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Live Review

Drake and Lil Wayne Stage a Head-to-Head Battle in Queens

August 20, 2014

So ends a summer in which the three biggest hip-hop tours doubled as premises for future slash fiction shorts. Beyoncé and Jay Z have been acting out their scenes from a troubled marriage in arenas across the country. Eminem and Rihanna brought...

Song Review

"Senile"

March 7, 2014

This track from Young Money compilation Rise of an Empire is imperious indeed – Minaj brags, "All these rappers is my sons, and I'm always nine months," and Weezy tells us he can "make a lion say, 'Meow.'" Yet it's D.A. Doman's slippery, spooky...

Album Review

Dedication 4

September 10, 2012

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...

Album Review

Tha Carter IV

August 29, 2011

You have to admit, it's been a minute since Lil Wayne had a chance to sound crazy. That wasn't a problem back in his madcap creative outburst of 2006 and 2007. For sheer intensity, you could only compare Wayne to the young Bob Dylan, firing out brilliant...

Album Review

Sorry 4 The Wait

July 18, 2011

No apologies needed, Weezy. As a teaser while he puts the finishing touches on Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne's new mixtape is the kind of freestyle quickie that put him on top back in 2006 and 2007, when he'd bang out Da Drought sequels so fast, we'd hear...

Song Review

"Ballin'"

May 6, 2011

Jeezy's last album was called The Recession. On his new single, the recovery is in full swing: "I'm on them Diddys, spendin' dirty money," he raps over a razor-sharp beat. Not to be out-balled, Weezy offers, "So many cars, I'm like, 'Eenie-meenie-minie-moe'/So...

Song Review

"Roman's Revenge"

February 3, 2011

Weezy leaps on the craziest track from his protégé's Pink Friday LP, an alter-ego spaz-out set over little more than bowed bass and skeletal percussion. Supplanting Eminem's bilious verses on the original version, Wayne sounds breathless,...

Album Review

I Am Not a Human Being

September 29, 2010

What'd you expect, At Folsom Prison? Lil Wayne has released his eighth studio album while still incarcerated on New York's Rikers Island, serving the final weeks of a sentence for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. But gritty jailhouse music this...

Song Review

"Swagga Like Us"

October 2, 2008

This late entry for hip-hop anthem of the summer (slated for T.I.'s new album) comes down to a four-way braggadocio battle – and with a beat this hooky, everybody wins. Still, Kanye West scores the best lines, including the succinct instant classics...

Album Review

Tha Carter II

November 28, 2005

Of all the Cash Money MC's who blew up in the Nineties, Lil Wayne has grown the most — understandably so, since he was just sixteen when he released his debut in 1999. Wayne's fifth album finds him in excellent lyrical command, whether he's dropping...

Album Review

Lights Out

February 1, 2001

Eighteen-year-old Lil' Wayne, one of B.G.'s fellow Hot Boys (along with Juvenile and Young Turk), has followed up his blinging '99 debut, Tha Block Is Hot, with Lights Out. Mannie Fresh is at the board once again, and the beats here are staccato and jittery,...

Album Review

I Am Not a Human Being II

March 22, 2013

OK, fine, Lil Wayne isn't a human being. But is he a rapper? Last summer, Weezy said that rap had become "boring," and he's made noises about quitting music to concentrate on his new love, skateboarding. He's also made headlines for all kinds of extra-musical...

Song Review

“Roman Reloaded”

March 23, 2012

The rapper Nicki Minaj: Remember her? Lately, Minaj has been making generic pop-diva moves, cutting a swath across red carpets and releasing bland club music (see "Starships"). "Roman Reloaded" is a welcome reversion: This is Minaj in her furiously witty...

Song Review

"She Will"

August 15, 2011

The latest leak from the forthcoming Carter IV is a case of the mentor (Lil Wayne) trying on the style of the protege (Drake). "She Will" is emo-rap, a moody ode to a loose woman, complete with a brooding beat by T-Minus and plaintive chorus rap-crooned...

Song Review

"How to Love"

June 3, 2011

How to love? Lil Wayne has a theory. You grab an acoustic guitar. You toss in some strings. You rap a little, sing a little, whisper sweet nothings: "I admire your poppin' bottles and dippin'/Just as much as you admire bartendin' and strippin'." This...

Song Review

I'm Into You

April 15, 2011

A muy romantico chorus; a guest rap by Lil Wayne; a lithesome beat pitched somewhere between Puerto Rican reggaeton and Jamaican dancehall, cooked up by can't-miss hitmakers Stargate. "I'm Into You" should be a hot summer single. But the lyrics are painfully...

Song Review

"6 Foot 7 Foot"

December 23, 2010

Wayne's first post-prison single (which he cut for Tha Carter IV) suggests his teeming brain was eating itself during all that time alone: Rarely has the man sounded so virtuosically loopy. Over thick synth burble and a "Banana Boat Song" sample, he makes...

Song Review

"Light Up (Rikers Remix)"

June 28, 2010

A song about how hard it is to keep the world partying when you feel like dying inside, 'Light Up' was already one of the more poignant tracks on Drake's Thank Me Later. Jay-Z's cameo was note-perfect ('I'm not as cool with niggas as I once was'). But...

Album Review

Tha Carter III

June 26, 2008

OK, it's true: he really is the best rapper alive. Lil Wayne made that claim on his last official CD, in 2005, and since then, he's unleashed an astonishing torrent of mixtapes, leaks and guest appearances to backup the boast. So his long-anticipated...

Album Review

Tha Carter

August 5, 2004

Most of Wayne's fourth album is filler that Lil Jon has made obsolete, but on more than a handful of tracks, Mannie Fresh's beats jump like they used to and Wayne's syrupy drawl sounds more dextrous than ever.  

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