Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Album Review: Lil' Wayne - Dedication 3

Artist: Lil' Wayne and DJ Drama

Album: Dedication 3

Label: Self-Released Mixtape (2008)

Rating: 62%

It's been pretty busy the last week or so for rap releases. In the midst of trying to get through the new Q-tip, leaked Kanye, leaked Luda and the new Illa J album, Lil' Wayne went and dropped Dedication 3. It obviously sees Lil' Wayne hooking up with DJ Drama again to drop some freestyle verses over some of the hottest beats from the past year or so. Sounds promising, but after listening to him rant, much like the almost unlistenable last 7 minutes of Tha Carter III's closer "Dontgetit", for most of Dedication 3, I'm almost sick of Lil' Wayne. Almost is the key word.

Don't get me wrong, this is a decent mixtape. But it just isn't doing anything to push Wayne in this post-Tha Carter III era. Not only that, but the thing is full of auto tune, some weak posse guest verses, empty Cash Money threats and way too many rhymes that don't make any sense, even for a Lil' Wayne tape. The saving point, as per usual, are the few lines sprinkled throughout that make you say "whoa", and demand repeated rewinds. This album is pointedly about sex and misogyny, and therefore most of the best lines surround these topics.

Some of the highlights include: at the end of "Aint I" where he raps "from the bedroom to the floors" and then coughs and clarifies "whores", classic Wayne; on "Dick Pleaser" he free associates, "Bitch who run it?/bitch nigga moi/that was french nigga/not...a kiss nigga nah"; on "Magic" he drops one of his classic movie references when he raps "John Travolta with that head/I suck yo face off"; and on "Stuntin" he drops a Hulk Hogan and David Hasselhof reference in one verse. Not the greatest or most creative stuff, but he says it with that Wayne lightness that just puts a smile on your face. I could list off more, but it's a Wayne record so you get the picture.

The thing about this mixtape, that wasn't present on Da Drought 3 or Tha Carter III, is that for every great line, he drops about three that suck or make absolutely no sense. There's actually not enough room for me to list all of the missteps on this one, but I'll give you a few. On "Magic" he raps "tell yo man to take the cake ball/I put his ass in the pocket like ball/You aint yall I never been tall". What? Another spot you hear him say "Yea talking big big shit/I am rude I take food from kid picnic nigga/Yea and we can bang like bumper cars". I guess he is going for the whole kid and bumper car connection, but seriously, that can't pass as a clever rap can it? There are just too many of these to list. It really bogs the record down, especially when you gotta sit through Young Money posse verses before Wayne has a chance to redeem himself.

Not that Lil' Wayne has ever been accused of being overly focused, but Dedication 3 might be the least focused album he has ever put out. Wait, that might be an overstatement, but it is definitely everywhere at once, and for once, this does not work for him. Like I said before, there are some highlights on this album, but they are few and far between compared to other Wayne releases. I don't know though, maybe Da Drought 3 was just a classic mixtape that I didn't appreciate enough. Maybe I've come to expect too much from Wayne. Either way, I'm not really feeling this album, and let's hope that that rumoured T-Pain collaboration and the reworking, not remix, of Tha Carter III (whatever the hell that even means) don't follow in the footsteps of this album. Let's hope Wayne switches it up a little, and starts pushing boundaries again, like we have come accustomed to.

Also, did anyone else see Lil' Wayne on the CMA's? Dude was standing on stage with a guitar that wasn't plugged in, and proceeded to air guitar Kid Rock's song, and didn't even do his guest verse that he did at the MTV show earlier this fall. Check that video here. I think Wayne may have smoked and screwed (the cough syrup drink, not intercourse) himself stupid. Before I might have thought a statement like that meant he would continue dropping some out-of-this-world-shit, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe I was wrong to worry about Kanye's sanity and creative direction, maybe I should have been worrying about Lil' Wayne all along...

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