Recalling Lil Wayne’s ‘Lights Out’, “Everything” and his tribute to his Reginald “Rabbit” McDonald.

Thanksgiving was yesterday. Normally the interwebs would be flooded with brand new mixtapes and material. Instead we only got projects from three key players. YG decided that he was going to go all Piru and drop Red Friday. Boosie beat everybody by a day by releasing Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas and The Weeknd delivered a brand new album in Starboy.

None of that really mattered to Lil Wayne. Outside of being happy for his brother in Blood (I say that loosely), Wayne had a relatively quiet Thanksgiving. There was no lavish postings, no awkward public statements to be made. Instead, Lil Wayne was in solitude. Ten Thanksgivings ago, he was toasting with his surrogate father Birdman after the duo released Like Father, Like Son a month prior. Sixteen Thanksgivings ago, he was too busy occupied with being a teenager still trying to prove himself.

Lights Out doesn’t have the same charm that Tha Block Is Hot does in the Lil Wayne catalog. It sort of suffers the same teenaged angst that 500 Degreez does. If Wayne wanted to be the man on Cash Money, he was surrounded by men who had established far sturdier roots. Mannie Fresh was the label’s creative backbone but Juvenile had shot them into superstardom. B.G. and Turk were refined rappers and B.G. had already perfected the path Wayne had gone on. Teen rappers on Cash Money weren’t anything new. Wayne sort of manifested his ways into little burps and pockets of bravado. It worked beautifully on tracks like “Kisha” and “Loud Pipes”, which only had existed a year prior. A year later, Weezy had created an album that was paint by numbers, a generic glimpse that would eventually yield brilliance.

“There’s all the spoils of success for a teenaged Lil Wayne. And none of the love.”

“Everything” was one of the few moments where Wayne allowed his mind to let go and consider the world at large. He was a newly made father, a life accelerant that would change anybody. Just as Wayne’s daughter Reginae was starting to form her own personality, her father was still figuring out his own. The easiest way to do it was to look upward.

Wayne wrote a letter to Rabbit, updating him on everything going on in his world. Reginae was growing up. Cita, the last woman Reginald ever loved was taken care of due to her son’s career. “Everything” is less bravado and instead full of vulnerability. Wayne wishes for death to be a far better companion because it would at least reunite the two of them. Whereas a far older Wayne would push through raps with a raid fire thin croak, the younger version of him merely twisted it all together with a still distinguishable New Orleans drag.

The feeling of loss with someone like Lil Wayne occurs with all of us. I could recall my mother and aunt discussing last night how Thanksgiving doesn’t feel the same anymore. The house is quiet, there aren’t that many visitors. The change with Wayne is similar. There are still friends and supporters, but the glow isn’t the same. Even in the “Everything” video, there’s Baby & Slim comforting him after he visits the church. An early 2000s Cash Money relic, there’s all the spoils of success for a teenaged Lil Wayne. And none of the love.

Although Lil Wayne had “Everything”, he didn’t have his first major father figure. And it may still eat at him to this day.

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