It's a question that has been lingering in my brain for the past year and a topic that a few music sources has covered, but I felt I needed to get my thoughts out about this. It hasn't been too difficult to tell that since Tha Carter III, the New Orleans rapper has seemed to musically decline. Now, of course he still sells out venues, downloads temporary shut sites down, and the man is still making cake. Yet, if you are like me you do not listen to much of his new shit, maybe just plain annoyed anytime the name "Lil Wayne" appears, or let out a heavy sigh an wonder what the fuck happened to your favorite rapper. He was mine from 2004 to roughly 2009, then I could barely stand him. I'm slowly coming around to some of his music again, but what had caused these feelings? I know I certainly was not the only one based on friends, music sites, magazines, and fellow bloggers.
Weezy Overload: After Lil' Wayne dropped the Tha Carter II, the rapper was beginning to take over the music world. I don't mean just become popular, I mean literally take the fuck over. All the best tracks he was featured on, all the best mixtapes that came out were from him, and every kid to college aged student was bumping Lil' Wayne. Hell, your mom was probably bumpin' Lil Wayne. For me, 2006-2008 were the biggest years of playing his music over and over, to the point where I could rap it from beginning to end. Almost everyday logging onto Facebook, someone was sharing a Weezy track or quoting him. Yet, after so many years of that, I think people grew tired of it. While being featured all over the place constantly helped grow Lil' Wayne to become the rap icon he is, it also caused a complete overload where people became irritated with the music. However, if you are making good music then why would fans become annoyed? That brings me into my next point...
Lack of Substance: Now by substance, I mean what he raps about not the drugs he used to take (Although a lack of Mary J and syrup probably stopped some of his more outrageous bars). I do get that it probably is not the easiest thing to be in the rap game as long as Lil' Wayne and consistently keep the material fresh, but after listening to Dedication 4, it felt like most of everything he rapped has been done before -- a few times. It's not to say there aren't some good jams on the latest tape, but you feel like there is a lack of creativity or drive to think of something worth talking about.
New Passions: It's true that I think most emcees need other passions in their lives besides music, whether it be clothing, businesses, restaurants, etc. It's the best form of escape and clarity I think for artists, which can lead to better music in the future. Yet, for Lil' Wayne it seems the only passion he cares about is Skateboarding and TrukFit, his apparel company. Again, nothing wrong with doing something different, but I feel if this is his focus, then he should take a nice break from anything music related for awhile and go with the flow. Wayne still wants to make music, but only half is attention is on it and people are noticing it in the lyrics. True, he hasn't always had the most profound lyrics in each song, but damn do I miss some of his old mixtape rhymes.
So the question is, how can Lil' Wayne reclaim old fans? I think he honestly needs to take a long break from releasing anything or being featured in any track. He has been doing this since he was a pre-teen and as he approaches 30, I say he needs rest from music. That, and he needs some new inspiration in his life, something that will spark some new lyrics and subject matter. I think he has a lot on his plate with his projects and of course artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj, but no one can take away his accomplishments so far, but something needs to change. What do you think about the current Lil' Wayne? Does he need a break or is there something else he should be doing?