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Lil Wayne - Mirror (single cover).jpg
Single by Lil Wayne featuring Bruno Mars
from the album Tha Carter IV (Deluxe Edition)
Released September 13, 2011 (2011-09-13)
Format Digital download
Length 3:48
Lil Wayne singles chronology
"Y.U. Mad"
"Strange Clouds"
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"Marry You"
"It Will Rain"

"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), was first released to Urban contemporary radios as the sixth and final single on September 13, 2011, through Young Money, Cash Money, and Universal Republic Records. It was written by Dwayne Carter, Peter Hernandez, Phillip Lawrence and Ramon Owen, with production by the latter, credit as REO of the Soundkillers, and The Smeezingtons. The song leaked online a couple of 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, which rejected it. Nevertheless, Lil Wayne liked the song after hearing it and his verses were added with Mars' hook vocals already on it.

"Mirror" received positive reviews from music critics, who praised it for Mars' smooth, epic hook and Wayne's introspective verses. A hip-hop and pop-rap ballad with a somber beat, it has been compared in its composition 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 and upbring of life, as well as Wayne's 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 17 in the United Kingdom, making it, to that date, Wayne's highest charting single as a lead artist in the UK. It also peaked inside the top 15 of Denmark, Dutch Top 40, Switzerland, and Belgium (Flanders). It has been certified silver in the UK, platinum in Australia and in the United States. In Denmark, it received two different certifications, one for its shipments, gold, and the other due to its streaming, two times platinum.

An accompanying music video, filmed in November 2011, was directed by Antoine Fuqua with visual effects created by GloriaFX. The video depicts Wayne throwing red, black and white paint to the walls of a room forming an unknown painting, while Mars sits on top of a ladder singing. The video ends with a painting of Wayne crucified on the cross, while holding a mic on his left hand, all toned in magnificent red. Critics complimented the video's final scene where Wayne's painting is depicted, saying that it made the "Mona Lisa look like Dogs Playing Poker". Wayne performs the song during his tours.[1]

Release and production[edit]

"Mirror" was released as the album's sixth and final single. American urban contemporary radios began adding the track to their playlists on September 13, 2011, being released under Young Money, Cash Money and Universal Republic Records.[2] On November 1, 2011, the single was re-released on the same format along with rhythmic contemporary stations, by the latter two labels.[3][4] The song was made available in the United Kingdom via digital download on December 18, 2011.[5]

"Mirror" was produced by REO of the Soundkillers, along with co-production by The Smeezingtons. It was written by Dwayne Carter, Peter Hernandez, Philip Lawrence and Ramon Owen. The song was recorded by Michael "Banger" Cadahia and his assistant Edward "Jewfro" Lidow at CMR South Studios in Miami, Florida. It was mixed at the Record Plant by Fabian Marascuillo, while Ghazi Hourani served as the mixing assistant. Brian "Big Bass" Gardner mastered the recording at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.[6]

Background and lawsuit[edit]

Ramon "REO" Owen created the instrumental three years before being included on Tha Carter IV. The producer along with the help of Mike Caren, Atlantic Records A&R, was able to get his recording, which already had Bruno Mars on the hook, being heard by industry "heavy-hitters". Due to this, the rappers Kanye West, Drake and Nas heard the track but, eventually, reject it. Lil Wayne liked the track and decided to keep it. Nevertheless, initially "REO" wanted the track to be a part of West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), however, having to "settle" for Wayne's Tha Carter IV, he felt lucky due to the amount of material that is recorded during the time the album gets produced. Owen claimed he produced the track solely with The Smeezingtons as co-writers, and unlike he said, the liner notes on the CD also credited the team as co-producers. "REO" affirmed that Wayne's verses captured the feeling of the song.[7] The track leaked on August 25, 2011.[8]

In late 2014, Ramon "REO" Owen filed a lawsuit against Wayne, since the latter sent a statement promising Owen at least $91,000 for his work on the song. According to the lawsuit, Owen never received his payment.[9]


"Mirror" is a hip-hop and rap ballad.[5][10][11] It is composed in the key of F Minor and 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.[12] Its instrumental has been described as "an eerie wail in the background and a smothered kick-and snare-drum pattern".[7] This can be noticed due to its tripped-down production and melancholy harmonies, echoing and somber beats.[5][13][14] Rap-Up noticed the resemblance between the structure of "Mirror" and "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil, which also features Bruno Mars.[14]

The track has been described as "heartfelt", intimate, eerie and dark.[11][15][16] 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."[5][7][13] The latter throughout this song not only showed his "warped, troubled mind", but also his softer side by rapping about his father.[14][15][17] Overall, Wayne reflects on past choices and also his life.[18] 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."[14][17] Idolator's Becky Bain found similarities between Wayne's single "How to Love" from the same album due to its "introspective, sad and sweet" lyrics.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

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."[5] 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" that allows the listener to understand. Slavik also complemented Mars "moving" hook, he dubbed the single as Wayne's new "take your lighters at stadium anthem."[16] Billboard's Joe DeAndrea commented that the track was not only among the best material by Lil Wayne, but also the vocals on the hook provided by Mars are quite "smooth".[19] Another crtiftic for Billboard, Maria Sherman, praised Mars' hook, calling it "cinematic".[20] When reviewing the album, Omar Burguess from HipHopDX praised Wayne for "pushing the envelope" with "Mirror" for being a concept track.[21]

