D6: RELOADED (Lil Wayne)

In short: More of the same.

In long: Yes, basically everything I wrote regarding the first iteration of Lil Wayne’s Dedication 6 also applies to this “Reloaded” edition, which adds 20 songs and 90 minutes to the first’s 15 tracks over 60 minutes (both are available to download totally gratis here). But how can you not appreciate one of the most important rappers of all time dropping his wily rhymes over the most popular beats of the last few months, in the process demonstrating his seemingly unlimited range?

I guess noting a personal caveat is necessary here: nostalgia might explain my ardent enjoyment of Lil Wayne’s endlessly flowing wordplay — who doesn’t seek out experiences that remind them what (or, in this case, who) first expanded their love of a particular art form, thus making us all feel young? In other words, he just brings me back to my high school days when I was first tipping my toes into the tidal waves of rap.

My only real gripe with the album on a musical level, and it’s a minor one: Why would Weezy mess with the beat for Blac Youngsta’s “Booty”? If it ain’t broke, don’t remix such perfect fire. But for the most part, Wayne’s revisions serve as a sort of perversely brilliant commentary on the original songs. Two examples:

The line “More money, more Prada” exhibits an awareness that though new money does indeed cause problems that weren’t there before, most people with means worry only about what to spend their moolah on, and how much Prada they really want to buy. The vast majority of people on Earth would kill for those problems, which they wouldn’t even consider problems at all.

And turning Lil Pump‘s “Gucci Gang” into “Groupie Gang” reaffirms that though rappers are superficially referencing the fancy-shmancy designer brand to flaunt their financial success when they use the word Gucci, it also often doubles for coochie as well, and we all know the relationship between expensive goods and that good-good.

Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention the spoken word interludes that conclude damn near every track. Wayne waxes poetic in his inimitable style on a range of subjects, musical or otherwise. These fireside chats are crucial in creating the laidback, smoke-sesh vibe that was a signature of these sorts of classic, old-school mixtapes. It’s also just refreshing to hear a rapper comfortable in his own identity, as opposed to all those coming up today who feel like they’re posturing in the name of building a marketable brand.

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