Lil Wayne’s latest project, released exclusively on TIDAL, was designed to placate Weezy fans in the prolonged absence of the fifth instalment of his series, Tha Carter V. The question is though, has the whole kerfuffle regarding his Cash Money lawsuits affected Weezy’s artistry for the worse?
In no uncertain terms: it hasn’t. While some of Weezy’s most recent work has been questionable at best (I’m looking at you, I Am Not a Human Being II) but here you can feel his evolution all the way through his Tha Carter series; his Dedication mixtapes, namely 3 and 5; his No Ceilings mixtape; and definitely his Sorry For the Wait II tape; meaning this new album boasts some of the very best of Lil Wayne from any of his blockbuster tapes.
Opening with the previously released single ‘Glory’, it is immediately obvious that the album represents the best of Wayne: he is in a lyrical prime, with each bar being filled with some sort of greatness that puts you on for the rest of the tape. The production exists on a similar level to the lyrics in this here opening track, for instance it opens with a mixture of a holy sounding chorus, and a beat that could be easily confused with audible fire that seamlessly brings Wayne to the forefront with a bang. The opening lyric of the track, “this that sh*t they didn’t want me on”, is telling of how the difficulty with his Cash Money label has led to his renaissance. Many a Twitter user commented on how his album was cancelled due to it being trash, a la I Am Not A Human Being II (which was seriously trash), and it seems that this criticism has led to him putting in overtime in the studio. As such, this track brings in the album with 5 verses of fire.
The album continues along this vein, with ‘He’s Dead’ carrying more jabs for Birdman and Cash Money. However, as we get to track 4 and ‘My Heart Races On’, we see a switch up in Wayne’s flow, and the music is slower, softer, with more feels. The Jake Troth feature provides a good counterbalance to Weezy’s wheezy voice and again, the production is on point — a point that I found difficult to disagree with across all 15 tracks of the album. The next stand out song is immediately after this one, in ‘London Roads.’ Again, it features a slower, softer Lil Wayne, which really emphasizes his versatility, if his rock albums didn’t already do that. The last bar or so of the song is what really speaks to me: he remembers the time where he was near death in his youth, and was saved by a police officer. It tells me that Wayne is someone that has seen quite a lot during his life, especially in music after being in the industry for 17 years or so. It is common for some to lose their edge, but the album shows that he really hasn’t. Another standout track is ‘Post Bail Ballin’’. This track is ridiculously vibey; the combination of a slow siren in the beat topped with some rapid kick drums is crazy, and the switch up in Weezy’s pace combined with his lyricism is insane when laid over this beat.
There is the odd forgettable track or two regrettably, such as ‘Living Right’ featuring Wiz Khalifa, but overall the album comfortably represents a return to form for Lil Wayne; and in a year when there’s been a metric tonne of rap records drop – this will doubtless be in my top ten of them by the time December comes.
Shaun is currently listening to ‘Now’ by Future (but recommends the whole 56 Nights tape)