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’08 WAS GREAT!: Lil’ Wayne, Artist of the Year?

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Let me begin by saying that I like Lil’ Wayne. I’ve met Lil’ Wayne, and, yes, he’s a very friendly guy. He’s got a magnetic personality, and his demeanor alone could sell a few thousand albums. That being said, it still zaps my mind (much like that vein tattoo on Lil’ Wayne’s forehead) that he became music’s most praised star in 2008. And we’re not just talking about Dwayne Carter getting fist pounds from fellow hip-hoppers. He was loved by the pop set, mainstream music lovers, and even–no lie–the indie elite. (A certain Chicago emcee/producer is secretly wiping his brow and readjusting his Pee-Wee Herman suit jacket).

(left: Somehow, someway, Lil’ Wayne conquered the world in 2008.)

To be honest, when Lil’ Wayne’s brand new album, Tha Carter III, was released earlier this year I didn’t pay much attention to it. I gave the album a quick listen, wasn’t blown out of the box, and continued to listen to all the other music I had to listen to. I was actually a bit disappointed, cause I wanted to love Lil’ Wayne’s new album. For someone who’s not into hip-hop as much as I used to be, it’s fun to latch on to a current hip-hop star, cause it makes you feel, well, current.

While I was dismissing Tha Carter III, America was doing just the opposite. In a CD industry on life support, the album sold 400,000 copies in its opening day (which even drew a surprised response from 50 Cent). The disc went on to become one of the top selling albums of 2008 and even landed on several critics’ year-end, best-of lists. SPIN named Lil’ Wayne “Rock Star of the Year” and Pitchfork Media, the bastion of all things indie, named Tha Carter III their #11 album of 2008 (beating out efforts from music blog darlings Lykke Li, Santogold, and even–Kanye West).

Lil’ Wayne was everywhere in 2008. He was nominated for eight Grammy Awards (more than any other artist this year), he got ample face time on MTV’s VMA show (even sharing the stage with Kid Rock), performed live on SNL, was appearing on other aritsts’ tracks in the same fervor as Akon, inspired Michael Phelps to swim to eight gold medal victories (getting name-dropped on a nightly basis at the Olympic Games), and even during my Christmas shopping I couldn’t avoid Lil Wayne, as I was given a free Tha Carter III velvet black-light poster in my Virgin Megastore shopping bag.

In the midst of Lil Wayne madness I decided to revisit Tha Carter III. I gave it a couple more listens, and–still–nothing.

I was blind to its genius.

What was the rest of the world seeing that I couldn’t see? The production didn’t seem out of the ordinary (lots of rolling drum fills, some vocoder, and dirty-south-ready synth loops), the lyrics, many times, dipped into familiar hip-hop territory, with rhymes about getting your dick sucked and getting shot, and Tha Carter III may also be the first album in history to get nominated for Grammy’s Album Of The Year Award, despite possessing a track titled “Pussy Monster.”

I understand why Lil’ Wayne has dominated the world of hip-hop in 2008, but it’s still a mystery how he won over serious music critics. His guitar playing skills are almost insulting (though I do see a smidgen of punk rock in thought process), his 24-year old voice sometimes sounds like an ailing old man, and his biggest hit of the year was one he did with T-Pain (and doing a track with T-Pain is about as original as a tabloid magazine putting Britney Spears on the front cover).

Maybe it’s his tight jeans and tattoos?

Maybe it’s his don’t-give-a-fuck-do-it-yourself attitude?

Maybe I have to listen to the album again?

Maybe I still won’t get it after I do…

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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