Track Meet: Lil Wayne Is A Sports Bar Delivery Service On "No Ceilings"
Updated: Jan 26
In the "Track Meet" series, we break down albums or projects track by track to show where sports and hip-hop meet.
As streaming continues to dominate the marketplace of music, several classic mixtapes are now being placed on the for-profit streaming services. The latest addition to the collection is Lil Wayne's 2009 project "No Ceilings."
The late 2000s, early 2010s were the height of the Young Money era with Wayne solidifying his spot as a top MC and him nurturing the budding careers of Drake and Nicki Minaj. And, oh yeah, Tyga too. As Tunechi's stardom has continued to grow, so has appreciation for the way he fed voracious fans with his plentiful mixtapes. A decade later, he's so huge that even CNN posted about the "No Ceilings" rerelease.
The streaming-friendly version is slimmed down to 12 tracks from the original 21. It now includes Weezy's iconic "Kobe Bryant" song with the new verse, which he debuted at the 2020 BET Awards. The original "No Ceilings" is still available at DatPiff if you need the full goodness of the project.
Lil Wayne is quite the sports fanatic, frequently appearing on ESPN and other shows to give his expert opinions on his favorite NFL team the Green Bay Packers or share insight into his Young Money sports agency. On "No Ceilings," there's no shortage of sports references, as is true of any Wayne project.
"Women kicking it with me like Nomar Garciaparra"
"Quarterback, shotgun, you don’t get any sack yards/Bitch, I ball hard, breaking all the backboards/Pretty Boy Floyd, step up, I will crack yours"
"Tiger Woods, all these all these hoes tryna birdie these balls"
"Weezy beat the beat up like Sonny Liston"
The opening track of "No Ceilings" is a welcoming remix of "Swag Surfin'" by FLY (Fast Life Yungstaz) produced by KE on the Track that has become essential to the Lil Wayne lexicon. If you need to know Weezy is a king of sports references, look at how many there are in this one song. He references some of the top sports stars of the day, Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, golf legend Tiger Woods and boxing icon "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather (who has since changed his nickname to "Money"). He also gives a shoutout to history-making brawler Sonny Liston. And he creates football and basketball analogies to say that he's as excellent as a quarterback operating out of the shotgun and a hoop star dunking so hard he shatters backboards. Get yo popcorn ready.
"You niggas Little League, call 'em Curaçao"
"I’m laid up, I’m free throwing, Who rebounding?"
"From start to finish, Usain Wayne"
"We ball, nigga, like Jalen Rose"
On his own spin of Gucci Mane's legendary "Wasted," Lil Wayne brushes off his rivals as Little League baseball players. Although we're not sure this is a diss because Curaçao actually boasts one of the best Little League programs in the world. But we know Tunechi is stricly major leagues as he lines up for a free thow and compares himself to Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt and Fab 5-turned-NBA star-turned-commentator Jalen Rose.
"We are not the same/I am a martian, this is Space Jam"
A sampling of Southern goodness is what Lil Wayne's remix of "Watch My Shoes" is. The main sports reference here is a nod to "Space Jam." If you don't know what that is, you're probably on the wrong website.
"Broke Up" ft. Short Dawg and Gudda Gudda
"Vince Young, suicide doors/Life’s a bitch, now die for her"
"I’m knocking hoes down like Laila Ali"
"All about my Bills like Buffalo"
Mario's "Break Up" is produced by Bangladesh, the mastermind behind "A Milli," so of course it got the Lil Wayne treatment on "No Ceilings." The woozy track has Weezy asking his haters to analyze their life in the same way NFL quarterback Vince Young struggled with depression. Not exactly a PC line, we know.
Short Dawg comes and brags about his own greatness, saying he can get any woman he wants, including Leila Ali, Muhammad Ali's daughter who became a noted fighter in her own right.
Wayne's longtime friend Gudda Gudda wraps up the sports references nicely with some wordplay on the Buffalo Bills and his financial success.
"Good game, Wayne, man, I deserve a Naismith"
"Man, I'm in love with her grill, George Foreman"
"Smoke weed, talk shit like Lane Kiffin
"I go hard like Rafael Nadal"
"I get big checks, Niketown, bitch"
"Drop my best shit, like the Cowboys dropped Owens"
There's a lot to unpack in "Banned," Wayne's remix of "Banned from TV" by Noreaga and a slew of real spitters all over a soundscape presented by Swizz Beatz himself. Lil Wayne declares he's such a good rapper he should receive a Naismith, an award given to the best college and high school basketball players and coaches every year.
He also shouts out boxing champion George Foreman, who is perhaps now known just as much for his line of cookware as for his title fights.
