“The next time ya mention ‘Pac, Biggie, or Jay-Z, don’t forget to mention Weezy baby,” Lil Wayne said three years ago. After spending three years on the mixtape scene, Lil Wayne released Tha Carter III during the summer of 2008.
The album was met with mostly positive reviews, but was not viewed as a classic by many. Instead, the album was looked at as Wayne going pop. While that may have been true, it was hard to deny the obvious lyrical improvement Lil Wayne made.
In the time since Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne has released three more albums. This summer, Wayne plans to finally release Tha Carter IV. Over the years, fans of the New Orleans rapper have been ready to crown him as a legend in the game. Lil Wayne has made great strides, but when thinking of all of the people who have picked up a microphone, is he truly a legend?
Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. are hailed as two of the greatest rappers of the newest generation and many up and coming rappers do their best to impersonate them. In the aftermath of their deaths, Jay-Z capitalized. Jay-Z is known as one of the wittiest rappers in the game and he showed rappers how to turn their talents into a business. With his business sense paired with his lyrical ability, Jay-Z earned the right to be called a legend.
Lil Wayne has definitely emerged as one of the top lyricists in the game. But, the rap game has been dwindling for years. More and more often, rappers boast about being able to make millions without even being good at what they do. Had Lil Wayne debuted when Tupac and Biggie were at their peaks, would he even be viewed as a decent rapper? At the time, hip hop was taken much more seriously than it is now and the game was truly competitive.
For today’s times, Lil Wayne has done exceptionally well. In a matter of months, he made international superstars out of Nicki Minaj and Drake. The Young Money name was not taken seriously when Wayne first announced his own label. Now, with several artists recording and making hits under the name, it is the biggest force in the game. Lil Wayne has made himself the most marketable name in rap and he has taken a page from Jay-Z’s book and built a solid team around him.
Over the course of his career, Lil Wayne has been impressive. But, is it safe to call Lil Wayne a legend?