There really has been quite a wait. A two-year one, in fact. That’s how long its been since we’ve gotten a full body of work of other worldly flows, creative life threats, inventive pussy-eating tales, and timely sports references from Lil Wayne.
This certainly doesn’t feel like the case. In fact, since the release of Tha Carter III in early June 2008, Lil Wayne has remained unavoidable in both hip-hop and mainstream worlds, and has since seen his popularity snowball, bolstered by appearances as a featured guest on more than a handful of singles. But in that time frame, his only quintessentially Weezy-esque release was No Ceillings, in late 2009. We Are Young Money was a crew compilation, and neither the rock experiment Rebirth nor the guest heavy I Am Not a Human Being were what Wayne enthusiasts were truly looking for. Enter Sorry 4 The Wait, a No Ceilings, Da Drought 3 style hijacking of beats from the current crop of hit-songs, offered with a fresh Young Money Presidential twist.
The project starts off fittingly, with XXL’s July/August cover subject claiming the most recent “it” beat as his own. The opener finds Weezy bullying the popular Mike Will “Tupac Back” instrumental, proclaiming “Tunechi’s Back,” and trying to prove it by delivering boasts like, “Young wild mothafucka, pop you and a pill/Boy, instead of writin’ raps, you should be writing a will.” Listen to any of the dozens of remixes to the original and it’s clear that it’s actually a task for a rapper to churn out something sub-par over the anthemic production. And while Wayne is certainly not lacking, reinforcing this truth, nor is he able to separate himself as the author of the song’s ultimate remix.
Later, Weezy F’s “Gucci Gucci” is a superior take on Kreayshawn’s surprising original. And in a matter of just a few bars, he sums up the majority of subjects he broaches on Sorry 4 The Wait: “My life is a movie, I got a leading lady/My rooftop drop back like Tom Brady/I got the world in my hands/Skateboard and my Vans/And all my boys stay strapped like we live in Iran.” And there you have it. Women, guns, sports and Wayne being the shit. Add in some partying, and you’re good to go.
And herein lies the primary issue with the mixtape: at times, it gets boring. It’s much of what we’ve come to expect from Mr. Long Hair Don’t Care, in its disjointed, stream-of-consciousness style content and industry favorite beat selection, but it’s just a bit unmoving this time around, as compared to second cousins No Ceilings or Da Drought 3.
That said, most cuts are in fact stellar, and there are limited complete misses on the release. “Marvin’s Room” seems like a failed attempt at recreating the success of “Single.” Couple that with the fact that the versions that have been done already are so strong—from Drake to Chris Brown to JoJo—and the shortcomings of Wayne’s attempt are accentuated. Later, Lil B’s off-kilter flow is particularly unacceptable on an otherwise superb “Grove St. Party.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, mixtape standouts are the slow-building title track, “Sorry 4 The Wait,” and the ominous “Rollin,” on which Weezy flaunts the breadth of his abilities, from his uncanny capacity to ride a beat to his inspired and energetic approach on a track. This is when rap’s biggest rock star is at his finest: dismantling aggressive beats with purpose and flair. The majority of Sorry 4 The Wait reinforces that he’s still capable of doing this, even if it doesn’t exactly live up to classic mixtapes in his catalog. The wait for expected opus Tha Carter IV is still on, but it’ll be a bit easier to pass the time thanks to Sorry 4 The Wait. —Adam Fleischer