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Lil Wayne Battles Back On His ‘Dedication 5′ Mixtape

There was a time in the late aughts when the thought of Lil Wayne being out of the larger hip-hop conversation for even a short period of time seemed near impossible, but it happened. Lil Wayne wasn’t nominated for any major MTV Video Music Awards or BET Awards this year, and he’s been receding from the spotlight for a bit. These developments prompted his recent apology to fans in a tweet for a below-average year while promising “2 work harder if it kills me.” Unlike nearly every other hip-hop apology this year, something was coming out of it: Dedication 5 was dropping.

Is Dedication 5 Lil Wayne’s big, self-serious reclamation of The Throne? No, but it doesn’t have to be. The project inspired a trending topic while its release date was still up in the air; simple mixtapes don’t do that. Dedication 5—like Lil Wayne’s previous mixtapes—is an event, and the new age epidemic of #FOMO is automatically going to draw in throngs of listeners despite how hated on Lil Wayne is. Consequently, Weezy has to play host. He played the uninterested jester on last year’s fourth entry, and on this edition, he’s a more focused presence aiming to entertain. He does just that on Dedication 5.

Lil Wayne’s verses aren’t necessarily his best, and 29 tracks is still far too many to listen to him speak about the various unsavory ways he handles the female body. The freestyle beat selection is pretty predictable too (save the inclusion of “Cream”), but it’s the way he approaches the beats that help the mixtape feel like a worthwhile listen. He sounds engaged as he freely flows throughout the project, from the morning time exhale of the “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” freestyle to his faux-New Edition crooning on “Thinkin About You.”

For the better part of the mixtape, Lil Wayne is flinging punchlines with glee. He sounds more engaged than he has in recent memory in “Started” with lines like “Brains came out his fucking ear/I got a full clip, I empty the whole thing up in here” and the cold break down of the rules on “Bugatti”: “I gave you dick, you gave me pussy/It’s safe to say it’s an even exchange.” On the other hand, there’s clunkers like “If pussy lips could talk, I’d go down there like it’s whispering” on “New Slaves” and the ill-advised “Had a phone in jail, that’s a cellphone” on “FuckWitMeYouKnowIGotIt.” As mentioned before, there’s a lot of fat here. The latter is less bothersome since it comes in the midst of what’s arguably the best stretch of Dedication 5. From “FuckWitMeYouKnowIGotIt” to “Cream,” Weezy buckles down and delivers the closest thing he does to blacking out in what feels like years. Lil Wayne threatens in “Cream” but still finds time to drop a pretty screwy Quick Draw McGraw shoutout, while he ends “U.O.E.N.O” with the hilariously incongruous “MLK would be proud of me, cause I do this shit for all my niggas/Her mouth, pussy, or asshole, life is full of hard decisions.”

Lil Wayne is good, but he’s not in the same murder-all-beats mode he was during the Da Drought 3/Dedication 2 era. This leaves room for the guests to get their shine. T.I.’s three guest spots are solid as he glides through his double-time performances, while new Young Money signee Euro shows some promise with his ability to switch up his delivery pattern with ease. But as expected, the best guest spot is Chance The Rapper’s surprise appearance on “You Song,” where he melds accessible melodies with stunning technical prowess. He haphazardly dives in and out concordance with the beat while effortlessly holding it together with impressive rhyming and, most importantly, personality. He manically delivers “You the best bride and I’m the best groom/Wedding presents got my best man at the Best Buy buyin’ the Best of Fresh Prince for the bedroom,” and after cramming in so many words in his lengthened verse, Chance finishes with a hilariously terse “You feel like Kool-Aid in a wine glass.” That’s how you make delays worth it.

Surprisingly, one of the more intriguing moments of Dedication 5 comes in a skit. On one of the final tracks, Lil Wayne is asked if he considers himself a living legend. He doesn’t know, but he concludes by saying being Lil Wayne is “amazing.” Is this just contentment or a positive outlook on things to come, like the entertaining, but flawed Dedication 5 is? Fans could speculate, but it’s much easier to realize how refreshing it is to hear Lil Wayne sounding like he gives a damn. –Brian Josephs (@Bklyn_Rock)

  • JC

    I listened to that lil interlude at the end…hahahah! this dude sound stupid tryna be deep n shit. he said “im not a living legend cus sumtimes legends aren’t true” I laughed my ass off at the review sayin this was the “most intriguing moment” of the tape, shit it’s probably true tho. sorry wayne, u lost it.

    • Alonzo

      It made sense though, what do you mean trying to be deep? He was being honest. If that’s the case any time we respond with something wise or honest it’s trying to be deep?

      He said he doesn’t consider himself a legend because sometimes legends aren’t real… and that’s actually clever and funny, obviously he was joking with that part. And you’re telling me you always felt like you were living? Sometimes things feels like dreams and sometimes you feel like you’re dead – that was his answer for the living part.

      Then he concludes by saying he enjoys being himself which is a very real statement.

  • Itz Whatever

    I guess L means good because if you read the review is sounds like he really likes the mixtape. Am I wrong?

  • Ronald Jack

    It was better than D4 but that’s not saying much. D1 and D2 are still the best in the series. I agree when Charlamagne says Wayne’s style is like AND 1 basketball. It’s fun and exciting the first time you see it but I wouldn’t watch 82 games of it and I wouldn’t want to listen to ten albums/mixtapes of it either.

