Dedication 5, the latest entry in Lil Tunechi’s expansive mixtape series, sees the diminutive rapper regaining some of that momentum that has been severely deficient for quite some time. Cast your mind back maybe five or six years, back when rap was a different animal altogether, back to a time when Lil Wayne was widely considered to be the best rapper alive. However, since 2009′s disastrous No Ceilings, the New Orleans mouthpiece has left fans disillusioned, lost, artistically deprived, and wondering just what exactly happened to the once dominant performer.
Back in 2008, unceremoniously, Wayne announced that he was the best rapper out there (in his defence, he seemed to possess the catalogue and the creative fluidity to back up this audacious claim), though largely due to recent health issues, Wayne’s credibility as a respected rapper has become almost nonexistent.
This mixtape is probably the least lazy thing Weezy has produced in years, but that isn’t saying much when you consider his artistic productivity so far this decade. With lyrical outbursts ranging from ridiculously witty (“dirty money, no footprints in dirt”) to just plain ridiculous (“I can’t trust my iPhone, I think Siri the feds”), some things never change. But, as we all know, you can’t have the revelatory Wayne without some idiotic and disconcerting statements.
Dedication largely involves Weezy freestyling over other artists’ tracks, from Jay Z to Kendrick Lamar, the most talented rappers around provide the blueprint for Wayne’s latest endeavour. Essentially an attempt by Weezy to revive the interest of his ever faithful fanbase, Dedication 5 achieves this in many ways. Unquestionably, it possesses far more depth than the preceding Dedication 4.
Following an exceptional intro sung by The Weeknd, Wayne decides to enlighten us by explaining the intricacies of this mixtape. Declaring his renewed love for the world of hip-hop, Wayne drops some of his zaniest lyrics in years, from: “We smoking on that gas, pass it like excuse you” to “No broken mirrors, I can’t see myself broke,” Weezy demonstrates some comical yet luminous wordplay.
But please brace yourself; this tape is long, very long, 29 songs long. “You Song”, which finds Lil Wayne teaming up with Chance the Rapper, is the best track on the album, with the aforementioned Chance stealing the show. Absolutely riveting, it’s so impressive it could have justifiably appeared on Dedication 2, Weezy’s greatest ever musical achievement. Predictably, Young Money’s prize assets Nicki Minaj and Drake make an appearance on the mixtape, and such talent can only add substance to such a musical venture. When Wayne is confronted with the mixtape’s two biggest tracks (Kanye West’s “New Slaves” and Drake’s “Started From The Bottom”), the results are just spectacular. Here, on both of these tracks, Wayne demonstrates a reawakened passion; he is now the Weezy of old, an irate rapper, ravenous, and ready to smoke any competition in his way. Wayne has rediscovered that knack of spinning gold from apparently substandard or ambiguous components. This fact is blatantly evident when Tunechi takes it to the next level on Jigga Man’s “FuckWitMeYouKnowIGotIt”.
Here, Wayne’s talent is tangible; his God-given ability to vibe with a beat is at its most proficient level, responding to the intimidating bass with primitive anger. The rhymes again vary from mundane (“You ever see me broke?/ Write on my cast”) to magnificent (“Money talks, yours like no comment”), nonetheless, Wayne has managed to rekindle that fire which ill health and an artistic deficiency had seemingly smothered. While the detractors will state that Weezy hasn’t managed to deliver another Dedication 2, Dedication 5 shows that the outspoken rapper may be on the path back to reclaiming his throne. Real signs of resurgence are present, although, with the likes of Drake and Kendrick Lamar now firmly occupying hip-hop’s driving seat, Weezy may have to settle for a backseat passenger position on the path to prominence.