Lil Wayne drops Rick Ross-collab 'If I Die Today (John)'

'The Carter IV's' second single reimagines Ross' 'I'm Not a Star'

March 24, 2011|By Wesley Case

UPDATE: Universal Music Group is killing all of the YouTube videos. Head over to Rap Radar to stream the track — just make sure it's the dirty version. It's on iTunes, too.

Lil Wayne quietly dropped the second Carter IV single last night and how much you enjoy it will depend on your love of Rick Ross/Lex Luger-produced bangers (think "B.M.F." and "MC Hammer"). Surprisingly, "If I Die Today (John)" didn't have the young Luger behind the boards — that was Polow Da Don. Even more interesting than Polow's obvious aping is the song's concept: it's Wayne and Ross' re-imagining of "I'm Not a Star," the opening, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League cut off Ross' last album, Teflon Don. Same chord progressions, same bars in certain spots. 

Ross and Wayne fill the track with coke boasts and death threats, and their bombast sounds fantastic. "This game is a b----, I got my hand up her dress / the money don't sleep so Weezy can't rest / And AK-47 is my f---ing address," Wayne spits. Each rapper earns their two verses a piece, particularly Ross who cements his status as the best voice for these bash-something beats. The rappers care about chemistry, too, most obvious in Ross' final verse where Wayne plays hypeman. "YMCMB, Double M, we rich forever!" Ross raps, as Wayne echoes the brand names. It's hard to question the claim.

"If I Die Today" brings up a ton of questions. Is Rick Ross the game's most influential rapper right now? Is this his moment? Two Carter IV singles and no "Lollipop 2.0" — is Wayne apologizing for his dismal RAWK album? Is Polow Da Don the best-paid biter in rap? How can an interpretation of a Rick Ross non-single be a Carter IV single? And how does it go this hard? That last question could be the only one that really matters, because on my 10th listen, it only becomes more obvious how much this thing goes.

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