Dedication 4

This summer, Lil Wayne told a radio station that rap had become "boring," and that he prefers to spend time on his skateboard. Yet on much of this mixtape, he sounds less bored than he has in years, drawling filthy, funny rhymes over beats borrowed from Rick Ross, 2 Chainz and more. He's not the dadaist magician of six years ago, when his rhymes mixed Afro-futurism, gangsta tough talk and whatever else struck his fancy; he's now content to reel off punch lines, mostly about oral sex. But he's still got a flow that's like no one else's. When roused by witty company (Nicki Minaj on "Mercy," J. Cole on "Green Ranger"), he sounds like the greatest rapper ever to dream of competing in the X Games.

Listen to 'Dedication 4':

From The Archives Issue 1166: September 27, 2012