Super Bowl Anthems: Lil Wayne Vs. Wiz Khalifa

Who will win the Superbowl this Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers? If the comparative performances of the teams’ high profile rap-star fans can be used as a predictive gauge, Green Bay will win. Lil Wayne’s Packer’s-boosting remix of Wiz Khalifa’s hit Pittsburgh anthem “Black and Yellow” is better than the original.

To give credit where it’s due, Wiz Khalifa is a perfectly likeable pothead. And it’s really great to have a rap star emerge out of Pittsburgh. A great city, Pittsburgh, with a strong tradition of heroic sports teams living the high life and grooving to good music. And it is pretty cool kizmit that the success of the Steelers has dovetailed so nicely with that of his first national hit—one that celebrates the team colors, his city’s colors, over a super-catchy keyboard riff. It must have been a hug thrill for him to get to perform it at Heinz Field Stadium before the Steelers beat the Jets in AFC conference championship game last week.

“Black and Yellow” currently sits at no. 4 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 singles chart, down from no. 3 last week. But you have to think if Pittsburgh wins Sunday, it might push it up to no. 1.

For a hook, the phrase “black and yellow” is a good one, it certainly rolls off the tongue more easily than “green and yellow.” But other than that, as far as the rhyming goes, “Black and Yellow” strikes me as lazy—nothing terrible, but nothing much inspired, either. Which, again, Khalifa is a super-stoner. You find a nice beat, ride it on the radio. It’s fine. But Lil Wayne is a virtuoso, and he just completely eats Khalifa alive over his own beat. From the minute he calls him “Cheez Whiz,” you know what’s happening, and by the time he toasts the Steelers as “pop tarts,” it’s a done deal: there’s ten times as much cleverness and verve in Wayne version. And it’s nice of him, too, to repeatedly point out that this is not a diss song, but the friendly ball-breaking that goes on between fans of rival teams. You wouldn’t want a real rap beef to break out over something so trivial. (Not that such things haven’t broken out over less in the past.)

It’s supposed to be a close game this year, so maybe this will help with the gambling. I’m taking the Packers by three.