Conversely, brookencool of Complex included the track on his list of "The 10 Worst Lil Wayne Songs", due to Wayne's and Mars' vocals sounding "forced and pieced together", and deemed the collaboration ineffective. Moreover, the critic found the song's reflective lyrics regarding Wayne's past and mistakes shallow compared to Wayne's "All By Myself".[18]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "Mirror" debuted at number 16, its peak, on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number six in 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.[22] The single peaked at number 22 and 25 at the Billboard Rhythmic Songs and Hot Rap Songs, respectively.[23][24] It was certified Platinum by the RIAA, for sales of over 1 million copies.[25] "Mirror" peaked at number 46 on the Canadian Hot 100.[26] In Australia the song peaked at number 26, while it peaked at number 12 on the Australia Urban single charts.[27][28] "Mirror" was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), with 70,000 copies sold.[29]

In Europe, "Mirror" debuted at number 12 on the Danish charts, it spent 10 weeks in the charts.[30] Nevertheless, IFPI Denmark certified it twice Platinum due to its streaming numbers being equivalent to 200,000 copies and was certified Gold for selling over 15,000 copies.[31][32] The recording debuted at number 47 on February 18, 2012. It eventually reached its peak at number 11 on April 7, 2012.[33] In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at 91 on the chart and peaked at number 17.[34] It was certified Silver by the BPI for over 200,000 certified units.[35] In the Dutch Top 40 charts, "Mirror" peaked at number 12.[36] The song managed to peak at number 13 and 15 in Slovakia and Switzerland, respectively.[37][38]

Music video[edit]

Background and development[edit]

Antoine Fuqua directed the video for "Mirror".

The filming for the "Mirror" music video took place in November 2011.[39] It was directed by Antoine Fuqua and the visual effects were created by GloriaFX. The latter was responsible for the painting and appearance and disappearance effects and many others.[40] A teaser of the music video was released onto YouTube by VEVO on January 27, 2012, with the full length video premiering on VEVO's official website on January 31, 2012.[41][42]


The video begins with a shirtless Wayne rapping to the song in a dimly-lit workshop, while the camera pictures various close-ups of his intricate tattoos.[42][10][20] As the chorus starts, Wayne is shown painting the room red while Bruno Mars sings while seated on the top of a ladder, intercut with shots of him standing up.[10][43][42] Wayne is also shown throwing red paint on the wall to form some sort of unknown picture.[20] The rest of the video focuses on Wayne blasting red, black and white paint all over the place and solo scenes show his charisma thought facial language.[10][42] The bridge starts with Wayne doing the sign of the cross, before applying final touches to his painting. It is finally revealed that the painting was none other than Wayne himself crucified on the cross, while holding a mic on his left hand, with a rather convoluted background of a face, clouds and lightning, all toned in magnificent red.[10][42][44] Wayne and Mars stare at the formers masterpiece as the video comes to an end.[43]


Gregory Adams of Exclaim! complimented Wayne's final painting and called the rapper's video a "bizarre art world exploration".[10] AXS's Natalie Kuchik stated that the video was simple when comparing to the rest of Wayne's videography. Kuchik praised the way the music video was shot and Antoine Fuqua's direction.[42] Chris Coplan from Consequence of Sound said that the final scene made the "Mona Lisa look like Dogs Playing Poker."[43]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording and mixing
  • Recorded at CMR South Studios in Miami, Florida; mixed at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California; mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Tha Carter IV (Deluxe Edition), Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records and Universal Republic Records[6]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
United States September 13, 2011 Urban contemporary
  • Young Money
  • Cash Money
  • Universal Republic
November 1, 2011 Rhythmic contemporary
  • Cash Money
  • Universal Republic
Urban contemporary [3]
United Kingdom December 18, 2011 Digital download N/A [5]


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  2. ^ a b "Urban/UAC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "®R&R :: Going For Adds™ :: Urban". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "FMQB: Lil Wayne ft. Bruno Mars Mirror". FMQB. October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
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  9. ^ Robertson, Iyana (October 7, 2014). "Lil Wayne Is Being Sued Again...This Time Over His Single, "Mirror"". Vibe. Retrieved June 4, 2018. 
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  11. ^ a b Joseph, Matt. "Lil Wayne And Bruno Mars Take A Look In The Mirror With New Music Video". We Got This Covered. Retrieved June 4, 2018. 
  12. ^ "Lil Wayne and Bruno Mars - "Mirror" Sheet Music (Digital Download)". Musicnotes. Retrieved June 4, 2018. 
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  14. ^ a b c d "New Music: Lil Wayne ft. Bruno Mars – "Mirror"". Rap-Up. August 25, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
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  27. ^ a b " – Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars – Mirror". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
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  30. ^ a b " – Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars – Mirror". Tracklisten. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
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  32. ^ a b "Certificeringer |" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
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