Last week, in a piece for Stereogum, Jayson Buford argued that Lil Wayne was returning “to legendary form” on a series of on-fire guest-verses. Almost immediately, as if to prove Jayson wrong, Wayne got together with perpetual hanger-on Rich The Kid to release the collaborative mixtape Trust Fund Babies. It’s bad. On Trust Fund Babies, Wayne is in a pure sleepy autopilot zone. Today, though, we’ve got a new song “Ya Dig” where Wayne once again sounds insane. So what’s going on here?
According to Lil Wayne HQ, “Ya Dig” is actually an old song, which makes sense. Lil Wayne HQ says that “Ya Dig” was “recorded in either late 2007 or early 2008,” which puts it right in that peak mixtape era, where Lil Wayne was in outer space on every track. “Ya Dig” never came out, even on the many mixtapes that Wayne was cranking out at the time, possibly because it uses a sample — Margie Joseph’s version of the Supremes’ “Stop! In The Name Of Love” — that Wayne also sampled on “Gossip,” a classic track from the 2007 EP The Leak. Maybe Wayne figured he could only sample that track once, and “Gossip” is definitely the more dramatic of the two.
Still, “Ya Dig” is nuts! “You gon’ need Geico or gecko! I go get from the get-go! Go let! Let go! Let’s go! Go where? Anywhere but nowhere! Cold-air than a pol-air bear’s toenail! No frail! Don’t break! Too real! Boy, I get it poppin’ like New Year’s!” You don’t come up with weird shit like that unless you’re existing in some kind of constant flow-state. Wayne’s voice on the track sounds absolutely ravaged, like he’s recording at 5AM after partying all night, which is almost certainly what was happening, whether or not this thing is from the ’07-’08 era. Listen below.
Here’s hoping there’s a whole trove of unreleased classic-era Wayne stuff about to come out. But even if “Ya Dig” is a one-off, it’s a great one-off.