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#ThrowbackThursday: Remembering Huricane Katrina With “Tie My Hands” by Lil Wayne featuring Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke & Lil Wayne at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards Performing “Tie My Hands” in 2009

by Sean Smith

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States, leaving nothing but destruction in her wake. When all was said and done, Katrina would go down as one of deadliest and costliest Hurricanes on record. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the havoc caused by Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina initially made landfall in South Florida as a Category 3 storm on August 25th before heading into the Gulf of Mexico.  The warm waters of the Gulf, quickly strengthened to a massive Category 5 hurricane. While the storm would eventually dissipate slightly before making landfall again in Southeastern Louisiana as a strong Category 3, the destruction caused by Katrina was still massive. The storm caused an estimated $108 billion in damages, and took the lives of at least 1,245 people.

Much of the worst damage and loss of life occurred in the city of New Orleans, LA. The surge brought by the storm overwhelmed the cities levee system and ultimately 80% of New Orleans would be under water. This flooding was a major reason for the extensive destruction and the loss of life. After the storm passed, hundreds of bodies were pulled out of the flooded streets, and thousands of homes and businesses were ruined due to the flood waters. The images that stick with us from that immediate post-Katrina time are ones of despair; people on the roofs of their flooded homes trying to flag down helicopters to rescue them, the bodies floating in the streets, the conditions inside the Superdome, and the displaced residents being loaded on buses and sent out of state to seek refuge in nearby Houston, TX. New Orleans was reeling in the aftermath of Katrina. The city was broken and the residents of the city were trying to come to grips with the devastation all around them. New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne would give a voice to this feeling of despair a few years after the hurricane when he teamed up with Robin Thicke to create the song “Tie My Hands”, which is worth remembering on this somber time of reflection.

Lil Wayne released his sixth studio album Tha Carter III in June of 2008. The highly anticipated record would quickly top the Billboard 200 album chart and featured the commercially successful singles “Lollipop” and “A Milli”. But the most poignant and meaningful song on that album was the album track “Tie My Hands” featuring Robin Thicke. The song dealt with the despair and frustration that gripped the city following the hurricane, and ends with Lil Wayne on his third verse trying to give a message of hope for the city moving forward rapping

“And if you come from under that water then there’s fresh air, just breathe baby God’s got a blessing to spare/ yes I know the process is so much stress, but it’s the progress that feels the best”.

The song “Tie My Hands” originated in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, not with Lil Wayne but rather R&B singer/songwriter Robin Thicke. In an exclusive 2008 interview right here on, Thicke talked about how the song and collaboration with Wayne came about.

“It was a song I wrote right after Katrina, and [Lil Wayne] came to my studio and he was really moved by it because obviously he’s from New Orleans and his family was displaced. So it meant a lot to him, and he said ‘I want to put that on my next album’. And then a couple years later he called me back and was like ‘Yo, let me get those tapes’, so I sent him the tapes, he put down his parts, and the rest is history.”


The touching message of “Tie My Hands”  helped bring the topic of Katrina centerstage at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in February of 2009. Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke were joined on stage by legendary Jazz singer/songwriter, Allen Toussaint ,who helped them perform a re-worked version of the song in tribute to New Orleans. The impact of that performance helped make the song a top-seller over night, becoming one of the most downloaded tracks  from the album without the benefit of regular radio airplay.

So in light of the 10th anniversary of the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, this week we remember “Tie My Hands” by Lil Wayne featuring Robin Thicke. Enjoy.

Lil Wayne Featuring Robin Thicke 

“Tie My Hands”

From: Tha Carter III

Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Motown Records

Lil Wayne & Robin Thicke And Allen Toussaint
“Tie My Hands”
2009 Grammy Awards Performance