Lil Wayne, Future, and the Ouroboros of Defensive Trendhumpery
Wayne in many ways is one of the progenitors of Future's style, specifically the strung-out robot vocal thing that Future does so well. But now, Future is, well, the future of that style, and Lil Wayne is not. So instead of forging ahead, Wayne simply put out a Future song in "Love Me." The track originally showed up on Future's FBG: The Movie mixtape, and finds Wayne going back to the Futuresque well, riding a sublime beat by frequent Future collaborator Mike Will Made It, and in the process nicking a style that he himself helped pioneer. It's a similar move to what Kanye West has often done: find the hot act, suck them in and then invert them in an attempt to prove you can do what they do, only better. Writing of West's warping of a Lex Luger beat for "H.A.M.," Alex Pappedemas at Grantland said, "By buying a rising Virginia producer's beat and then tricking it out like the Sistine Helicarrier, Kanye was borrowing a little of Lex's insurgent young-gun swag and his basically-unrivaled-at-that-moment Southern trap-sound credibility while simultaneously putting a competing producer in his place."
And ultimately, that's sort of what Wayne is doing here: Appropriating by curating, engaging in defensive trendhumpery, effectively saying, "Easy there, Future. Verses are my job. Stick to the hooks. Like T-Pain." It's as complicated as any of the hoopla surrounding "Harlem Shake," though a decidedly subtler brand of complication. And at the end of the day, fuck it. Everything's gotta come from somewhere. Even the stuff we hate.