"There are three things you need to know about me," Lil Wayne shouted from the stage Friday night at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg.
He lifted up one finger.
"One. I know that we all ain't s--- without the man up above."
"Two. I ain't s--- without you."
"Repeat after me. Number 3. I. Ain't. S---. Without. You."
Lil Wayne was holding up his fingers to a crowd of nearly 2,000 people packed into Jannus Live, many of whom arrived two, three or even four hours before showtime and waited through intermittent drizzling rain at the outdoor venue with very limited seating.
For a show whose gates opened at 7:30, his 11 p.m. start might have docked him points from a few fans, but many seemed to not care at all.
Throughout his medley, which included classic Weezy hits like Go DJ, Got Money and Mrs. Officer, rain pooled together and leaked through the giant, overhead awning, sending a constant stream of water into the mass of people below. They didn't see to mind. Hands bounced and arms swayed above the crowd as Lil Wayne deftly step-danced his way around the stage, in his own comfortable world with a mic in his hand.
His intro song, Mr. Carter, was perfect with a chorus that says, "Hey, Mr. Carter. Tell me where have you been. They've been asking, they've been searching, they've been wondering why."
He hasn't released a true album since 2013's I Am Not a Human Being II, though he's been featured in several songs -- most recently DJ Khaled's I'm the One which also features Justin Bieber. After bopping to squad anthems like HYFR and The Motto, it felt a little out of place to hear Bieber's recorded voice ringing out the chorus.
Midway through the show, Weezy invited artists from his label, Young Money, to join him on stage.
"Young Money from their head to their feet," Lil Wayne told the crowd.
Mack Maine, Weezy's lifelong friend and collaborator helped out on Every Girl. HoodyBaby, a lesser-known labelmate, performed Traphouse Blues by Chris Brown, also with Young Money. Gudda Gudda was another surprise appearance.
The show closed with an electrifying performance by the whole team of No Worries, a banger that started off with lightning illuminating the courtyard venue and everyone in it. The crowd, tightly packed together initially to avoid the rain, jumped and audibly rapped alongside Lil Wayne, seemingly oblivious to the rain drops pummeling down.
-- Tara McCarty