Friday night at Champions Square, another successful installment of the annual Lil Weezyana Fest was put on by local rapper, Lil Wayne (aka Lil Tunechi, Weezy F Baby, Lil Weezyana). This year had a slight rain scare, but only a mild sprinkle came to pass and it didn’t even come close to dousing the lit mass of Young Money fans. This was the third year for the festival and so far the largest turnout. With funding from Morris Bart, Lil Wayne puts on LWF for the benefit of the New Orleans community, bringing befriended artists, locally and nationally known, to perform with him on stage. This year he invited Gucci Mane as his co-headliner for the event.
The show got started at 7pm with guest opener Young Boy NBA, who stayed in the pit near the crowd to perform. Afterward, Gucci Mane took over at about 8pm. Surprisingly, Wayne did no collaborations with Gucci, even during his own set. When it was time for Tunechi, his DJ came out to hype an audience that was slowly being picked off by heat exhaustion. He played a track or two, then disappeared while the audience sat in silence and confusion for about 20 minutes. At some point, the beat to “Mr. Carter” from Wayne’s Tha Carter III began to play and the crowd went wild. After the intro to the song finished and it was time for Lil Wayne’s verse, he was nowhere to be seen. Another segment of awkward silence was eventually broken by the song replaying with Wayne finally appearing.
Lil Weezy has a great vibe about him, despite the subject matter of his lyrics and his habit of inserting every possible vulgarity into his dialogue. He’s a huge star, and after all this time, his head still seems to be on his shoulders. Just like last year, he made sure that everyone who attended understood his three main bulletpoints: “1. We all ain’t sh&@ without the big man upstairs. 2. I ain’t sh&@ without you. And 3. I ain’t sh&@ without you.” And he made many points to have the crowd to “Make some noise for their damn selves.” He also told them multiple times to put their middle fingers up.
The amount of people on stage with Wayne while he performed was a bit staggering. At first, it appeared to be a large group of friends or VIPs just there for the fun, but as the concert went on, Weezy kept introducing new friends and local artists to have them perform tracks of their own while he danced in the background. More than half of the set was devoted to his guests. The list of artists that played with him is quite long, but four in particular, Juvenile, Lady Red, Jadakiss, and Monica, were a pleasant treat for the patrons.
Wayne of course, played all of his own hits for the crowd, sometimes only a 45 second verse or highlight, but it was the only way to get them all out in addition to all the tunes cranked out by his pals. “Lollipop,” “Go DJ,” “Money on My Mind,” and “A Milli” all made the cut. After his shirt was off and all his buds were on stage, a large, rather creepy CGI depiction of Lil Wayne’s head appeared on the monitor, staring and nodding, while everyone with him jumped to the beat of the night’s final track, “No Worries.” At the end, Wayne politely said “Thank you. My name is Tunechi,” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was the sound of everyone vanishing.