Day 155: "Weezie F Baby" – The Dedication , 2005
Have you ever wondered why Lil Wayne's so-called mixtape run is considered to be so great? Of course you haven't; you listened to like 14 seconds of "I Can't Feel My Face" and could no longer feel your face or remember your original question. But in case you ever had, consider this:
Last night, Future announced his second album in two weeks. Everyone flipped out because the first of those two albums, FUTURE, was already a pretty great release, and now we have to process even more greatness before the ink on last week's charts is even dry. It's crazy! Who does that? You can't just release two albums a week apart, can you? Certainly not if you want people to care, right? How good of a rapper would you have to be to crank out work at that rate and keep people engaged?
Great questions, all. Now, imagine it's 2005, and you have to drive to the record store and buy a CD to listen to the new album from your favorite artist instead of being able to stream that album the second it's released. Imagine that album is Tha Carter II, the album that proved Lil Wayne was coming for rap's throne. And then imagine that Lil Wayne released another classic just a week later. Oh wait, you don't have to imagine: That's exactly what Wayne did.
The Dedication came out just a week after Tha Carter II, spitting in the face of conventional wisdom that said you probably shouldn't release a body of work for free at the same time you are trying to get people to buy a body of work for money. But the joke was on the conventionally wise people because not only did Lil Wayne's album go platinum but his mixtape broke through in a way that put both him and the Gangsta Grillz series on the map in an unprecedented way. Suddenly Wayne was the best rapper alive and living proof that a mixtape could elevate your profile as much as an album. Fans took note. The historical record speaks for itself.
For proof, look at some of the lines on this song right here! Wayne just laconically spits stuff like "the judge probably hit me with an algebraic expression / but I get away free like Ocean's Eleven" and "this stunt shit is extensive and intense like pulling up in something Americans can't invent." The fact that dude released an album with "Money on My Mind" and then one where he rambles internal rhyme schemes over an 8 Ball and MJG song is, quite frankly, incredible. So is there a precedent for Future? Yes. Is it an extremely good precedent? Also yes. Can Future pull his own history-defining moves? Let's hope!
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