Lil Wayne – Dedication 4

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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.

7.0/10

*Review also hosted at http://www.pefferreviews.com/ and http://rapruler.com/

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2 Chainz – Based on a T.R.U. Story

Based On a T.R.U. Story album artwork

2 Chainz released his highly anticipated debut solo project, Based on a T.R.U. Story, as a G.O.O.D. Music member. This album succeeds his previous mixtape, T.R.U. Realigion, which garnered huge buzz and propelled 2 Chainz into rap’s spotlight. Since then, he has become a feature animal appearing on many major artists’ singles, mixtapes and albums.

Many wonder how 2 Chainz became relevant in rap. He may not have content that fans require from a lyricist, but the answer is pretty simple. He just doesn’t care! 2 Chainz’ delivery is more comical, bolder and more reckless than any rapper out, as seen on the brief intermission on “Yuck!”. He isn’t afraid to take a chance with his bars. Regardless of whether his punch lines register a direct hit, he delivers each line with confidence, style and vitality. If his energy doesn’t enhance punch lines, his adlibs definitely will. 2 Chainz’ “truuu,” “yeaaaauuhh” and “word” are commonly duplicated in speech amongst hip-hop fans.

The question he poses on the album’s second single, “Birthday Song,” is completely fitting.

“They ask me what I do and who I do it for/ and how it come up with this s**t up in the studio?”

Not only does that question allude to his recent success, but it also provides an example of the style and confidence previously stated. After all, he did rhyme “do it for” with “studio”, which at best could classify as a slant rhyme. 2 Chainz fearlessly stretches words, mispronounces them, and uses his southern dialect to appropriate rhyme scheme, as displayed on “Crack.”

2 Chainz even displayed boldness by stepping out of his bass heavy, southern, comfort zone. The song “I’m Different,” produced by DJ Mustard, takes a trip to the west coast and brings the jerky, groove style that has surged to the forefront of California music. Like the name of his song, “No Lie,” 2 Chainz is different, and very different at that. There isn’t another rapper that could say some of the oulandish things 2 Chainz does and maintain respect as a hit-maker.

“Extremely Blessed” highlights where 2 Chainz difference displays weakness. This smooth song features The Dream and directs attention to beautiful girls with banging bodies that guys would consider extremely blessed. 2 Chainz’ flow needs to be ratcheted down to parallel the song.

He may not have a smooth flow in his repertoire, but he did display a relaxed delivery on the track “Stop Me Now.” 2 Chainz successfully dialed down intensity while maintaining style and matching the sound of this more subtle, ol’ school sounding song.

“In Town,” featuring Mike Posner, fills the role of a sleeper track. As track 11 out of 13, it’s disguised in the back end of the album where average tracks tend to dwell. Once again 2 Chainz effectively allowed the instrumentation and tone emitted by Posner to dictate his energy level. This song has single potential.

Based on T.R.U. Story, definitely highlights all of 2 Chainz strong points. His hooks are catchy, he places adlibs in appropriate places, and he consistently delivered the erratic style that his fans have grown accustomed to. Although 2 Chainz constantly talks about Louis Vuitton/True Religion, big booty girls, and foreign cars, the albums’ sound displays an increased bit of versatility, which will be necessary for 2 Chainz to remain relevant as his solo career progresses.

The album also has well balanced feature selections: Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, The Dream, Mike Posner, John Legend and Playaz Circle’s Dollar Boy all make appearances.

Beat productions follow suit with contributions from: Drumma Boy, Mike Will, Bangladesh, Sonny Digital, Streetrunner, and Southside.

*Review also hosted at http://www.pefferreviews.com/ and http://rapruler.com/