Influence: Lil Wayne

Influence: Lil Wayne

Weezy F, Baby. And the F is for inFluence. We are in the year 2020, and Lil Wayne dropped an album in January, giving him another chart-topping album. As a matter of fact, Wayne has had a Billboard #1 album in 4 decades and has had the 2nd most Billboard Top 40 hits, with 82. We will actually discuss the person who has the most Top 40 hits in this article, but right now we will discuss the living legend: Lil Wayne.

There was definitely a time when saying that statement would get me blacklisted from being taken seriously by anyone, but I think Wayne is finally at that moment in time where we can give him his flowers while he can still smell them. Wayne has had a career like no other. He has been here since he was about 12 and has been making big hits since then. With those hits, he also has had major influence on hip hop culture. He defined eras of fashion and culture, with the bling-bling era to the long white T-shirt era to the leopard-print skinny jeans era! Wayne manages to keep himself relevant throughout decades.

Wayne’s music is also very influential. The man is credited for starting “mumble rap”, with having a lazy, Mush-Mouth like speech behind a catchy beat. However, he is also an innovator in punchline rap. Everyone loves a good punchline, especially in hip hop, and you’d be surprised how many people are influenced by it. From Childish Gambino to Kendrick Lamar to Migos, the popularization of punchline rap should be credited to Wayne. He definitely can have some misses in his punchlines (ya’ll know what the first sentence in this article is referencing), but when he is on, he is ON. He has some creative, witty, and funny punchlines that you will always enjoy!

Let’s also discuss his prolific dominance in the mid-2000s. Wayne felt like he was on every single track. He stayed in our ears not only by being featured on everything, but by releasing music constantly. Wayne had a mixtape dominance that is unmatched by no other. But then there was Tha Carter III… This is one of the most creative projects you’ll ever hear about. Not only is it creative, but it is BEYOND successful. It actually came at a time of hip hop recession. “… Tha Carter III debuted at No. 1 and sold more than a million copies in the first week. This was a huge and record-breaking achievement for the culture… there was a huge decline regarding hip hop albums commercial successes.” (Terrell, 2019) This is such a monumental album that it started the wave of autotune in hip hop, along with T-Pain.

Now, I can say that Wayne is influential until the hood comes home, but it won’t mean much if I don’t tell you who he’s influenced, now will it?

Lil so-and-so: Yep, every single “Lil” rapper out there has been influenced by the younger Mr. Carter. Why? I mean… it’s kind of obvious… the man’s name is “Lil” Wayne. Because he is so famous, all of these rappers have come with “Lil” in their title to pay tribute to their biggest influence. Side note: yes, Lil Kim and Lil Jon exist, but let’s be real; all these rappers have taken styles from Wayne, why wouldn’t they take that influence from him too?)

Lil Uzi Vert: Now, I wanted to single out Uzi for this reason: out of all the “lil”s, he probably has been influenced the most by Wayne. First, he truly is “Lil” (about 5’4, not saying that Wayne influenced him to be 5’4, I’m just saying that he is… Never mind), he was one of the leaders in the genre of “mumble rap”, as he had his moments when he was unintelligible, but the biggest influence? Uzi is a Rockstar. This is directly influenced by Wayne, who has transcended rap and has become a modern Rockstar for the generation. Uzi has that same appeal, playing with his voice and music, making alternative fashion choices, embracing the weird and being willing to make something a little different even if the subject matter stays the same. Now, there obviously is a difference between Uzi and Wayne, but there is definitely an influence

Young Thug: This should be obvious. The dude had an album called Tha Barter VI, had dreads, started making music that no one could understand, and was signed to Cash Money. You might as well call him Wayne 2.0.

Drake: Remember what I said earlier? Yea, he has the most Top 40 hits, with 100. While Drake has plenty of influences from Kanye (that will definitely be happening), he also has plenty of influences from Wayne. Of course, Wayne signed Drake to YMCMB, but there’s more than that. Every punchline, every auto tune song, every Southern-inspired beat, Wayne is the predecessor. Slight caveat for this: this is mainly for early Drake, as the current Drake has gotten big enough for his own style. However, for current Drake, he took influence from Wayne’s run in 2007 by hopping on every track.

Wayne’s voice is still making an impact to this day. Do you all remember “No Frauds” back in 2017? That was a Nicki Minaj song, but don’t tell me you didn’t get a little bit hype when Wayne came at the end. They don’t make them like him no more, man… he’s a dinosaur. Lil Wayne’s influence continues to impact the mainstream culture, as well as the underground culture. Yes, he has had some duds, but when you make as much music as he did then it makes sense. Regardless, this is a man who will be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his influence on hip hop music and the culture as a whole.



Terrell, Dontaira. 5 ways Lil Wayne redefined the art of hip hop. 27 September 2019. 30 March 2020.

Zellner, Xander. Lil Wayne PassesElvis for theSecond-Most Top 40 Hot 100 Hits of All Time. 11 February 2020. 30 March 2020.

