The Weezer frontman speaks with Pitchfork on collaborating with Lil Wayne.
Pitchfork: So Lil Wayne is on the Raditude track “Can’t Stop Partying”. How did that come about?
Rivers Cuomo: It might be my favorite track on the album. It was an epic process coming up with it between me, [co-writer] Jermaine Dupri, and [producer] Polow Da Don– and then Lil Wayne topped it off with this rap from the edge of the grave.
Pitchfork: Were you actually in the studio with Wayne?
RC: No, I’ve never met him. I’d love to.
Pitchfork: Why did you specifically want him instead of another rapper?
RC: He sounds like he’s totally insane– and not just for the sake of sounding crazy. He’s not trying to sound ghetto or gangsta or intellectual– he’s just very natural and weird.
The first time I really became aware of him was when he worked the Ninja Turtles into the song “Kush”. Let me look up the lyrics online. … Ok, he says, “I feel like I’m racing a bunch of little turtles/ Keep a bandana like the Ninja Turtles.” First of all, he rhymes “turtles” with “turtles,” which is crazy! Second, he pronounces “turtles” with this real hard “R” so he sounds super nerdy, which is something you don’t often hear from black rappers. Third, he references the Ninja Turtles! That’s another thing you don’t often hear.
Pitchfork: You guys are kind of like kindred spirits in a super weird way.
RC: Well, you’ve got the Weezer/Weezy connection. But, more importantly, he really tapped into the spirit of the song, which I really struggled with at first. There was no sense of irony or darkness or tension in the first draft I heard from Jermaine. It was purely “whoo-hoo, let’s drink, get stoned, and get it on,” which is a fine sentiment, but I couldn’t honestly put that out and have it be the end of the story. So I ended up turning the music into something dark and beautiful and haunting, which gave it a different meaning without changing the lyrics. Lil Wayne picked up on that and developed it with his rap.
Pitchfork: What’s he rapping about?
RC: I have his verse memorized, it’s so great. He’s rapping about how you can’t stop mixing drugs and alcohol, but there are a few words he chooses which are surprising and suggest a terrible end to the party. The last line is: “I hope the killer doesn’t take the life of the party.”
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