Lil Wayne - D6: Reloaded (Review)

Martin_Canine
LIL WAYNE
D6: Reloaded
★★★★☆

What I, as a non-American, never got: how came Lil Wayne’s reputation went from the same amount of acclaim that Kendrick Lamar gets now - he was regularly called the best rapper alive, also by critics, and Tha Carter III was immediately considered a classic - to being frequently called a terrible MC? I got news for you: this dude can rap. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t contain all too many deep songs - no, scratch that, he has no deep songs at all - when he delivers it that strongly. He twists and turns the English language around, his flow rides the beat jockey style. If you look beyond his topics, this guy spits some crazy punchlines, call that boxer’s cocaine. The first three Tha Carter installments are fabulous. I wouldn’t shy away from awarding them my full five star rating, and they are among my most listened to American hip hop albums. Unlike many, I also digged Rebirth as an anarchic record with a strongly unique sound. Admittedly, his albums have gotten weaker in the 2010s. I wouldn’t bash them as much as other do - or at all - but the initial energy and lyrical playfulness have begun to decrease a tiny little bit. It’s not nearly enough to justify the hate, but still, where is the sick flow, the raspy vocal experiments and the twists in language that made every Weezy record such a fun experience? I don’t know. What I do know on the other hand is that this only goes for his studio albums. His mixtapes are the silver lining to cling to.

I assume that on the mixtapes he’s freed of any commercial interests and therefore goes on full fun mode. Songs like Love Me were made to be earworms, they’re sung rather than rapped, and what ultimately leaves the biggest impression is Future’s chorus and Mike Will Made It’s beat. Many songs on his later works sound drowsy, with hypnotic production and calm vocals that contain little challenging in the lyrics. These are radio songs. Now, on his mixtapes he raps over music that already exists, knowing that the overall project will not be predominantly released for sale. D6: Reloaded has very little moments that sound as if Wayne’s major interest was creating a catchy tune, but there are many moments where his puns are witty, his boasts are actually hard hitting and his flow is so gripping and insanely dynamic that this guy would win every rap battle.

Want a tasty sample?

“Hallelujah, power intruders / B'tch walk around my house like Hooters / Towel user, power user / Molly mixed with white girl, Molly Susan / N’s talkin' out their bowel movers / Turn they homies into flower choosers / Turn your kids into father choosers / Make your b'tch a widow and your mom a cougar / I'm a silent shooter with a silent shooter / Clap at you, if you don't die, I'll boo ya / Tell a doc that's tryna to save your life and runnin' wires through you / He could die next to ya / I'ma make the nurse ride me like a giant scooter / Let her partner shoot it, we pull out the movie, win awards / She got a Golden Globe head and an Oscar booty / N’s prostituting, these rappers ain't talkin' about s’t, not even about pollution / Ain't got a house to live in, ain't got a pool to swim in / Change in their pockets, nor a couch to lose it”

Wow, what a nice rhyme chain. And it helps that he raps it so fluently that its effect on the listener is tripled simply by the performance. Does he ever take a breath during his verses?

Many songs on the 90 minute long D6: Reloaded, which is by the way not an expanded edition of Dedication 6 but a completely independent mixtape, contain no choruses and are a pure show off of rapping skill. And this is what Wayne is best at. This is what has made him good in the first place. Of course, it rarely feels like an album, it’s a collection of many different already existing songs by different artists and different producers, all reimagined by Lil Wayne who more than once gives a better show than the original rapper. That’s what is: a giant show, a hip hop wrestling match, a special effects drenched action blockbuster, a parade of style and colors (most notably, purple). It doesn’t have the class of the Tha Carter albums, and the unnecessary skits at the end of almost every track make it approximately 20 minutes too long, but heck, I was greatly entertained.

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