  • A-Dogg

    Lil Chuckie killed his verse! Reminds me when Wayne use to go in on Fresh’s album and slaughter shit

  • TDEboi

    Yeah D5 wasn’t that great but the way I see it at least he is still doing mixtapes and giving out free music even if its not the best. When’s the last time Drake, HOV, or Yeezy put out a mixtape?

    • Ronald Jack

      Their music is better than Wayne’s in part because they don’t give away tons of free music. I think once an artist reaches a certain level they shouldn’t give away music. What good is it for it to be free if it’s not even memorable?

      • corbin

        that’s why we love him doe.

    • Guest

      Jeezy put out a shit load of mixtapes and he is ass anyway. Nothing but poop bars!!!

      • Hannya

        Yeezy=Kanye West. Wow.

  • Alonzo

    Honestly his best mixtape since 2009′s No Ceilings, and this is better than Dedication 3 and Dedication 4. I loved his ability to story-tell, flow, delivery, and nice overall sound on his You Song verse, ability to just straight up destroy Meek Mill’s “Levels” song with intense flow, rhyme scheme, and lyrics, and the ability to sound like his old self on “Still Got That Rock”, “Cream”, and “Thinkin About You”.

    Also, he literally released a 29-track mixtape to show he’s still got it, or at least aiming to prove he’s willing to get to where he was at again. You realize how HUGE his name is, in Hip Hop and music in general? What other artists are dropping 29 tracks on a mixtape or, better yet, even dropping a mixtape in the first place. Lil Wayne’s work ethic is the biggest I have ever seen in Hip Hop, possibly music in general.

    • Trill Clinton

      You suckin him too hard

    • Tao Magnetic

      No Ceilings was HORRIBLE.

    • mrmotherfuckin

      You realize how HUGE his name is, in Hip Hop and music in general? What other artists are dropping 29 tracks on a mixtape or, better yet, even dropping a mixtape in the first place. lil b……… and hes whack too

      • Prince Gumball

        I was with you till you called the BasedGod whack. #PROTECTLILB

      • Guest

        are those tracks good?…no lol

    • https://soundcloud.com/dabnma Depressed Insomniac

      That dont make it good
      Gucci does that too…it dont mean shit

    • cmack510

      yea he puts out a lot of work but are they good?…no, he hasnt been good to me since carter 2 and we all know how long ago that was

  • Taskforce Taylor

    D4 was better than this shit. His features outshined him.

    • Hmmmm

      If you think D4 was better then I don’t know where you’re mind is cause you gone.

    • Prince Gumball

      “I eat pussy, she suck dick at the same damn time, that’s a 69″

      This is better than D5? Nigga go take a nap.

      • Taskforce Taylor

        go threw all 29 songs and you’ll find poop bars nigga. he got out shined on every feature. PS Nigga you like like lil mama FUCK BOY!!

  • mathew

    okay listen his mixtape is free because he goes on his mixtape and says things he usually wouldnt… if you actualy listened to all 29 you would know that. he does this so that he can have more fun and he cares about his fans he has always said that he gives back to his fans. this mixtape is him doing what he wants. and he is actually good on this mixtape he is just showing us a little something that will be on tha carter 5… which i think will be the best album ever sold. i know wayne and he will make his last album really good before he retires.

  • 300

    On some real shit i dont understand how people hate on wayne so much, i MEAN THAT WAS good solid mixtape. Cream that shit go hard. Wth what this niggga got to do. I think peeps just got tired of him cause he saturated the game with his music, but shit go hard. Lil wayne is a professional shit talker, he aint kendrick lamar or j cole. This cat talk shit with style and

  • 300

    peeps is hating. I mean damn all these lame cats in the game but now all of sudden wayne is the wackest. He got a gift and made hip hop fun and niggaz forgot that.

  • timotimotimo

    being concise is important. 29 tracks is too much, niggaz aint tryna listen to 1 cd for like 2 hours. u killing our attention span.
    seen, drake’s album may just be 13 songs, probably not more than 1hr. perfect.
    im not tryna listen to 29 songs, fuc dat

  • Rae HDvisionary Wiley

    I read all the comments and all yall brothers made good points except Tao Magnetic talkin bout No Ceilings wack…Are you serious? Swag Surf? Run This Town? (juss to name a few) D5 deserves a L and honestly I think his upcoming mixtapes is neva gon get pass that juss on the fact ppl cant get past D1 and 2..Wayne did saturate the game with his free music but it will get a lil better once he takes a HIATUS and let the new generation of spittaz carry the game for a lil while..IF U THINK WAYNE IS RETIRING AFTA CATER V HOLD YOUR BREATH BECAUSE THAT IS JUSS HIS BLACK ALBUM FOR YMCMB.aINT NO TELLIN HOW MANY MIXTAPES HE GON DROP TALKIN BOUT IM BAKK!!…JUSS LIKE JAY CANT JUSS GET OUT THE GAME ITS THE SAME 4 WAYNE CAUSE THATS ALL THEY KNO!!

  • The Truth

    Flatbush Zombies BetterOffDEAD shits all over this mixtape… deserves a review for sure. I will go on a limb and scream “Classic” mixtape…

  • Loc

    D5 suck donkey balls. Pusha T was right. lil wayne should give up on life.

  • CARTERSOSA

    fuck you you niggas talking about it aint even the same times as drought 3 the niggas 30 years old if you cant grow with the artist dont listen he is better than ever yall niggas was a fucking nigga that is no more if you know tune he said “30 years old that a be a different nigga” he killed everyones beat stop the hate