Mirror (Lil Wayne song)
|Single by Lil Wayne featuring Bruno Mars|
|from the album Tha Carter IV (Deluxe Edition)|
|Released||September 13, 2011|
|Lil Wayne singles chronology|
|Bruno Mars singles chronology|
"Mirror" is a song by American rapper Lil Wayne featuring American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars. The second bonus track on the deluxe edition of Tha Carter IV (2011), it was first released to Urban contemporary radio stations as the sixth and final single on September 13, 2011, through Young Money, Cash Money, and Universal Republic Records. Dwayne Carter, Peter Hernandez, Phillip Lawrence and Ramon Owen wrote "Mirror". Owen also handled production as REO of the Soundkillers, and The Smeezingtons. The song leaked online a few days before the album's official release in the United States. The track was produced three years before its release; Owen, with Mike Caren's help, was able to get the track to several rappers, who rejected it. Lil Wayne liked the song after hearing it, however, and his verses were added to Mars' hook vocals already on the track.
Music critics gave "Mirror" positive reviews praising it for Mars' smooth, epic hook and Wayne's introspective verses. A hip-hop and pop-rap ballad with a somber beat, it's composition has been compared to "Lighters" (2011) by Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars and lyrically to Wayne's single "How to Love" (2011) from the same album. Its lyrics describe the downfalls of life, as well as Wayne's upbringing, state of mind, past choices and personal life. One of the rapper's verses draws inspiration from Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" (1987).
"Mirror" found some commercial success. It debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Rhythmic chart. The single peaked at number 46 in Canada and number 17 in the United Kingdom—Wayne's highest charting single as a lead artist in the UK to date. It also peaked in the top 15 of Denmark, the Dutch Top 40, and appeared on charts in Switzerland, and Belgium (Flanders). It has been certified silver in the UK, and platinum in Australia and the United States. In Denmark, it received two different certifications, Gold for units shipped, and two times Platinum for its streaming numbers.
Antoine Fuqua directed the accompanying music video, filmed in November 2011, with visual effects created by GloriaFX. It depicts Wayne throwing red, black and white paint on the walls of a room creating an undefined painting, while Mars sits on top of a ladder singing. The video ends with a scene showing a painting of Wayne, toned in red, crucified on the cross holding a mic in his left hand. Critics complimented it saying that it made the "Mona Lisa look like Dogs Playing Poker". Wayne performs the song during his tours.
- 1 Release and production
- 2 Background and lawsuit
- 3 Composition
- 4 Critical reception
- 5 Commercial performance
- 6 Music video
- 7 Credits and personnel
- 8 Charts and certifications
- 9 Release history
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Release and production
"Mirror" was released as the album's sixth and final single. Young Money, Cash Money and Universal Republic Records released the track to American urban contemporary radio stations, which began adding the track to their playlists on September 13, 2011. On November 1, 2011, the single was re-released in the same format and to rhythmic contemporary stations by Cash Money and Universal Republic Records. The song was made available in the United Kingdom via digital download on December 18, 2011.
REO of the Soundkillers produced "Mirror" with co-production by The Smeezingtons. Dwayne Carter, Peter Hernandez, Philip Lawrence and Ramon Owen wrote the song. Michael "Banger" Cadahia and his assistant Edward "Jewfro" Lidow recorded it at CMR South Studios in Miami, Florida. The single was mixed at the Record Plant in Los Angeles by Fabian Marascuillo, with Ghazi Hourani as mixing assistant. It was mastered by Brian Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering.
Background and lawsuit
Ramon "REO" Owen created the instrumental three years before its inclusion on Tha Carter IV. The producer, Reo" Owen of the Soundkillers, with help of Mike Caren, Atlantic Records A&R, was able to get this recording, which already had Bruno Mars singing the hook, heard by industry "heavy-hitters" including rappers Kanye West, Drake, and Nas. They rejected it. Lil Wayne liked the track and decided to keep it. "REO" initially wanted the track to be a part of West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). He to "settle[ed]" for it being included on Wayne's Tha Carter IV. He felt lucky it was given the amount of material recorded during the time an album is produced. Owen claimed he alone produced the track with The Smeezingtons as co-writers, however, the CD's liner notes also credit the team as co-producers. "REO" agreed that Wayne's verses captured the feeling of the song. The track leaked on August 25, 2011.
In late 2014, Ramon "REO" Owen filed a lawsuit against Wayne alleging he had promised him at least $91,000 for his work on the song. According to the lawsuit, Owen never received this payment.
In this sample, Wayne and Mars reflect on their struggles and upbringings.
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"Mirror" is a hip-hop and rap ballad composed in the key of F Minor, set at a tempo of 80 beats per minute. The melody spans the tonal range of C4 to D♭5, while the music follows the chord progression of Fm-E-Cm–E♭–Db. Its instrumental has been described as "an eerie wail in the background and a smothered kick-and snare-drum pattern". This is noticeable due to its tripped-down production and melancholy harmonies, echoing and somber beats. Rap-Up noted the resemblance between the structure of "Mirror" and "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil, which also features Bruno Mars.
