Who Is Lil’ Wayne Fighting?

Tha Carter V

Two weeks ago, Lil’ Wayne released a new Carter V single titled, “Grindin'” featuring Drake and I thought it was okay, but it seemed redundant. He used the same formula on “Believe Me” that came out less than two months ago. It was cool when he said, “We’re going to be okay if we put Drake on every hook,” all those years ago, but now it just seems desperate for relevancy in Hip-Hop. Past Drake/Wayne collaborations were used as a way to break the new Young Money- Canadian rapper to the masses. Now in 2014, every Drizzy feature is another attempt to keep the spotlight on Weezy.

I remember on a particular episode of the FROCAST (Remember that weekly podcast?) King Jerm was mentioning how Jay-Z was relying too much on Kanye West to stay relevant. Throughout the Blueprint 3, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, & Watch The Throne (a joint album idea that Drake and Wayne expressed interest in making around that time as well) time span that lasted up until Cruel Summer, the Hova & Yeezus collaborations were abundant. Fast forward to 2013, Jay-Z released his 13th #1 album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, without any input or assistance behind the boards or mic from Mr. West. An entire summer later, “Tom Ford” and “Holy Grail” still live on your local radio station’s playlist and “On The Run (Part II)”, his duet with Beyonce will be on several best song of the year lists.

“On The Run (Part II)” inspired arguably the biggest and most successful tour of the summer and may have inspired Weezy and Drake’s amphitheatre spree. After last year’s America’s Most Wanted Tour with Hit-Boy/Audio Push, 2 Chainz, & T.I. and Do You Want A Tour? with Future Miguel, & Jhene Aiko, the two headliners of those respective tours have combined forces, but the name of their latest outing has an interesting concept. Complete with a Marvel Vs. Capcom-inspired trailer, the announcement of Drake Vs. Lil’ Wayne tour raised questions: “Are they going to have a fake beef?” “Are they copying Jay-Z/Beyonce or Kanye West/Jay-Z?” “Why do they have an app?” and finally, “Why is their joint tour titled Drake Vs. Lil’ Wayne instead of Lil’ Wayne Vs. Drake? The official title of the tour sounds like a former great fighting for the top spot. The alternate title describes how a freshman is trying to get a seat at the cool senior’s table. On the flip side, Jay-Z has co-headlined a tour with Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, and his wife, Mrs. Carter, over the last four years, but he also had his own solo outing, The Magna Carta World Tour (Damn and I still have never seen him in concert. What am I waiting on, another retirement announcement?). I think this is the first time that Lil’ Wayne has co-headlined a tour. Tunechi’s last tours had supporting acts/openers like Gym Class Heroes, Keyshia Cole, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Travis Barker, & countless Young Money signees.

Drake vs Wayne

One of those Young Money signees has surpassed their boss. Drizzy does not need a guest verse from somebody to make a hit or complete song. Young Money released their second compilation album this year and the lone song to feature their biggest star was a loose internet gift released by Drake himself that was teased throughout his previous tour, used in the promotional trailer for Nothing Was The Same, and lived online for months before being added to the final tracklisting. The Hit-Boy produced “Trophies” is the only single from Rise of an Empire that lives on and peaked at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mr. OVO Fest himself released a song that some say almost overshadowed Hot 97’s Summer Jam where his on-again/off-again love interest Nicki Minaj brought out him and Mr. Carter on stage to perform. Lil’ Wayne’s other Carter V singles ,“Krazy” and “D’usee”, came and went nowhere.

“0 to 100”, the same song released during Summer Jam is getting constant airplay, but Drake’s next album is only rumored to be coming next spring. Carter V has a release date, but no real momentum online, on the radio, or in conversations. Lil’ Wayne performed at the BET Awards & didn’t get mentioned in the hundreds of recaps that followed later that week. You have to be an outsider or non-regular Hip-Hop fan to not know that the last Hot Boy on Cash Money records lost his dedication to be the best rapper alive. When Jay-Z claimed retirement back in 2003, he was at the height of his career with The Black Album being his swan song. If Lil’ Wayne would have claimed retirement during Tha Carter III era, he really would have been ending on a good note. Unfortunately, last year during TMZ reported stories of him on his death bed, I Am Not A Human Being II would have been an uneventful ending to something once great as season 4 of The Boondocks. In his 40’s with various business deals, personal issues with a sister-in-law, and a marriage to maintain, Marcy Project’s favorite son is still invested in the quality of his discography. Hollygrove’s most notable former resident is more focused on the craft of skateboarding than rapping.

Speaking for myself, I can admit that I’m not in a rush to hear new Lil’ Wayne music. I’m not even pressing play on his songs to see if he’s back to his old self or nah. If I click on an article about Lil’ Wayne, I’m doing it to read the comments. Trukfit isn’t in my closet, “Young Moola, Baby” isn’t in my everyday vernacular. This is the point where I say if Lil’ Wayne doesn’t care about making great music, I don’t care to listen to anything from him. The America’s Most Wanted Tour came to Dallas last year and I enjoyed myself, he’s one of the best performers I have ever seen live in concert. My only grief was he didn’t perform anything pre Carter III. Everyone should enjoy the Drake Vs. Lil’ Wayne Tour, but don’t fall for the Drake features and gimmicks he needs to get your interest in Tha Carter V.