During his trip to Austin for SXSW last week, Lil Wayne sat down with hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson for his CRWN series. In Part 1 of the interview, the self-described “triple OG” talks about idolizing Jay Z, his protégés Drake and Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse, Kanye West’s “Yeezus Tour,” and his final solo album, Tha Carter V.
On Tha Carter V: “I’m approaching it like it is my last project and I think that’s why it’s a lot different than everything else. I’m approaching it as if you don’t have tomorrow.”
On Jay Z: “When he said he was retiring, I was like a basketball player looking up at Kobe or looking up at Jordan, if Jordan’s like LeBron, like somebody gotta step up.”
On why he doesn’t call himself the “best rapper alive” anymore: “I have awesome artists, and I’m not trying to outshine them at all. I have artists that I feel, I want you to be better than me.”
On Drake: “When I heard his music, and everytime I hear his music, I still get the same feeling, like, ‘Man, ain’t nobody can touch this dude.'”
On signing Nicki Minaj: “She was being Nicki. That’s who I met and that was without the glitz and the glamour. When I first heard the first two and four bars, it wasn’t even about she’s rapping better than any female rapper, it was about man, she’s rapping better than the rappers, period.”
On Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse: “When I hear a Kendrick verse or something like that, I be like, ‘Oh man, I’m tired of this, man.’ I’m not about to be out here talking about I’m the best. I don’t need nobody coming at my neck.”
On Kanye West: “I rock with anything he does. That man’s a genius.”
On “The Yeezus Tour,” which he attended in Atlanta: “When he came out with the mask, I was like, ‘This ni**a crazy. … I found myself out of breath in that bitch. Now you know that’s a show.”
Watch the first 30 minutes of the two-part interview below.