February 10, 2015

Lil’ Wayne – Da Drought 3 (2007)

Never before, and quite possibly never again, will any rapper, completely void of any detectable exertions of effort, yet while supplying endless amounts of hood rich-flavored drive and vigor, fill a 100-minute mixtape, comprised mostly of the most trite of instrumentals hand-picked from the radio, all the while truly never leaving behind a moment of stale air.

On Da Drought 3, Lil Wayne’s rhymes vary from street to cartoon, from slum to celebrity, from personal to extremely ordinary. Regardless of lyrical essence, Wayne’s performances here provide pure unadulterated entertainment, propelled by the fact that this was recorded before his “too trippy” phase (If you’re not familiar with Mr. Carter’s career trajectory, around the turn of the decade his codeine habits got the best of him, and his fans definitely took notice. Watch the Carter Documentary for more insight). On this mixtape, he sounds confident and lyrically focused, rarely dropping the ball. Here, and on so many other of his projects pre-2010, Lil Wayne acts like he was born to rap.

Lil’ Wayne’s burning desire to rhyme words together on this mixtape is unprecedented. Refer to Robert Christgau’s review for a hefty example; or better yet, listen to any number of tracks from this mixtape yourself, and witness how, somehow relentlessly bordering the line between written rap and freestyle, Wayne maintains any particular rhyme scheme for the length of time it takes any other rappers to get through an entire verse. Wayne isn't no Big L or Black Thought, but with his relentless precision, he is matched by no one other than himself.

Features are minimal, with spots carved out for spitta and for Nicki Minaj, who Cash Money had recently scoped out in NYC and whose appearance predates the whole Barbie girl persona which she eventually adopted and stuck with. As for the beats, if you like where mainstream hip-hop and r&b was in the mid 2000’s, than they will be right up your alley. If not, then you can still get plenty from this.

Whether it’s the dramatic pause between bars on “Dipset 2”, or the near-identical outro of disk 1 and intro to disk 2, where Wayne is presumably eating some fast food-chinese, this mixtape has lots of surprises and is worth your time. Sadly, this cannot be said for a majority of his releases.

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"I need serious help" - Lil Wanye