G.O.A.T. Components-Lil Wayne
Albums (Classics and numbers)-I revisited Wayne’s place all time after his 2020 release Funeral. It is superb but let’s look at how good it is in context. Funeral is twenty four songs and Carter five is 23. That means from September 2018 to January 2020 he’s released 47 songs. Funeral went #1 which gives him a #1 album in four different decades. Think about it this way: Weezy was born in 1982, His first album was released in 1999(dude was like 16) and went platinum , in fact, every album after that went either platinum or gold until 2015’s Free Weezy Album. Carter 5 went platinum. That is 12 solo studio albums NOT counting mixtapes or Hot Boyz and other group albums. He’s worked himself silly, had the kind of success that changes the culture multiple times and done it all while staying as technically sharp (flow, delivery and wordplay wise) as any new hungry artist. Frankly, both Funeral and Carter five are better than 4:44. Longevity is not just about existing longer than others but about how long you can maintain your own high standards. A whole generation has followed him while he stays in his processes working relentlessly.
Mixtapes-Datpiff.com is the greatest online archive of the mixtape revolution. If you go to the search page on the mobile app, frequently searched artists will pre-populate on the side: 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, but none of them even close to as large and bold as Lil Wayne. His vast collection of mixtapes record a time in his career where he used the chaotic powers in his craft aggressively. When Outkast took on the hip hop world to gain respect for the South they not only had Organized Noize behind them but the entire Dungeon Family. Wayne went platinum at 16 but by 20 the waves had crashed and it was just Baby and him holding Cash Money up. The heart and mind of hip hop was still New York and it didn’t care at all about Wayne. All his successes were novelties. So he started grabbing beats from the radio and savaging them (on Nore’s podcast Drink Champs Wayne said he has never been paid for any of the mixtapes he did), laughing heartily as he created better versions. The best rappers at that time were organized with deep crews ,favorite producers, and million dollar videos (think about Flipmode, Ruff Ryders, Roc-A-Fella) and a shirtless tattooed Louisiana gargoyle laughed at all that like it was a joke. Eventually, he had a tribe that repped him relentlessly while the heads frustratingly asked “But what are his classic albums?!” “Are these even songs?!”
Guest appearances (Hooks and verses)-On Drink Champs Wayne stated that in one year he did twenty six guest verses while also explaining that during tours with Drake they have hook battles where they just sing important hooks and let the crowd noise judge who wins. After that interview I started asking people what their favorite Weezy hooks were and so many of them were on other peoples songs. My Life was a Game song Weezy made a hit. Duffle Bag Boy was a Playaz Circle song that put 2 Chainz on the map and he talks about it that way. No one knows it better than 2 Chainz. Every collaboration Weezy does with Drake he roasts dude. He just has two or three gears he can shift into that you can’t catch. If Drake is Lebron, Weezy is Jordan. Watch the Forever collaboration where Eminem BODIES THE GAAAAMMMMEEE. You can see the work everyone put into their verse. One of Drake’s best hooks and first lines, Kanye comes hard with sex jokes, and Eminem locked himself in the Batcave for weeks cooking up with that verse. Wayne is the only one who feels like he hasn’t changed himself for the occasion, dressed himself up to compete in the market. When they cut to Kanye in the video he has a Michael Jackson Jacket on and is waving himself around to be loved. Just because Eminem said macadamia nuts in a tough voice doesn’t mean he won the song. When they cut to Wayne he’s in a booth with Baby, blowing smoke into the camera. His verse is the best because it’s the only self-assured one, he delivers it rapping into the air with a hand over the shoulder of two different women.
Conclusion- If you compare any traditional top 5 dead or alive name with Wayne they will seem oppositional. Think about Rakim’s stone face against Wayne’s giggling joviality. He belongs in that special substrata of pioneering weirdos like Cam’ron and E-40. He’s offended me A LOT. His mistakes will live on forever as the most insane. Rebirth is my favorite bad album of all time because his level of commitment is amazing. He has no idea it sounds bad and if you tried to convince him he wouldn’t even hear you. A great artist must master the chase. If you don’t chase down your ideas you’ll never know what they could have been. Weezy has legs to catch every single one.