has a cameo on the final third verse. Corey is the son of rapper Peter Gunz, who together with Lord Tariq had a hit single in 1997 with "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)." Gunz told MTV News that Weezy allowed him creative freedom to come up with his own rhymes: "Honestly, [Wayne] just told me to be me on the record," he said. "He didn't tell me any specific way to write or anything to do, and that's what I really appreciate."
The song finds Weezy spitting about his charisma, his Young Money cohorts, and his sexual conquests. In his first radio interview after being released from prison Wayne discussed the joint on the Sirius channel Shade 45. He told fill-in hosts DJ Drama and marketing guru Karen Civil: "6'7 is a monster, actually. Hopefully, it shows people where I'm at lyrically. Better than everybody. It's "A Milli" on human growth hormones. It's a very tall record."
So, how tall is Lil Wayne? According to most sources, the rapper is 5ft 6 inches.
Wayne explained his decision to put new Young Money signee Cory Gunz on the third verse. "You know, I put Nicki on the right songs, I put Drake on the right songs; I picked the right song," he told MTV News. "It makes people pay attention because I know that people were waiting to see what I'll say on my first record, my first Lil Wayne record [since getting out of prison]. 'Cause, of course, I've done a bunch of features, and I'm quite sure whoever I did a feature for [before], as soon as I came home they put it out 'cause it got Wayne on here. 'He just came home, let's put it out.'
So, I knew people were going to look at my first record like, 'I want to know what he's talking about on his first record.' And, I gave you the jewel at the end. It's like I'm forcing it on you, you got to hear this. It made everybody who didn't know Cory Gunz [say], 'Who is that?'"
Hype Williams directed the song's music video, which features Coret Gunz, his father Peter Gunz and other members of the Young Money Crew. Over 40 scenes were shot and Wayne changed outfits upwards of 20 times.
The clip was inspired by Christopher Nolan's Inception movie, a film Wayne was "super interested" in because of its complexity. However, the rapper explained to MTV News that Hype Williams wanted to focus on Weezy's clever lyrics. "When I got with him he was like, 'It's time for you to shoot a video,' " Wayne recalled Hype telling him. " 'I like the little Inception thing, but if I'm going to shoot a video with you, I really want to capitalize on your bars to make people get the stuff you're saying. You shoot great videos, don't get me wrong. But sometimes people may think you shoot a video that makes it seem like you go for looks, instead of actually getting these people to understand what you're talking about. You are considered one of the best, and you have to show them why,'"
Cory Gunz recalled the recording of his verse to MTV News: "We went straight to the studio, and Tunes [told me], 'I have something for you to hear,' and it went from there." [Wayne said], 'We gon' have to attack this.' As soon as I heard it, it was, like, instant. Some beats you hear [or] certain songs you hear in a party ... and they hit you in a certain kind of way, and that's kinda what the beat did. So we sat, and the record is now getting an amazing response."
Bangladesh opted to trade this song's beat to Wayne for a collaboration on his own artist album. However, when it never materialized, he voiced his frustration with Cash Money, accusing the label of fleecing him again. "Every time we come up with a solution, it never gets taken care of," the frustrated beatsmith said. "I just can't keep really giving them music."
An eighth grade teacher at the Charter Schools of Boynton Beach, Florida was suspended after distributing to pupils this song as homework without censoring its explicit language and themes. "The lesson was for students to learn to identify literary devices," explained the headmaster. "The teacher had already introduced Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare. Students were having difficulty grasping the concepts of literary devices such as: pun, simile, metaphor, so the teacher used colloquial material. This material did not meet the school's standards and was not approved."