Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Time To Get Excited About Lil Wayne Again

Remember this?

And yeah I’m a bear like black and white hair, so I’m polar
And they can’t get on my system cause my system is the solar
I am so far from the OHthers, I meant others
I just eat them for supper, get in my spaceship and hover

Phone Home”? Tha Carter III, seven years ago, platinum the week it came out, first time that had happened in three years, new classic, hardly a bad or boring moment, two beats by Kanye, Jay-then-hyphen-Z passing the torch in “Mr. Carter”? No? Remember this instead, then:





Released a year before Tha Carter III,  Da Drought 3 mixtape is still what some hold as the height of the career of one of rap's most unique personas.  In the somewhat nebulous period between the red hot Carter II and the incredibly anticipated sequel, Wayne was dubbing himself "The Best Rapper Alive" and he was pretty right about that.

Go back and listen, I dare you.

Regardless of how you think about him now, the fact of the matter is that at that period Lil Wayne was amazing! Just a few years ago, he really was. He was the most exciting and interesting megawatt musician alive, and he was on fire after three mind-boggling mixtapes. Then Tha Carter III gave way to a weak mixtape, a great mixtape, a gruesome rock record, a tepid, intensely Drake-laden album, and a decent mixtape. Then this happened:





Weezy F. Baby got bored (or stoned, or drained) enough to think he could just flick on the Auto-Tune, sing a shitty pop song, and call it good. From there he was rambling, annoying, and self-mythologizing more with every release, despite the hard reality that the worst part of his career was settling in. The rapper who did Tha Carter III and No Ceilings and the unbelievable aforementioned Da Drought series was gone, and all the new guy was doing was talking about how great he was (mostly at sex instead of rapping, now) anyway. 2013’s I Am Not a Human Being II was a blip — intensely forgettable save for the Future-and-Drake-assisted “Love Me.”

People, being people in the Internet age, were more than happy to write him off.  Refusing to believe that Tha Carter V would ever come out.  Or even if it did, it would land with a thud the way the previous iteration did after the initial sheen of excitement wore off.  

For a while, it seemed like they were right.  It is now mid-January 2015, and it in fact does seem like the next version of Tha Carter might not actually come out.  Cash Money, the label that Wayne helped build and then singlehandedly kept afloat before the megawatt days of Nicki Minaj and Drake, has seemingly, inexplicably turned it's back on it's most stalwart supporter and breadwinner.  With Wayne's most loyal compatriot and self proclaimed "father" Birdman, refusing to release it.  

Wayne once again has found himself at a crossroads of album delays and this time, for the first time, label dramas.  He is stuck, but this time it seems, the lack of comfort has lit a fire again under his dreads.  It's almost as if he finally has time to see what the world really thinks of him, and his catalogue from the last few years.  That he is resigned to do something about it.

Like this:






Do you feel it?  The focus, the fire, the...fun?  It seems like Weezy is enjoying himself, getting back to the roots of what made him want to wow us all by not writing down lyrics anymore.  To not believe he was the best rapper alive but to prove it.  

Next we got this:





From the jump, Drake’s doing that thing he’s always doing on Wayne tracks: building up his boss and staying mostly low-key, unlike his guest verses on literally everyone else’s stuff. Aubrey’s here to sing a boilerplate (but increasingly catchy) hook and to re-canonize Wayne’s greatness. That this is the first instance of Biggest Rapper in the World–era Drake rapping alongside Wayne on a Wayne track somehow encourages you to reconsider Wayne’s powers.

Then Weezy shows up after a suspenseful almost two minutes and zaps any considerations you were working on. He’s just going straight in, bar after bar after bar, spouting that maniac shit you won’t figure out till your dozenth listen. He doesn’t bother us with any gross-out sex-ed vignettes. He mulls matching Ferraris for himself and his daughter. He course-corrects the word sayonara to sayanOra. He drops a lot of aggressively random one-liners I won’t reprint because they’ll seem ridiculous typed out, but trust me, they’re great.
Once again he is poised to release another mixtape to fill the void of the anticipation between his magnum opus series.  This time Sorry for The Wait 2 is dropping on this Tuesday, and for the first time in a long time, it is more than likely gonna be more than worth listening to.  Especially after just yesterday, this appeared:






Yes that is Wayne on iLoveMakkonen's "Maneuvering" beat.  Yes it is a straight knocker.  Yes, Wayne...Lil Wayne...is dropping stuff like:

Tunechi in this bitch, I'm tighter than a pinched nerve, bitch
I didn't answer my phone, I said I couldn't get service
My new nina just told me that she sick of being a virgin

I bet my life when we gamble, y'all shippin' keys
We shippin' grand pianos, I'm in that Lam Diablo
Pew like ammo, I'm gone, two fingers up bitch I'm gone
Rich forever Jerry Jones, I gotta hustle

He's referencing old Redman lines (grand pianos...), he's shouting out old Juvenile, he's dropping super goofball lines (sleeping on chinchilla, boy I'm cozy like a furball).  It's excitement from the man who many had thought ceased to be exciting.  It's cleverness where it seemed apathy only dwelled.  Most of all, it's lively, and actually...fun.

Don't take my word for it though, he will tell you himself: Gotta let em know that Lil Tunechi is still Tunechi bitch!


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