In the months since I likened the prolific best rapper alive to Miles Davis, I have enjoyed seeing others try out their own genre-bending comparisons as we all try to find an archetype to fit Mr. Carter into our personal pop histories.
Last week, Mark Anthony Neal dealt a wonderfully provacative comparison between ‘Trane and Lil Wayne on his Vibe blog. I especially love his discussion of Wayne’s voice as an instrument in the context of Matt Shadetek’s recent musings on monolingual DJs and their multi-lingual crates.
“Many of us expend remarkable (and unremarkable) energy denoting the lyrical atrocities of everybody’s favorite commercial rapper (and I stand accused), very few admit that some of these cats matter simply because of the sound of their voice–and in that regard Lil Wayne is peerless. ” — Mark Anthony Neal, A Love Supreme? John Coltrane, Lil Wayne and the Post-Trauma Blues, 28 July 2008
Neal goes on to beautifully describe Wayne’s recorded voice as “slurs, blurs, bleeps and blushes” and compares its deployment to Trane’s spiritual exploration of the saxophone’s sonic limitations. I’d love to extend Neal’s analysis further as I believe he overlooks Wayne’s experiments with Auto-Tune in his discussion of Miles’ wah-wah 70′s fusion. Is not Auto-Tune the wah pedal of today’s Black pop?
Before he transformed himself into T-Wayne on “Lollipop”, Wayne’s pop prescence was limited to guest versus and unauthorized freestyles. In the same way that Miles equipped Hendrixtech to stay pop-relevant, Wayne’s flirtation with the VST plugin du jour brought him updial from JAMN 94.5 to KISS 108.
Ryan Ghostdad dug a bit further afield on Mofo Radio this week when he compared keytar whiz George Duke with the Waynester. Check this video and decide for yourself:
Also, this shit is in the water somehow.