Soulja Boy: A Generational Influence

Soulja Boy: A Generational Influence

Before you laugh and click off and report me, hear me out. This is not talking about who the best rapper is, or who the most respected rapper is; this is discussing the influence of a boy who is a soldier.

Picture this: it’s 2007. You’re driving in your parents Lincoln Navigator. If you’re older, you might be texting someone on a Motorola flip phone. You have 96.3 on the radio. And then, you hear this… “YOOOOOUUUUUUAHHHH”. Your ears perk up, and you hear the name Soulja Boy say, “Soulja Boy Tell Em!”. You’re probably wondering, “Who’s he tellin?” And then, you start dancing.

Soulja Boy became a phenomenon in 2007 (and then a punchline in 2016, and then an elite meme in 2019). Dude did one of the most popular get-famous-quick schemes in music: a dance song! He made “Crank Dat”, which is now cherished as a meme song by Gen Z (or Millennials… ya’ll don’t know either!) and it one of the most popular viral dances of all time. He also had a cartoon, more hit songs, and even a movie! Are they any good? …

These aren’t even the reasons I call Big Drako influential. Big Gucci Soulja is influential because of how we now consume music. While we were all collectively cranking it and Supermanning hoes while we were in the car, his influence comes from the computer. Soulja Boy was the first rapper to capitalize off of YouTube. Now, that seems commonplace. YouTube, SoundCloud, and plenty of other digital ways of consuming music are ubiquitous; but this was way before then.

YouTube started in 2005, and it was not widely known for a good while… until Crank Dat. When it was still in its infancy, Crank Dat came and popularized the site. With that said, this song was the catalyst for plenty of these other rappers and how they put out music. Not only did Soulja put YouTube on the map, he also changed the way we listen to music.

No one has been watching MTV for music in years, even back in’07. Everyone made jokes about MTV’s lack of music videos back in 2004, so something new had to be coming. Enter Big Drako, who put his music video on YouTube. The only time I watch music videos now is if they’re on YouTube! Not only did he capitalize off YouTube, but the whole Internet. He sold over 3 million units digitally. (Shout out to Huffington Post) This might be small potatoes for 2020, but in 2007/2008, this was a landmark!

You might be thinking, “You are straight trippin right now. You trippin so hard that you fell down some stairs and a whole hill!” Well, let me give you some artists that he indirectly influenced.

Chance the Rapper: Chance got huge from mixtapes on SoundCloud, with no backing label at all. In a way, he’s the spiritual successor to Soulja Boy! Soulja Boy used the Internet to popularize himself and became one of the biggest rappers in the world at that point. Chance was the same way, where he used resources that didn’t require an A&R team and became huge.

SoundCloud Rappers: Just as I alluded to, Soulja also influenced the SoundCloud generation. How? Think about it: the indie production, the simple lyrics, the obvious way that the songs are made to be chart toppers; they all have Big Gucci Soulja to thank for this.

6ix9ine: Yep, like Soulja said in his interview, Tekashi is another spiritual successor. Why? Because Soulja also had a mouth on him. The whole Ice-T “beef” was proof of that. 6ix9ine is a dude that trolled very hard and didn’t make the best music, but was popular for his antics, and the catchiness. Soulja Boy was a troll for a point (see beef with Ice-T) and his music is one big collection of earworms.

Popular Culture: Soulja has made so many infectious songs that I’m surprised they don’t have the coronavirus. Crank Dat will get any dancefloor bumpin’, Kiss Me Thru the Phone has a pretty good beat to it and fun chorus, and let’s not even talk about Pretty Boy Swag. This… right here… is my…. Swag! He influenced the culture by making songs that we all have fun with by finding them on the Internet, whether we’re dancing to them, singing along, or making fun of them.

Now, this would be nothing if it wasn’t backed up with some type of research. Something else Big Drako did with his fame, was be a young kid and only using the resources that he was able to use. “Teenagers didn’t have the reach or funds to equip themselves with the proper tools to make their music at high enough quality to where people would give it a chance”. (Alphonse Pierre, 2017) Back then, we didn’t have the access we have now. You had the first version of FL Studios and ran with it. In the past 10 years, there have been plenty of pop-up rappers. Some come on really strong and fizzle out after a year, others stay for a summer then leave, and others have their antics to keep us entertained. Do you want to know what they all have in common? They all get on with the catchiest flow and beat, have something that is uniquely them, and may even have a dance. If not a dance, they troll. Soulja Boy is who you have to thank for this. So many of these people are all following Soulja Boy’s footsteps, by popping up with something hot and trying to stretch that. So with all this being said, Soulja Boy is still not a best rapper of all time, or any time for that matter. However, he is a generational influence.




Craven, Julia and Taryn Finley. Soulja Boy’s Influence in Hip-Hop Is Unmatched. 23 January 2019. 26 March 2020.
Pierre, Alphonse. Soulja Boy Is the Most Influential Rapper of His Generation. 6 October 2017. 8 March 2020.