Writing about Emimen and Lil Wayne in the same week — is it the mid-naughts up in here (up in here)?!
Whereas I previously somewhat bemoaned how far Eminem has musically deviated from his heyday, I’m here now to celebrate Lil Wayne’s continued commitment to his Dedication mixtape series.
YES, THAT’S RIGHT. If you — like me — have stopped following the rap scene as much in recent years (I got back on my bullshit in 2017), then you may not know that Weezy just released Dedication 6 (6! Six! SIX! 1 2 3 4 5 6! ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX!). For those unfamiliar with his mixtapes, you should know that they actually deserve the moniker, unlike the vast majority nowadays that basically just double as conventional albums. Lil Wayne approaches the form from a more old-school perspective, with no original material in sight.
Instead, Dedication 6 is exclusively comprised of Wayne putting his sizzurp-stylings on the most popular songs of 2017, which has been his recipe of success for all the Dedications. He’s still got words for days, delivered with that inimitable Weezy flow. Some of the producing might be a bit monotonous, but that’s more a reflection of the unimaginative repetitiveness of (t)rap beats this year. At worst, he can be criticized for his solidly inside-the-box choices.
All of the Dedications stand as a testament to a general trend in hip-hop, which — if my copious listening this past year is a big enough sample size — is definitely true right now: the music is just harder to generate than the lyrics. There are an untold number of quality rappers in the game today, yet so many are hamstrung by standard-at-best producing. In an EDM-influenced musical era, it’s shocking that more rappers don’t copy Lil Wayne’s Dedication formula by lyrically remixing the greatest hits of the moment.