5 Things Lil Wayne Needs To Make "Dedication 4" A Classic
First, the good news: Lil Wayne is releasing a new mixtape, Dedication 4, next month. Now, the bad news: It's not 2007 anymore, so we have absolutely no idea how good that mixtape will be.
We don't necessarily mean that as a slight against Wayne, either. While it'd be easy for us to sit here and bash him for putting out mixtapes like Dedication 3 and Sorry 4 The Wait in recent years that, truth be told, didn't come close to matching the greatness of some of his early mixtapes like Dedication 2 and Da Drought 3, we understand why he's struggled a bit. The guy has put out a massive amount of music over the years, and it'd be damn near impossible for him to match the energy and intensity that he had on his early projects. But, we also have to temper our excitement for a new Weezy project—even if it is part of his Dedication series with DJ Drama—when we think back and remember that it's been almost three years since he released a mixtape project in No Ceilings that we really loved front to back. Three years!
No worries, though. To help him achieve greatness again, we've got a list of the 5 Things Lil Wayne Needs To Do To Make Dedication 4 A Success. If he can do even one or two of these things, he'll have a solid mixtape on his hands. If he can nail all five? Well, he might just be able to regain the buzz that he had going for him a few years ago. Either way, we can't wait to hear what he's got in store for us.
1. Pick beats that haven't been ripped to shreds by 50 other rappers already.
This is difficult to do, because nowadays, every popular song that a rapper puts out gets jacked by 50 other rappers. But, on Sorry 4 The Wait, Wayne selected "Tupac Back," "Marvin's Room," "Racks," and a few R&B songs ("My Last" and "Run The World") that we'd heard 500 kazillion times on the radio just prior to the mixtape dropping. By comparison, "No Ceilings" found him ripping "Swag Surf," borrowing Dorrough's "Ice Cream," and dipping into the archives for "Banned From T.V." Those beats hadn't been touched quite as often, so he was successful in bringing them to life and then subsequently killing them. With that in mind, we sincerely hope he doesn't just pick the super obvious beats for Dedication 4. That'd be a crucial mistake.
2. Rap like you actually have something to prove.
No Ceilings was truly a treat. When Wayne put that out, he didn't have to sound as hungry as he did. We wouldn't have blamed him for coasting through it. But, on Sorry 4 The Wait, Wayne sounded (at times!) like he was just trying to record something, hell, anything to hold fans over. On Dedication 4, we hope he takes the time to put forth his best effort, no matter what it takes. This is a defining moment for him and we want to hear him sound like he's hungry to reclaim his throne.
3. Rap so hard that you actually have to catch your breath on some tracks.
No, really. RAP! Rap for three, five, 10 minutes at a time. Go so hard that you actually have to stop on a track and catch your breath…and then keep going. Wayne sounded a little bit too comfortable at times on Sorry 4 The Wait—like we were just supposed to sit there and think that what he was saying was dope just because he's Lil Wayne. But, the truth is that Wayne got so popular back in the mid-2000s because he just rapped and rapped and rapped some more until people felt what he was saying. He needs that kind of dedication on Dedication 4.
4. Record more than 12 tracks for the project. How about, like, 25?
Okay, so 25 new tracks from Lil Wayne might be a stretch (although, for the record, that's how many tracks Dedication 2 had on it!). We're not even sure we've got the time to sit and listen to all of that. But, 12 tracks seemed like almost nothing on Sorry 4 The Wait. When you take into account the fact that about half of those tracks were released before the mixtape even dropped, we were completely underwhelmed when we heard the entire project in its entirety. Plus, it's been awhile since we've heard Wayne really go in. Now is the time.
5. Include a few interludes and talk some serious $&%^ on them!
Normally, we wouldn't advocate an artist putting more interludes on a mixtape. But, in this instance, we'll do it because Wayne's interludes on mixtapes always make him feel like he's super involved in the project and really trying to make an impression on the listener. Dedication 2 had Wayne talking all over the place and it really added to the mixtape's impact. Drama shouldn't be the only one talking shit, Wayne. If you're gonna stand behind this project, stand behind it with your words and say so all over the mixtape. It'll help make this mixtape an important moment in your career.