Monday, December 1, 2008
Lil Wayne "Dedication 3" or "The Reincarnation"
Lil Wayne has used the mixtape as a tool that has got a large portion of people quick to claim he is the greatest rapper alive. He has skill and his passion and love for this culture is without a doubt as serious as anyone, but he still makes music for the masses and too often that means music of the moment - try giving The Carter III a listen right now, I think you might be unpleasantly suprised at how old it already feels, or maybe that is just me. Perhaps this is why he keeps the mixtapes steadily streaming out? Just after reteaming with DJ Drama for the third volume of their succesful Dedication series Tapemasters Inc. dropped off The Drought Is Over Pt. 6: The Reincarnation, which one should you be listening too?
Everyone knows the old cliche "if it ain't broke don't fix it." The Dedication volumes one and two were largly solo affairs (this is based on my memory of them, looking at a tracklist I see that guests were present) that felt like coheisive projects, for volume three almost every track has at least one guest many with multiple emcees - most from the Young Money Entertainment roster. It's not that they are weak, Jae Millz, La The Darkman, Willie the Kid and even the guy Gutta Gutta all display strong enough skills behind the mic to warrent the oppurtunity to reach the masses but something is missing.
"I Got That Gangster"
Maybe it's chemistry, maybe it's the difference in styles or maybe it was just laziness from all involved. Regardless, The Dedication 3 leaves you wanting more. They open the tape up well enough with a posse going in over "The Art of Storytelling Pt. 4" instrumental where Wayne makes it know that you are listening to "just a mixtape" getting his best T Pain impression on. Gutta Gutta stands out the most here, although Wayne doesn't dissapoint.
"The Art of Storytelling Pt. 4"
From here it is all pretty downhill from lacking guest spots to beats that are boring. I'm not up on my southern club hop game so I could be mistaken, but most of these I think are originals and while they are slightly heavy on basslines and cheap synths they rarely match even the most minimal of standards a rapper of Wayne's caliber should be found on, especially compared to what he is rocking on The Reincarnation.
When the beats do work it's generally to positive results. Although Wayne is a southern emcee he sounds far better to me over more east coast inspired beats and we are treated to a few of these here. "I Got That Gangsta" sees La The Darkman and Willie The Kid both deliver impressive verses over a laid back South meets West styled beat. On "The Other Side" we hear a thumping banger filled with a minimal sound allowing the 808s to emphasize Wayne, Jae Millz, Gutta Gutta and La The Darkman lines. And on "Whoever You Like" the Young Money crew explains who they would like to cut it up with in an amusing and entertaining take on the T.I. hit.
"Whoever You Like"
This makes it a little less disapointing seeing it included on The Reincarnation, although it seems odd they would with the two tapes dropping so close to eachother. Whatever, it's won't matter once you have heard the tape in full as it easily tops The Dedication 3 in multiple categories.
The first thing to make you aware of as you enter The Drought is Over Pt. 6 is that the guest problem is not an issue here. Instead we are treated to a number of solo cuts and a few key collaborations along with select Young Money appearences. One of the more interesting ones comes from Curren$y on the Swizz Beatz produced "First Place Winner." Over a classic Swizz joint we hear them explain why they are the best, but if you are familiar with Curren$y you'll know why it's worth checking and Mack Maine delivers a suprisingly dope verse as well just to finish it off strong.
"First Place Winner"
This Swizz joint isn't the only example of top shelf beats here however. Diesel hooks up one of the greatest beats I've ever heard for "Best Thing Yet" - utilizing a great R&B sample and silence like you would normally hear coming from a Jazz band, this is a cut that lends credence to Weezy's claims. "Street Life" is another great beat that has left me feeling mixed about Wayne's performace - his closing line is fresh though.
"Best Thing Yet"
A few other repeats from The Dedication 3 show up here and there, but never the worst that disc had to offer. Tapemasters Inc. is guilty of stamping the hell out of their tracks which is as annoying as it is ignorable, but they get the hot exclusives so you can't be too mad at it. Maybe these tracks were stolen from Wayne's lab, but I'm thinking he is assiting in their leakage and here we get yet another little taste of he and Game together this time with them celebrating that "Red Magic" over a sparkling beat you will be certain to run back and turn up.
The middle may sag a bit thanks to some short one verse songs and beats that sink close to the lows we saw on the Drama tape, but as a whole The Reincarnation has an overall cohesion missing from The Dedication 3. Maybe Wayne jinxed himself when he turned his back on Drama after the raids or maybe the sryup is getting the best of him - whatever it is he might want to remember what made him.