I take no joy in saying Lil Wayne fell off.
Proud southerner here. For that reason I’ve listened to Lil Wayne’s music since he debuted with Hot Boys‘ Get It How U Live in 1996. Over the years I’ve closely followed Wayne’s career and progression from 1999′s The Block Is Hot to 2004′s Tha Carter to 2011′s Tha Carter IV, and all the albums and mixtapes in between; and like slews of southern hip-hop heads, we’ve been fans since he was a 15-year-old kid.
Today I listened to “Staring At The World” from his forthcoming I Am Not A Human Being 2 barely able to stomach the auto-tuned screeching chorus or the struggle lyrics. What has happened with Weezy? Trust I’m not one of the music fans who loathes when an artist with a 20 year career evolves. Change is good; it can be great. But whatever change Weezy’s made in the last four years isn’t one that has advanced his style. His verses, songs and albums are getting progressively worse.
Numbers don’t agree with my arguable opinion. And that’s fine. Tha Charter IV sold close to a million copies in the first week while Tha Carter III sold over a milli in its first week. There are few artists of any genre aside from Taylor Swift raking in those kind of numbers. Jay-Z said, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” Sure, the numbers indicate commercial success, but the streets have been talking for awhile about the rapid decline in Wayne’s music. “Staring At The World” is the latest example to be added to the WTF is Wayne doing? archives. This is the same rapper who once declared he’s the “Best rapper alive, since the best rapper retired” with few people challenging him because he was that good. Can anyone name the last exceptional Wayne verse, last great album, last bump-on-repeat mixtape? Verse on Ace Hood‘s “Hustle Hard” remix, Tha Carter II, No Ceilings.
Don’t take this as slander of a writer lamenting that a rapper she’s watched transition from a 15-year-old kid rapping with minimum curse words to the guy who has helped build an empire with Young Money Cash Money Billionaires is now mainstream. This is a plea. Is it too much to ask that Wayne abandon the auto-tune pop records for a few bars that make us care again? The flow he mastered in the 90s can stay in its era. But please, give us something worth listening to, something worth our time to learn every single lyric. Whatever he’s doing right now ain’t it. And that’s coming from a genuine fan.
[Photo: Getty Images]