Then, we have a nod to former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin, who was outspoken in his time at the helm of the Volunteers program. He made headlines for accusing Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer of breaking NCAA rules to pursue a recruit. In doing so, Kiffin actually got himself in trouble by breaking the SEC's code of ethics. Messy.
Wayne goes on to compare himself to tennis great Rafael Nadal and also saying he gets a lot of money, so much that his checks look like the Nike logo where he can spend his money at Niketown. This was 10 years prior to Drake's recent "Laugh Now Cry Later" video, which is basically a tour of Nike HQ.
And last, but not least, Wayne has a jab for the Dallas Cowboys, who cut Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens in March of 2009. Perhaps they were still salty over that star incident.
"Throw It In"
"No bullshit, nigga, no Ben Gordon"
"Stop playing, bitch, we balling like Okafor"
On this vibey track, a remix of Fabolous' "Throw It In The Bag," Lil Wayne explains how to woo a woman. Part of that, he says, is to keep it real and consistent, unlike former NBA player Ben Gordon, who had a rocky career. Gordon recently published a personal essay about overcoming his battle with depression, which wreaked havoc on his basketball days.
This second sports reference is not to be confused with current NBA center Jahlil Okafor. He would have barely been in high school when "No Ceilings" dropped. Instead, Weezy is shouting out big man Emeka Okafor, who played for the hometown team New Orleans Hornets.
"That's All I Have" ft. Tyga and Shanell
"If shit hits the fan, I Ron Artest niggas"
"Quarterback Weezy, young Tom Brady"
It's easy to forget Tyga was one of the Young Money staples back in the day. But he holds his own with his verse on another Gucci Mane remix, this one of "I Think I Love Her." His sports reference is comparing himself to Ron Artest pre-Metta World Peace days.
Lil Wayne then asserts his dominance calling himself a leader in the same lane as New England Patriots quarterback and four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who is now a Tampa Bay Buccanner. Who would have guessed?
"Wayne on Me"
"Wide receiver Weezy, throw the pussy at me"
"We get high as fuck then we 'Just Do It' put your Nikes on"
It's songs like this that make you wonder why people were so caught off guard by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP" because men have been rapping about lady parts and graphic sexual content for quite a long time now... anyways...
On his version of Twista's "Wetter," Lil Wayne switches his role on the previous track from quarterback to wide receiver. He's ready to catch what his lover throws at him.
He also throws another Nike reference in there. Nikes were the cool thing to wear while making love nearly a decade before we had the idea of doing so in Gucci flip flops.
"Boston Red Sox cap/I get baseball money"
"Cincinnati Reds cap/Skinny jeans, black Chucks"
"Saints cap/New car/Paint that if it ain't black"
Lil Wayne starts his verse off with a slew of references to the various sports teams shown on his cap selections. He wears a lot of Boston Red Sox gear because of his street affiliation connecting with the B logo and the color red. But that doesn't matter here compared to the multimillions he's making. Wayne can easily rock a Cincinnati Reds hat because of the colors or a New Orleans Saints fitted for his hometown. No matter the team, you can usually find Wayne rocking a pair of sneakers to go with it, whether it's Converse Chuck Taylors or a pair of Vans, which he wore as the best man in 2 Chainz's wedding.
"Let's Do It"
"I hit the beat hard, Bobby Boucher"
"Versatile as fuck, I switch it up like Dennis Rodman's dome"
On his remix of Waka Flocka Flame's "Oh, Let's Do It," Lil Wayne continues with his boasts, saying he is aggressive on the track like Bobby Boucher, the main character in "The Waterboy" who goes from sideline assistant to defensive force.
Tunechi also says that he's as well-rounded in his skillset as NBA star and pop culture icon Dennis Rodman, who made fashion statements in the 1990s by dyeing his hair different colors and patterns. The Chicago Bulls' dominance of that era was revisited this year in the ESPN documentary "The Last Dance." Although the story was largely told through the lens of Michael Jordan, the world was reminded of how much of a superstar Rodman was as well.
"I make her feel special like a place kicker"
Another love song, "I'm Single" is Lil Wayne's very own and could have been used to help showcase Drake's ability as a crooner. The protégé revealed around the time of "No Ceilings" release that he slinked his way onto some sort of remix, but such a song never actually saw the light of day.
The lulling beat by 40, Omen and Boi-1da doesn't have a ton of the fierce braggadocious sports references, but Wayne says he likes to spoil his lover and set her apart like the special teams unit of a football team.
This one doesn't need much of a breakdown. "Kobe Bryant" is a new addition to "No Ceilings" and is an updated version from the original 2009 single paying homage to the Los Angeles Lakers star. Bryant passed away in January with his daughter in a helicopter crash. The song regained popularity as fans across the world paid tribute to their fallen hero. Wayne paid his own respects by performing the song at the BET Awards with a new verse, which is the version that appears here.