Lil Wayne and Chris Brown have enjoyed a very long friendship. From back when the two were young and up and coming artists, to when both artists were at the top of the game and in the center of the spotlight, they have always had a very successful partnership.
Weezy has always brought his A-game for his features on Chris Brown’s songs, starting back in 2005 with Breezy’s “Gimme That (Remix)” along with a music video to help in promotion. The video is an interesting one for fans of both artists because it goes a small way to show the friendship between both artists. The video starts with Wayne meeting Brown in an airport and saying what’s up, while later Brown falls asleep and goes into a deep dream about his courtship of a beautiful girl in the airport. Brown is later awakened by a teasing Lil Wayne who tries to bring Breezy back to reality.
The duo followed up the first successful collaboration with CB’s “Poppin (Remix)” in 2007. Weezy put in what was surely one of the best verses he has ever spit. This verse remains a classic to this today and it’s that signature sound that long time Lil Wayne fans refer to as “old Lil Wayne.” The song was a great success thanks also to a great beat and strong verse from Juelz Santana who was enjoying major success at the time. The remix was not included on Brown’s album but was featured on the soundtrack of the movie “Stomp the Yard.”
In 2009 the “young phenom and the young CEO” got together once again for the Transformers themed “I Can Transform Ya” which was also coupled with a video. This time, Brown taps Wayne for two verses in the song, and coupled with dynamic and powerful vocals from CB, the song was a radio hit peaking at 20 on the Billboard Hot 200. The music video features Ducatis, Bugattis, and some intense graffiti. (Of course, beautiful women as well).
The next collaboration was their biggest hit together to-date. In 2011 CB tapped Lil Wayne and new YMCMB signee, Busta Rhymes, for the smash hit “Look At Me Now.” This was the second song in a row that Breezy tapped Wayne for an album version of a track and not the remix, and was their third music video connection. Both Weezy and Busta rhymes put in verses of the year and the song was nominated for multiple awards. The song peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hip-Hop/Rap chart and number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the biggest hit to-date of a Lil Wayne x Chris Brown collabo.
The latest product of the dynamic duo’s joint efforts came in the form of Brown’s 2014 hit “Loyal.” The song had multiple versions, a West-Coast version featuring Too $hort, an East Coast version featuring French Montana, and an album version featuring Tyga. Every version, however, features Lil Wayne with a smooth intro verse. This track must have been a fun one for Weezy because Too $hort is one of his favorite artists and no matter what it’s always cool to hook up with an OG. The song was a major success for Chris Brown as it peaked at number 4 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart and number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, making two Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits for the all-star duo.
The combination of Lil Wayne and Chris Brown is definitely an interesting one because of the unique blend of Pop and Rap. Although Chris Brown is categorically mostly classified as an R&B artist, he’s undeniably a Pop superstar and his historical placement on the charts reflects that. When you see a song like “Loyal” that only peaks at 4 on the Hip Hop chart (which is only a Top 25 ranking in a single genre) but gets all the way to 9 on the Hot 100, you can see that there is more broad appeal than just the Hip Hop genre and the song benefits from the broader audiences that you’re in front of with more of a Pop sound. Lil Wayne has continuously been able to adjust his style to meet Pop demand without losing his Rap edge. For instance, look at the difference between his feature verses on Nicki Minaj’s “Only” and “Truffle Butter.” The “Only” verse is a hard-core, gangsta rap styled verse because the song is a coming out party for Nicki Minaj saying “Hello world, I’m a serious rapper.” But “Truffle Butter” is a Pop radio song that is designed to generate buzz for the album and drive listeners to the album as a whole, which will drive album sales. Lil Wayne flawlessly switches his styles to be able to cater to different demographics and fan bases. When Lil Wayne is on a Chris Brown track he knows he’s rapping for Breezy’s fan base as well as his own. In these instances, an artist gets the chance to gain fans from the other artist’s fan base and gain more brand power for themselves. It’s a win-win.
Seeing the Pop side of Lil Wayne on Chris Brown songs is good for his fans that are less of the “Drought 3” fan and more of the “How to Love” and “Lollipop,” and it’s good for Chris Brown because it keeps him firmly in the Hip Hop community and away from being too Pop like a John Legend.
On the personal side, Weezy and Breezy have been close friends throughout the years. Chris Brown has been seen at multiple Miami Heat games with the YMCMB crew (including Drake), and Lil Wayne also performed at CB’s 2011 birthday party. The duo also performed a free concert in Haiti as a benefit for the people of Haiti, organized by Swizz Beatz. It has also been rumored that Lil Wayne helped broker a peace between CB and Drake after their falling out and bottle throwing episodes (Drizzy) occurred after tension between their complicated relationships with Rihanna. Whether or not it’s true, it’s definitely a possibility as Weezy is close friends with both, and we haven’t heard any negativity coming from either Breezy or Drizzy.
It’s great to see people in Hip Hop having great friendships that last through the years, especially when both artists find a way to stay at the top of the game. We can only hope for a continued run of great collabs from Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, and hopefully more ridiculously great music videos.