Before Tip left, Paper Trail was his Grammy nominated confessional.
Before Gucci went back to prison, The State vs. Radric Davis was released.
Before Boosie unwillingly became a product of the system, Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz served as his final words as a free man.
Now, with Wayne checking into Rikers today after shooting close to 20 music videos in the last three weeks, Rebirth stands as his last official solo project until late 2010 or early 2011.
Where his rock inspired album may have left his hardcore fans unsatisfied and the Young Money compilation just that, the last “true” Weezy release remains last fall’s No Ceilings. Had this been any other artist, this would have sufficed. For Dr. Carter though, the expectations are a tad different and the bar a little higher. As far as I know, there is no Dedication 4 in the works. And Tha Carter IV isn’t set to drop until 2011. Cue Empire and The Drought series. And get this, he supposedly has “several” records from C4, two of which we already heard of, “Long Awaited” and “30 Minutes To N.O.”
Ask Wayne what he thinks of the series, well, he’s already voiced his opinion years ago.
“This Empire, nigga, I don’t fuck with him. For all deejays I just want you to know that [the diss] was meant for that Empire nigga. I don’t fuck the Empire nigga. The nigga put a CD out on me every month and I couldn’t tell you how none of them niggas look in person…“If you made the Wayne’s World Vol 1-7 then your mama’s a bitch! And if you the Empire nigga, I hope you die twice tomorrow!”
Ask the fans, however, and it’s arguably the most successful “unofficial” mixtape line of all time. Unlike many tapes, these were not filled with previously heard records. The Drought is known for its exclusivity. Some of those records, such as “1000 Degrees” and “Ask Them Hoes,” even went on to become anthems in their own right. Deny it all he wants, but The Drought also played a role in Wayne eventually selling 1.5 million the first week with Tha Carter III. Sure, records were leaked prematurely, but it only helped cultivate the buzz and work ethic we know today.
For the remainder of 2010, expect to see business as usual. The occasional remix and “unreleased” records will litter the Internet. And he’s got plenty of videos in the stash to remind you just how extraordinary his dedication truly is (no pun intended). But when thinking of full length projects, The Drought 7 will be what ultimately serves as his incarcerated soundtrack.
Whether he likes it or not.