If Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4 serves as a parting gift to fans, some will love it, others will hate it. Instead of lacing his 15-track mixtape with commercial bars that have flooded the radio in recent months, Wayne attempts to go back to the essence of what arguably made him the greatest rapper alive. Whether he succeeded or not will be the topic of discussion in many hip-hop forums and conversations.
There’s no secret to Wayne’s blueprinting, preparation and structuring of Dedication 4. He aims to recapture the conceptual, lyrical beast displayed on the previous Dedications while showing rappers that their beats “aren’t safe,” as quoted on the Drought 3, and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have rap’s most popular mixtape endorser DJ Drama stamping the project.
Wayne never recaptures conceptual depths that appeared on his previous Dedication projects, and his style most resembles what No Ceilings offered. Yet, the Dedication 4 has its strong points: Catchy one liners flood each track, the features actually improve songs (J.Cole, Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, etc.), the beat selection is immaculate because it pulls from rap’s best and hottest bass lines, and Wayne actually caters his delivery pattern to mirror the original artist’s style on each beat.
“Same Damn Tune,” delivered over Future’s “Same Damn Time,” exhibits how Wayne structures his flow like each song’s original format. He matches patterns and places rhymes that end with similar syllables in memorable spots. In essence, he mimics the original version and adds a twist to it. It’s safe to say that Wayne went harder than the majority of the original artists, and that’s something to appreciate because he chose songs like: “Burn” and “Amen” by Meek Mill, and “Cashin’ Out” by Cash Out.
Also in “Same Damn Tune” Wayne addresses the comments he made in his interview with DJ Drama.
“Rap is taking a backseat to skating,” said Wayne prior to the mixtape’s release. On the actual project he follows with this response:
“Im skatin’ and rappin’ at the same damn time/ I said I might retire, but yal know I be high.”
Weezy is setting the stage for a situation that mirrors Jay-Z’s. Instead of completely breaking ties with rap and retiring outright, Wayne has left the door open for reappearances. He wants to spend more time venturing down other avenues like his Trukfit clothing line. In the meantime, he should have spent more time preparing for a potential exit that would leave fans wanting more.
The Dedication 4 fell short of what fans expected, and his topics became redundant prematurely. Delivering tons of punch lines and excessively advertising for Trukfit are the only things Wayne accomplished. The Dedication 4 shows a lack of thought, and effort. It appears that Wayne never sought to raise the bar, and failed to display any versatility. Each song has the same format. Has Wayne really sold out and become a punch line rapper? This project suggests that just may be the case.