On a rather unsuspecting Mario remix, Lil Wayne delivered Drake’s favorite Weezy verse of all time. The song, “Crying Out For Me,” was initially released as the second single from Mario’s album Go, which despite mostly favorable reviews, didn’t necessarily do anything exciting on the charts. The single, likewise, peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it dropped in December, 2007. The remix, which featured Lil Wayne and alternately Busta Rhymes, was released a few months later and remains one of those in-between-records that, despite being an “official” release at the time, never truly found a home, whether it be on streaming services or an album. Wayne has plenty of songs like these, especially from the year 2007.

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‘07 Wayne was during the peak of his ”Best Rapper Alive” era, which resulted in The Leak EP-- as well as many other leaks which did not receive such a formal release (VIBE did a list of the 77 Best Lil Wayne Songs of 2007)-- and culminated with the release of Tha Carter III in 2008. It was this acclaimed 2007 run that truly helped build Wayne’s reputation, and equally, helped him become such a dominant force on the Internet. He was prolific in a way we had yet to see, and in a way that the Internet, we now know, is made for. That is to say, the Internet requires constant fueling, a constant stream of ‘new,’ and Wayne whether or not he intended, ensured the Internet always had something new from him. A freestyle, a leak, a guest verse. There was also less hip-hop fodder to compete with at the time, too. Becoming a rapper overnight was not yet a thing, Soundcloud was only founded in 2007 and did not have the notoriety it currently does. Generally-speaking, hip-hop had not yet fully taken over pop culture’s dialogue in the same way it has presently, but even so, Wayne was well on his way to pop culture stardom. 

There are many fan-favorite Wayne songs that make up his 2007 run. There’s “I Feel Like Dying,” there’s “Prostitute Flange,” there’s “La La La,” there’s “I’m Me.” His verse on “Crying Out For Me” is not usually among the discourse. However it’s an important marker in Weezy’s style. Wayne’s has a history of lyrics about his sexual exploits, so lyrics about a girl are not necessarily new territory. However, a whole verse detailing a rather mundane if not awkward conversation with a girl, littered with one-word text-responses, is. 

So I met this shawty the other day 

I got her number called her up like: "What ya doin'?" 

She say: "Nuuu'in" 

I say: "What's good?" 

She say: "Not much?" 

I say: "Guess what?" 

She say "What's up?" 

I say: "I think we should hook up"

She say "uh" 

I say: "What?" 

She say: "But.." 

I say: "But, why you stuck?" 

She say: "Fuck!" 

I said: "Who?" 

She say: "Not you"

 I say: "Then who?" 

She say: "You know."

"I know what?" 

"You know who" 

I say: "I do?" 

She said: "You do" 

I said: "I do"

And that’s the end of the transcript. What transpired from there, we can only guess. One thing is for certain, the verse does not end in, or include a, sexual escapade, which would be the norm for most Wayne verses of this variety-- at least the ones that begin in a similar fashion.

Wayne employed this method in future verses, and even tried it out to lesser effect in verses prior to Mario’s remix, but none compared to the length and detail contained within this particular verse. This lyrical template wasn’t usually about Wayne getting shut down-- quite the opposite. 

As early as his debut album, with the song “Kisha,” he was going into the he-say-she-say of relationships in a conversational, story-telling manner:

Got a early call from Kisha, Kisha wanted me to meet her

She said she thought it was time to make the relationship get deeper

Said cool then I'm gon' beep ya

What would be a good time to reach ya

She said what about ten but l thought eleven would be sweeter

Cuz she wanted me to see her, said I needed a teaser

On ‘07 era Tha Carter III leak titled “Lisa Marie,” Wayne reveals another bit of dialogue with a lover:

I told her I would write a rhyme about her and it would be sweet

I said I need the perfect track, she said, "That's deep"

On the 2013 song, “Itchin’” Wayne goes into even more detail of the back-and-forth relationship-centric dialogue, with a hook that’s entirely based around it: 

Yeah, I told her take her drawers off and she says I ain't wearin' none

I asked her, "Who this pussy for?" She said "Ransom"

And when she says "I Love You", I say, "Shut up, take this dick"

She treat me like a God and tell her man she atheist

And then he calls with all that bitchin'

"Who is this?" She busy, call her later

There are plenty of other examples we could cull from the countless songs in Wayne’s career, however they are often found within the context of one or two bars only, collaborating with the rest of the lyrics in whatever strange way Wayne has deemed fit.

