Ten years ago, Lil Wayne took the world by storm with “A Milli.” The boastful anthem arrived at a pivotal time in Weezy’s career, soundtracked by thunderous instrumentation. Everyone, it seemed, was hypnotized by the street single off Tha Carter III. Everyone, that is, except the song’s producer, Bangladesh.
“I kind of didn’t like it at first listen,” he tells Rap-Up, when reflecting on the anniversary.
“I was probably too slow to know what it was when I heard it,” he explains. “We didn’t make that song together…It kind of let me down to hear this song with no hook on it. We was conditioned to think things had to be structured a certain way, that it had to have this big hook, something relatable that people say and all that.”
“It’s an iconic moment for hip-hop and for the culture.”
He would later realize that “a milli,” the vocal sample that appears throughout, was the hook. But at the time, he couldn’t see that just yet. “I wasn’t thinking about it like that,” he adds. “I was thinking about putting a hook on the song.”
Still, instant fan reactions were hard to ignore. Some even offered mega-declarations. “I started hearing people say how it brought hip-hop back,” he recalls. “When legends were saying this, I started paying attention and started studying why they were saying it…I’m a hip-hop head so I started listening back. It was simple. 808s with drums and a chop, a sample. That’s hip-hop. Just raw drums. Boom-bap type shit. That’s what they meant. As soon as I started understanding what it is, I started understanding the impact that it had.”
And that impact was tremendous. “A Milli” created such an electrifying buzz for Tha Carter III that the album lived up to the song’s promise, moving a whopping one million units in a week. It would go on to win Best Rap Solo Performance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, where CIII was awarded Best Rap Album. Ten years removed, its influence remains alive today.
“It created a lot of Lil Wayne fans,” says Bangladesh. “There’s a lot of Lil Wayne babies today that we see just based off ‘A Milli’ coming out. There’s a lot of rappers right now that’s making it, that it inspired. There’s a lot of producers that’s making beats right now that, when they first heard ‘A Milli,’ that’s why they wanted to make beats. It’s impactful and I hear it all the time. It’s an iconic moment for hip-hop and for the culture.”