Shotgun Willie saves the day…
And yes, that’s a very real headline, and this whole story actually happened.
In 2008, hip-hop and rap star Lil Wayne was set to take the stage with the One and Only kids skirt playing guitar during a performance of his hit “All Summer Long” at the CMA Awards.
The only problem was that Lil Wayne got there maybe five minutes before the scheduled performance and didn’t have time to practice or actually learn the song.
The tune was released in 2008 as the third single from Kid Rock’s seventh studio album in 2007. rock n roll jesus, and I think Kid Rock just assumed Wayne knew the track and could play it on the guitar. Mainly because it features heavily sampled chords from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic “Sweet Home Alabama,” and who doesn’t know that, right?
Well, Lil Wayne probably doesn’t because a few years ago he shared the hilarious story with fellow rapper 2 Chainz in a video where he said he really didn’t even know how to play guitar:
“I have a really funny story about Kid Rock. I did the Country Music Awards with him before. I surfaced for five minutes… I’ll tell you exactly how fast it was when I surfaced. They weren’t in their dressing rooms, they were behind the curtains.
That’s when I showed up… the curtains were about to go up. I thought, ‘What are we going to do?’ They say, ‘We’re playing Sweet Home Alabama. They said, ‘I know you know that, right?’
I was like ‘I’m black…’
Listen, the story gets better… I had my guitar, I wanted to play the guitar. He wanted me to play guitar with him on stage on Sweet Home Alabama… I wasn’t practicing or anything, he said, ‘We’re just playing Sweet Home Alabama, I’m sure you know that.'”
Lil Wayne had released a song called “Leather So Soft” a few years earlier, which featured him on guitar.
Needless to say, he had no idea how to play “Sweet Home Alabama” and was trying to figure something out seconds before the live performance:
“What he doesn’t know is that I don’t know how to play the guitar. I just did a song called “Leather So Soft” and it worked. That’s all I can play is ‘Leather So Soft’, can you feel me?
Will this work for ‘Sweet Home Alabama’? I’m not sure. So someone sees I’m thinking that way, I still don’t know bro… he’s like, ‘You’ll be fine, don’t worry.’
And whoever but Shotgun Willie himself storms straight backstage to save the day, Willy Nelson.
Overhearing the conversation about Lil Wayne not really knowing that particular song on guitar, Willie tells him it’s pretty easy and if he just gets his hands on a few different chords he really can’t screw it up:
“Wille Nelson is coming.
He comes up and says, ‘Let me show you.’ He plays it with two seconds. He says, “Hold your fingers here on these two strings, you’ll be fine. The whole song, two strings.
I played it with him.”
And just about that time the curtains went up and they tossed a Tennessee Titans jersey to Wayne as he took the stage to perform a song he really had no idea at all:
“They put me in a Tennessee Titans jersey, I put it on, and we’re all out in a Tennessee Titans jersey… here we go. I got to play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ with Kid Rock and Willie Nelson.”
But Lil Wayne wasn’t totally out of place, hearing a lot of the same legendary stories about Willie smoking out literally everyone we all have and saying to the redheaded stranger at their first little guitar lesson:
“And I said Willie Nelson, I said, ‘I heard you smoked Snoop under the table.’
He said, ‘Right under that motherfucker.’ I said, “I’m not Snoop… Know that. Know that.’”
You really can’t make this shit up. What a story.
What I would give to be a fly on the wall throughout this interaction…
And indeed, in 2008, Wayne became the first hip-hop artist to ever play the CMAs, and I’d say he picked it up pretty quickly, because I’d never have found out about this whole fiasco one way or the other by watching her perform.
They put on quite a show, thanks in large part to Mr. Wille Nelson, and the entire performance was introduced by Carrie Underwood, no less…
Do yourself a favor and watch Lil Wayne tell it himself, it’s hysterical:
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2022/06/30/lil-wayne-confesses-willie-nelson-taught-him-sweet-home-alabama-on-guitar-seconds-before-he-went-on-stage-with-kid-rock-at-the-2008-cma-awards/ Lil Wayne Confesses Willie Nelson Taught Him “Sweet Home Alabama” On Guitar Seconds Before He Went On Stage With Kid Rock At The 2008 CMA Awards