“I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars, they criticize me for it, but they all yell holla”
I listened to Dedication 4 and I do not blame Dewayne Carter.
I blame everyone who only listened to the singles on the first Carter album. There had been a change in his entire rap demeanor, clearly apparent on the cult classic “BM J.R,” when he dropped the classic line, “And she keep asking how it shoot if it’s plastic?” Although the flow of the album differed greatly from Tha Carter II, fans of his music found Wayne evolving into not only a rapper, but an artist learning to master his craft.
I blame the rainbow colored Bathing Ape hoodie he wore in the “Fireman” video; at the time it was a dope piece of gear, but the manifest destiny of such abstract fashion gave way the change few wanted to see. Call it “fashion forward” or whatever you like, he is currently embodying A$AP Rocky’s line, “Clothes get weirder, money get longer.”
I blame everyone who makes uninformed arguments about Tha Carter II not being his most complete and sonically agreeable album to date. From the light tap of the hi-hat with “the beat crying” in the background on the album’s first song, “The Mobb,” to the subtle tap of chimes followed by the tpiano riff on “Fly Out,” Tha Carter II represented Wayne, as well as his team, at their finest.
I blame everyone who fell in love with clever punch lines on his mixtapes. From his Squad Up days to the current Dedication 4, punchlines have always played a vital role in his career; however allowing them to overpower a song, takes away from a records ability to have a thematic presence as a whole. We all bought into it, and yes I say we because to this day, the bars, “…Lampin in the Hampton’s like what the f*ck is a hammock, the chef up in the kitchen like what the f*ck is a sammich, I’m like we gotta find middle ground we need balance,” from his infamous “Knuck if you buck” freestyle still gets me out of my seat, even with a dimpled pratt knot and a oxford white collared shirt.
I blame Napster (just feel me you pirates) for making record sales such a tough thing for the majority of artists, while separating the artists with the clout to sell crazy numbers. Selling a million copies was still tough in the 90′s, but it was more of a common occurrence. To be a Hip-Hop act selling outrageous numbers, in 2012, is a feat in its own and he’s done it, time and time again.
It’s the tale of three Wayne’s: The Young Kid from Cashmoney; The Beacon of Hope for Hip-Hop: and now, The Capitalist.
Lil’ Wayne, from Holligrove in New Orleans 17th ward has seen the ends-and-outs of the music industry and stated in a recent interview with DJ Drama, “It does get pretty boring when it comes to just the rapping and all that type of stuff. I’ve been doing it since I was 8 and I’m about to be 30 in September.” Holding our favorite artists up on unfair pedestals and expecting them to be who we want them to be as opposed to who they are, is unfair. I, amongst millions of others, would love to see Dedication 2 Lil’ Wayne reemerge, but that time has passed and although I cannot begin to understand the mind of Dewayne Carter, I realize things change.
Simply being an artist is no longer good enough, there are other facets to life these individuals wish to embark upon and with the following they have, why shouldn’t they take advantage? Capitalism, marketing and Hip-Hop have gone hand-in-hand all the way back to Run DMC rocking unlaced Adidas. Building from the 80’s, today’s artists are taking a more proactive role in the money-making process companies and corporations benefited from for years through partnerships and ownerships such as Trukfit (Wayne’s clothing line).
The lyrics and content have taken a back seat to an entire demographic of kids willing and ready to follow anything Wayne puts his brand behind. We’re watching Lil Wayne come into his own in a business sense, utilizing the Dedication 4 as a promotional piece for sex, drugs and Trukfit, but also seeing Hip-Hop being used by one of its own purely for monetary gain. It’s different, and after hoping the Dedication 4 would be Wayne’s resurgence, I was mistaken. I don’t pretend to understand the change and I won’t try, but I’m thankful for old Wayne and hope his next venture is one we can all gravitate toward with the same enthusiasm we did towards his music.
Sorry for cussing.