It's been said. I didn't want to believe it then. But let's just admit it. The Carter III can't possibly live up to expectations. And for those of you just joining us, I am speaking as a fan. If Wayne is/was not the best rapper alive he's certainly proven to be the most effective. Dude is pretty much single handedly responsible for anyone under the age of 17 still caring about rap (in form, not fashion). And suddenly he seems to be the indifferent one.

The songs that have been allegedly leaking from Carter III have been entirely uneventful. Sure the T-Pain-on-quaaludes single "Lollipop" is the easy target here, but I'm more concerned with the leaked tracks he has been rapping on - namely "Lisa Marie" and "A Milli." It's not that the rapping is bad, per se. It's just a far cry from what he's capable of. Last year Young Fennessey compiled dudes 77 best verses from '07. I'd be hard pressed to come up with 8 from the last four months. He's been riding auto tune auto pilot, getting outshined by his weed carriers and clones, and generally phoning in his verses. Wayne has always spit punchlines but only recently has he been reduced to just a punchline rapper. Where is the emotional intensity of "Trouble" or the sheer technical madness of "Maneater"? And it doesn't help that most of the production he's been rapping over is just completely generic. The kind of Motif preset moves that myspace beatsmiths submit for in videos. Wasn't Kanye supposed to be exec. producing this album? Say what you will about that guy, but he definitely knows a thing or two about individuality of production.

This burn out is not unexpected, few great rappers make it beyond a couple years of greatness. And if you count his unfairly underrated early days at Cash Money (which you probably should), Wayne's been pretty great for a lot longer than that. It just would be a shame if his renaissance was left intangible and albumless. Then again, we may have reached the point where great rappers are not allowed to release albums at all. So Wayne actually remains on the cutting edge by not releasing a masterful album. The same way I'm ahead of the curve in predicting the whimsical blogger backlash yet to come. Ya dig?