The track has been described as "heartfelt", intimate, eerie and dark. Mars shows his emo-angst by singing: "Through my rise and fall/ You've been my only friend" and Wayne gets "reflective" on his verses "Looking at me now I can see my past/Damn, I look just like my f--king dad/Light it up, that's smoke in mirrors/I even look good in the broken mirror." Wayne not only shows his "warped, troubled mind" but also his softer side by rapping about his father. Overall, Wayne reflects on his past choices and his life. Various publications stated that Lil Wayne took inspiration from Michael Jackson in one of his verses: "And no message any clearer, so I'm starting with the "Man in the Mirror"." Idolator's Becky Bain found similarities between Wayne's single "How to Love" from the same album for its "introspective, sad and sweet" lyrics.
The song received positive reviews from most music critics. Lewis Corner of Digital Spy gave the song four stars out of five. He found that "The final result is much like the heartthrob himself; love-torn, moody and destined to be popular." Nathan Slavik writing for DJ Booth praised the track for its "hit potential", Wayne's most "serious and world-wise" verses and his flow, which "often borders on the spoken word" allowing the listener to understand them. Slavik also complemented Mars "moving" hook. He dubbed the single as Wayne's new "take your lighters at stadium anthem" [sic]. Billboard's Joe DeAndrea commented that the track was not only among Lil Wayne's best material, and found the vocals on the hook provided by Mars are quite "smooth". Another Billboard critic, Maria Sherman, praised Mars' hook, calling it "cinematic". Reviewing the album, Omar Burguess of HipHopDX praised Wayne for "pushing the envelope" describing "Mirror" as a concept track.
Conversely, brookencool of Complex included the track on his list of The 10 Worst Lil Wayne Songs. He felt Wayne's and Mars' vocals sounded "forced and pieced together", and deemed the collaboration ineffective. Moreover, the critic found the song's reflective lyrics about Wayne's past and his mistakes shallow compared to Wayne's "All By Myself".
In the United States, "Mirror" debuted at number 16, its peak, on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number six on the U.S. Hot Digital Songs chart, with 149,000 copies sold in its first week. It coincided with the release of Wayne's album Tha Carter IV. The single peaked at number 22 and 25 on the Billboard Rhythmic Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts, respectively. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it Platinum for sales of over 1 million copies. "Mirror" peaked at number 46 on the Canadian Hot 100. In Australia the song peaked at number 26, while it peaked at number 12 on the Australia Urban single charts. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified "Mirror" Platinum with 70,000 copies sold.
In Europe, "Mirror" debuted at number 12 on the Danish charts, spending 10 weeks there. IFPI Denmark certified it twice Platinum due to its streaming numbers being equivalent to 200,000 copies and it was certified Gold for selling over 15,000 copies. The recording debuted at number 47 on February 18, 2012. It eventually reached its peak at number 11 on April 7, 2012. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at 91 on the chart and peaked at number 17. The BPI certified the song Silver for confirmed sales of over 200,000 units. On the Dutch Top 40 charts, "Mirror" peaked at number 12. The song managed to peak at number 13 and 15 respectively in Slovakia and Switzerland.
Background and development
Filming for "Mirror" music video took place in November 2011, directed by Antoine Fuqua. GloriaFX created the visual effects. The company was responsible for the painting and the appearance and disappearance effects among others. VEVO released a teaser of the music video on YouTube on January 27, 2012. The full-length video premiering on VEVO's official website on January 31, 2012.
The video begins with a shirtless Wayne rapping to the song in a dimly lit workshop, while the camera shows various close-ups of his intricate tattoos. As the chorus begins, Wayne is shown painting the room red as Bruno Mars sings, while seated on the top of a ladder intercut with shots of him standing up. Wayne is also shown throwing red paint on the wall to create an unformed picture. The rest of the video focuses on Wayne blasting red, black and white paint everywhere. Solo scenes use facial expressions to show his "playful personality". The bridge begins with Wayne making the sign of the cross, before applying final touches to his painting. It is finally revealed that the painting is of Wayne himself crucified on a cross holding a mic in his left hand. The rather convoluted background includes a face, clouds and lightning, all toned in magnificent red. Wayne and Mars stare at the masterpiece as the video comes to an end.
Gregory Adams of Exclaim! complimented Wayne's final painting and called the rapper's video a "bizarre art world exploration". AXS's Natalie Kuchik said the video was simple compared to the rest of Wayne's videography. Kuchik praised the way the music video was shot and Antoine Fuqua's direction. Chris Coplan of Consequence of Sound said that the final scene made the "Mona Lisa look like Dogs Playing Poker."
Credits and personnel
- Recording and mixing
- Recorded at CMR South Studios in Miami, Florida; mixed at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California
Charts and certifications
|United States||September 13, 2011||Urban contemporary||
|November 1, 2011||Rhythmic contemporary||
|United Kingdom||December 18, 2011||Digital download||N/A|||
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