Lil Wayne Takes Over Hip-Hop

Sasha Frere-Jones’ “High and Mighty“:

The lazy psychedelic anthem “I Feel Like Dying,” a collaboration with the producer Jim Jonsin that appeared on the Internet in June, is one of the few songs about drugs that sound as if both the music and the musician are high. The music is based on a sample from “Once,” a bleak acoustic-guitar ballad from 2003 by Karma, a South African singer-songwriter who lives in Miami. Jonsin sped up Karma’s voice and rearranged her lyrics to create a new chorus: “Only once the drugs are done, then I feel like dying.” Karma sounds pained, but Lil Wayne doesn’t seem to be feeling much of anything. Over a jumpy kick-drum pattern, he recites his words slowly, separating each phrase with a long, narcotic pause that threatens to dissolve the rhythm: “In a marijuana field, you are so beneath my cleats. . . . I can mingle with the stars and throw a party on Mars. I am a prisoner locked up behind Xanax bars.”