The 10 Best Deep Cuts From Lil Wayne’s Apollo Theater Setlist

On April 16, Lil Wayne performed a medley of songs at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Here were the best deep cuts from his set, in the order they were played.


Image via Getty / Johnny Nunez


“There are three things you must know about me: 1) None of us are shit without God; 2) I am not shit without you; 3) I am not shit without you,” Lil Wayne declares as he walks out to a crowd of eager fans. 

It’s a late Sunday night in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, and fans have packed into the historic uptown theater for Lil Wayne’s Welcome to Tha Carter Tour. Anyone who’s ever attended a Wayne show knows the New Orleans legend always introduces and finishes his set with the same declaration. Aside from the pleasantries and introductions, though, it becomes very clear this is far from your typical Lil Wayne show. 

The first time I saw Lil Wayne in concert was around 2009 shortly after he dropped his acclaimed studio album, Tha Carter III. In addition to hearing some of my favorite songs from my favorite rapper at the time, Lil Wayne’s enthusiasm, stamina, and showmanship made it one of the best live rap shows I’ve ever seen. It was so memorable that I spent the next decade chasing the ecstasy of witnessing Lil Wayne up close. Unfortunately, over the years, the rapper earned a reputation for dropping out of concerts and festivals at the last minute (2018’s Panorama and 2022’s Gov Ball to name a few). Though he was a few minutes past his 9 p.m. call time at the Apollo, Lil Wayne did show up to play an intimate and niche setlist, making day-one fans’ dreams come true. 

Of course the nearly 40-track setlist included renditions of some of his monster hits like “A Milli,” “Lollipop,” and “Single.” With a career that spans more than 20 years, Lil Wayne had plenty of hits to run through, but hereWayne was performing deep cuts and records that don’t often make his previous arena shows.

It would be impossible to sum up how sweet it was to see Lil Wayne back in his element. But to give fans a little taste of what went down at the Apollo show, here are the best hidden gems from his discography that Lil Wayne performed (in the order they were played). 

“Money on My Mind”

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Project: Tha Carter II

Lil Wayne spent the least amount of time on earlier projects like 2005’s Tha Carter II, so when he did play singles from the album, it made the moment so much sweeter. He started with an all-too-brief snippet from the megahit “Fireman” before moving into “Money on My Mind.” He commanded attention at the mic, as he rapped fun “Waynisms” like, “Dear Mr. Toilet, I’m the shit/ Got these other haters pissed ‘cause my toilet paper thick.” The track truly set the pace and tone for the rest of the show. 

“Drop the World” 

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Project: Rebirth 

When Lil Wayne released his collaboration with Eminem “Drop the World,” in 2009, it was met with mixed reviews—a lot of critics disliked the song’s experimental rock sound. Despite the song’s reception at the time, it was a crowd pleaser during the Apollo show. As soon as Wayne started reciting the first verse (“I got ice in my veins, blood in my eyes/ Hate in my heart, love in my mind”), the crowd lit up. Wayne also led the crowd in banging out to the song’s chorus, which repeats, “So I pick the world up and I’ma drop it on your fuckin’ head.” The track might not have worked in 2009, but more than 10 years since the track’s release, a lot of rappers are experimenting with rock sounds. Now, “Drop the World” feels like it was a song ahead of its time. 

“Blunt Blowin’”

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Project: Carter IV 

“Blunt Blowin” was one of the first singles to be released from Wayne’s ninth studio album, 2010’s Tha Carter IV, but it hasn’t gotten as much play during live shows as much as some of his other hits. It was a happy addition to his setlist at the Harlem theater, though. What made the track so fun to watch and listen to was Lil Wayne’s energy as well as the drummer hitting every one of the song’s distinctive beats with intensity and precision. 

“La La”

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Project: Tha Carter III

2008 was a monumental year for Lil Wayne: That year, he dropped his album Tha Carter III to critical acclaim. The project included a number of mega hits including “Lollipop” and “A Milli.” “La La,” the project’s 13th track, rarely gets as much love as, say, “Got Money,” but at the Apollo fans started going in as soon as the childlike background vocals started humming. What’s great about this record is it’s filled with many “Waynisms” like, “Flyer than bluebirds, cardinals and canaries/ Fuck me, I’m all about ‘oui’ like Paris.” 

“3 Peat” 

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Project: Tha Carter III

“3 Peat” served as  Tha Carter III’s the opening track. It wasn’t released as a promotional single, but for true fans it might as well have a platinum plaque. “It’s Tha Carter 3, bitch, better put your supper up/ Hollygrove, I throw it up like I’m trying to lose my gut,” Wayne rapped. 


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Project: Tha Carter III

“Comfortable,” also off Tha Carter III, is one of the slow burners from that album. Produced by Kanye West and featuring vocals from Babyface, the song served as a nice break in the setlist—especially after Lil Wayne played more energetic and popular tracks like “Lollipop” and “Love Me.” The track is a time capsule of past cultural moments with Wayne rapping at one point, “Feeling irreplaceable, listening to Beyoncé/Well, okay, I put you out on your b-day.” 


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Project: Dedication 2

Around the halfway mark of Lil Wayne’s show, he declares it’s “Mixtape Weezy” time, which is met by palpable cheers and “yeah’s.” “Cannon” is one of the cuts from Weezy’s 2006 tape Dedication 2. The track, which was produced by Don Cannon (hence the name), wasn’t exactly a commercial hit, but it was popular enough during the early mixtape era to spawn remixes by Meek Mill, T.I., Busta Rhymes, and Ludacris. What made this record fun to watch live was Lil Wayne’s call-and-response. “Niggas know I’m sick: I don’t spit,” Wayne raps, to which the crowd replied: “I vomit.”

“Watch My Shoes”

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Project: No Ceilings

After blowing through a few tracks on his Dedication mixtape series, Lil Wayne turned to his 2009 tape, No Ceilings. Some die-hard fans might be thinking: “Watch My Shoes” is not a deep cut. And in some ways, they would be right. “Watch My Shoes” is one of the more popular records from the 2009 project and remixes Boosie’s 2007 hit of the same name. True, everyone knew the words to the record (the fans screamed, “And I’m so unfit ‘cause all I eat is rappers/ And these rappers ain’t shit, I like my fast food faster”), but it’s very rare for this record to pop up on tour. So, it was nice for fans to see this live at a venue so intimate as the Apollo Theater. 

“Tunechi Rollin’”

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Project: Sorry 4 the Wait

“Tunechi Rollin’” comes from Wayne’s 2011 mixtape Sorry 4 the Wait, which was released in an attempt to hold fans over while they waited for his long-awaited project Tha Carter V. While the song doesn’t get much play at some of his larger arena tours, it is perfect for a live setting. The song’s aggressive energy and Lil Wayne’s rambunctious delivery translated perfectly to the live stage. During the performance, Wayne frantically danced around while rapping lyrics like, “G5 sittin’ on the runway/ Big-ass chopper, call that bitch “Beyoncé.” Tunechi has always been an enthusiastic performer, but it was cool to see him completely let loose and get lost in the music as he hopped around the stage during this set. 

“Suck It Or Not (Touch It Or Not)” 

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Project: Killa Season

Usually features wouldn’t make a “Best of” list like this, but in one of the few surprises of the night, Lil Wayne brought out Cam’Ron to perform their 2006 collaboration “Suck It Or Not (Touch It Or Not)” for the first time ever. The New York crowd roared when Cam joined Tunechi on stage. As Cam delivered his verse, Tunechi played hype man, plugging in lyrics here and there. Wayne then delivered his own featured verse as fans recited every lyric. 

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