A slow soul gem by Band of Thieves from the Ovation / Tuff City label vaults is the sample behind “Harden.” A soulful backdrop under the rattling hi-hats and thumping bass by Grammy-winning producers STREETRUNNER and Tarik Azzouz, who both previously worked with Eminem, DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle, and others. "I got a call 24 hours before the album dropped that Wayne wanted to use the 'Harden' record," says STREETRUNNER. "Thank god the sample used was a Tracklib sample and I was able to clear it in a heartbeat."
But the sample goes further than a flip. Sampling “Love Me Or Leave Me” even sparked the inspiration for Lil Wayne’s lyrics on “Harden”. “[Lil Wayne] would hear the beat and work his lyrics into what the sample is telling him to do,” STREETRUNNER told DJBooth after several collaborations with Wayne. “For example, ‘Let’s Talk It Over,’ ‘1 Night Only,’ ‘Trouble,’ ‘Do It Again’—all of these beats had samples and he knew, ‘Alright, STREETRUNNER came with the beat and the topic.’ He was able to twist up the concept I had with the sample.” No surprise that the track “Harden” is about loving and leaving...
"I got a call 24 hours before the album dropped that Wayne wanted to use the 'Harden' record. Thank god the sample used was a Tracklib sample and I was able to clear it in a heartbeat."
‘Funeral’ is Lil Wayne’s thirteenth studio album, released a bit over a year since the long-delayed Tha Carter V. This is his fifth No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It goes back as far as November 2016 when Lil Wayne first announced he was working on a new album titled ‘Funeral,’ following a years-long stint of issues with Birdman and Cash Money Records. It’s believed that the album’s theme suggests a grim take on those label complications; metaphorically hammering a final nail in the coffin.
“What the new thing is for me is actually trying to put out music that sounds a little more like today’s music,” Lil Wayne told New Orleans radio station Q93.3 a few months ago. “What that means for me… is adding hooks. I forget about hooks. I forget ’em. Somebody gotta come in the booth and stop me from rapping, like, ‘This is where you stop it and add a hook.’”
The track “Harden” certainly follows that ambition: a heavy beat with a strong hook. Even using the original theme of the “Love Me Or Leave Me” sample in his own hook: “She love me or leave me, I gave her a reason / She don't want a reason, she don't wanna see me.”