She said she eat her vegetables so she stay alive

So she slobbed on my knob

Like corn on the cob 

He raps on “Gettin’ Some Head” off of Dedication 2.

The fact that the verse on “Crying Out For Me” allowed us to see a vulnerable Wayne (for all intents and purposes), a Wayne who could not get the girl (at least not immediately and not to our knowledge) is revealing in itself. Drake is often credited for bringing emotions into the fold of hip-hop, he is a rapper who wears his emotions and his vulnerabilities on his sleeve. Drake’s favorite Wayne verse is essentially the most Drake-y Wayne verse there is. So that may not be surprising in and of itself. However it does tell us something when it comes to influence, as low key as it might be. 

It’s interesting to piece the threads of influence together when it comes to Wayne. Wayne is credited for a lot of things openly: the use of cough syrup and prescription pills, auto-tune (but yes, T-Pain too), odd-ball metaphors & wardrobe choices, an entire generation of artists in the vein of Young Thug; it could even be argued that Wayne influenced the whole idea of prolificness as a means to fame. The blueprint that 2 Chainz used in a lead-up to his own success was the same one Wayne followed circe ‘06/‘07: releasing an insane amount of music and collaborating with any and everyone. It’s a blueprint many young artists still imitate: Russ did it when he dropped a song every week on Soundcloud for two years straight. Wayne addressed his hard-working nature in a 2007 XXL interview as well, shrugging off claims of oversaturation-- around the same time 50 Cent referred to Weezy as an “industry whore” because of all the music he was out there collaborating on. Despite the many credits Wayne has received for his overall influence on hip-hop , he’s not necessarily credited for anything on rap’s emotional spectrum, which is of course becoming more and more woven into the fabric of the music. 

Clearly, this Mario verse is also not very emotional. It’s too brief for that. However it still must springboard from an emotional well, the same one that has created a whole genre of heartbroken-rap-love songs. The verse arrived when rap was still much more focused on bravado and getting the girl rather than stories of the opposite. We can’t claim that this verse is the sole influence and only reason behind Drake’s emo approach, but we can imagine that it’s certainly a factor, especially by his own admission. “You really just rapped about an awkward, confusing conversation with a girl that actually would happen? Just because I’m a conversational artist, so to get that verse off, and tie it off at the end,” Drake says in awe during a VEVO interview discussing the verse.

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Things finally came full circle when Drake and Wayne collaborated on “HYFR,” and Drizzy was able to flex his own text exchange in a very-clearly-Wayne inspired manner. Recorded for Drake’s 2012 album Take Care, the song is about romantic entanglements both past and present. Drizzy adopts Wayne’s “Crying Out For Me” blueprint but fills in the missing gaps-- the story itself is more detailed, the text messages are more elaborate.

And we never talk too much after I blew up

Just only "hello" or a "happy belated"

And I think I text her and told her I made it 

And that's when she text me and told me she prayed it 

And that's when I text her and told her I love her 

Then right after texted and told her I'm faded 

She asked what have I learned since getting richer

The song is one that centers around blocking out emotions rather than dealing with them, though, as past trauma from relationships re-surfaces for both artists. “Interviews are like confessions,” in the sense that they are revealing, they are telling-- and right now, neither Drake nor Wayne wants to confess or deal with these emotions beyond a temperate and rather useless “Hell yeah.”

While we cannot credit Wayne as the main force behind the love-scorned-rap movement, we can credit his influence on Heartbreak Drake and we can trace the lines of influence, as faded as they might be. Somehow: it all goes back to Drake.