Hip hop has spent most of the last 10 years on its arse, abandoning albums to return to the clubs and the single, falling into cliché, forgetting originality or experimentalism, resorting to pushing gimmicks, short lived trends, and that aspirational lifestyle image (no matter how skewed it may appear to outsiders). All of which has been done with a pool of about a dozen (super?!) producers who feel omnipresent, adding to a sense of déjà vu and the uniformality. Every time a track takes off, 100 carbon copies follow, and it’s in this context that you need to look at A Milli, because it’s more than a breath of fresh air, it’s a kick in the balls. The club track has been hi-jacked by the lunatics.
This should be completely contradictory because A Milli is definitely a club track. Its beat (courtesy of Bangladesh) may be basic after its tease of an intro, but packs a punch, with the bastardised vocal loop worming its way throughout. However, it’s Lil’ Wayne that turns it into a warped classic with his stream of consciousness, scattershot, free-association delivery; joining the dots between 80s freestyle, Kool Keith and the mainstream, while adding his distinctly unique personality to the mix, and all dispatched in his discordant croak. Where as Lloyd Banks and his ilk may have convinced you that little talent and a voice that could fade to the background on any beat is what’s necessary for success, Lil’ Wayne proves that a little bit of personality goes a long way. Just check all the other MCs that have jumped on this instrumental and failed to produce verses that come close to Weezy’s – this could have been a forgettable club ‘banga’ with toss away verses by Lil’ Mama, Asher D, Ne-Yo, Cassidy, or Jadakiss (they’re all on youtube, listen to them for yourself), but it isn’t, because Lil’ Wayne slays it.