Call it the curse of the moth butterfly thing: Lil Wayne, rapper/rocker/skater/entrepreneur/Mountain Dew spokesman extraordinaire, got stood up by both the VMA and BET selection committees. No nominations, no performances, nada. Talk about FOMO. On August 24 — better known as the eve of the Twerkapocalypse — Weezy took to Twitter to apologize for his artistic shortcomings: “Noticed I wasn’t nominated nor involved n da MTV VMA’s nor da BET awards…I apologize to my fans and I promise 2 work harder if it kills me.” That promise has been at least partially realized in Dedication 5, the latest installment in the New Orleans rapper’s mixtape series.
Upon initial listens, it appears that Wayne has been taking strides to avoid some of the most prevalent pitfalls that plagued his past releases: namely, bogus rock instrumentals and Auto-Tuned overindulgence. Instead, he revives the M.O. of the first few Dedications, delivering solid verses over the instrumentals of hip-hop’s latest, greatest hits (“Fuckin’ Problems,” “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “New Slaves”). He’s also scaled back the dick jokes for some clever quips, instead opting for some musical trivia; “And if it’s war call me, fuck Tyrone,” he raps on “Before Tune Gets Back,” alluding to Erykah Badu’s “Call Tyrone.” But even if there are flashes of “A Milli”-era brilliance on Dedication 5, the tape can’t always manage to cast off the clunkers (“Had a phone in jail/ That’s a ‘cell’phone,” “I’ll have people looking for you/ Like a reason”). Still, it’s leagues above I Am Not a Human Being Part IV and a more-than-suitable act of reparation from a superstar. Oh, and plus: features from Chance the Rapper and Vado!
• Lil Wayne/Young Money: http://www.youngmoney.com