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Dedication to the Game: A Chronicle of Lil Wayne’s “Dedication” mixtape series

Lil Wayne 2005By K.B. Tindal
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

It’s funny how Lil Wayne received more press for the release of Dedication 5 than he did for his last album. Keeping himself relevant in the streets, Lil Wayne first started his iconic Dedication series in 2005. Reaching a commercial peak, releasing Tha Carter II, the New Orleans rapper turned his back on the game for the mixtapes.

Only one week after dropping his album, Lil Wayne hit the studio with DJ Drama and then The Dedication was born. Taking hit songs from Nas, Fat Joe, Mobb Deep, Snoop Dogg, Slim Thug, Cam’ron, and more, Lil Wayne crafted a classic. Soon, there were fans wanting the next tape for Wayne to kill their favorite songs.

Showing his lyrical prowess, Lil Wayne soon did Dedication 2, once again linking up with mixtape king, DJ Drama. Instead of dropping another album, Lil Wayne focused on his guest verses and he was the hottest rapper of 2006. To give his fans full material, they had to go to his street content.

Lil Wayne continued his trend of going in on popular songs, but he included more guest appearances on his later mixtapes in the popular Dedication series. By the time Lil Wayne returned with Dedication 3, he had returned to the mainstream and had become the biggest rapper in the game, period. During this time, a lot of people were also beginning to discuss Lil Wayne as a potential legend in the rap game.

The last two Dedication mixtapes dropped last summer and this morning and it continued the trend of Lil Wayne going in on industry beats and crafting original music. Lil Wayne’s hit single from last summer, “No Worries,” was originally born on the Dedication mixtape series. Of course, this morning, Lil Wayne shut the internet down with the release of Dedication 5 and Hip Hop Vibe decided to recount the tapes, as they are a part of hip hop history.

See the Dedication mixtape series below:

The DedicationThe Dedication

Dedicated to everyone around the world and the fallen soldiers, Lil Wayne surprised fans when he dropped a mixtape only days after dropping Tha Carter II. What ended up coming from Lil Wayne was The Dedication mixtape, which DJ Drama hosted. The mixtape became one of the biggest to ever be released.

Helping to establish Lil Wayne on the streets, The Dedication helped to raise the profile of DJ Drama. At the time, he was primarily known for his mixtapes with rappers in Atlanta, but Lil Wayne helped change the landscape. Lil Wayne remade songs from all the biggest artists of the time.

Lil Wayne did The Dedication with no guest appearances. However, the tape included a live performance of “I Miss My Dawgs” with a surprise reunion with B.G. The live performance was included on the last song of the tape. Songs from Nas, Fat Joe, Slim Thug, Young Jeezy, and more.

Download The Dedication by Lil Wayne here.

Dedication 2Dedication 2

Starting in 2005, Lil Wayne started doing guest verses, popping up on songs with everyone from Chris Brown, Juelz Santana, Swizz Beatz, Shawnna, and DJ Khaled. His popularity was at an all-time high out of nowhere. Fans eagerly wanted the next album from Lil Wayne, but he got back with DJ Drama.

Dedication 2 dropped and it changed the landscape of the mixtape game. Lil Wayne took this mixtape retail in spite of sampling songs without permission. Both iTunes and Best Buy sold copies of Dedication 2 and it featured appearances from T.I., Pharrell, Curren$y, Remy Ma, Mack Maine, Juelz Santana, and more.

Lil Wayne sampled songs from such names as Jay-Z, Little Brother, Young Buck, UGK, Field Mob, and Tupac Shakur. In terms of mixtapes, Dedication 2 became a hip hop classic, setting all types of records. Released in the summer of 2006, Dedication 2 included the now-infamous song, “Georgia,” targeting then-president, George W. Bush.

Download Dedication 2 by Lil Wayne here.

Dedication 3Dedication 3

Fans on Wikipedia were happy Tha Carter III finally came and they were so hungry for more that they started rumors of Dedication 3 being an album. Almost immediately after dropping Carter III, he began talking about Tha Carter IV. Even though he warned about the project, he was more excited about Dedication 3.

Lil Wayne and DJ Drama were together again on the project, which came in the fall of 2008 as a mixtape. Dedication 3 included collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Lil Twist, Gudda Gudda, Tyga, Jae Millz, Willie The Kid, and more. The tape also included remixes of Soulja Boy, Yung LA, David Banner, Young Jeezy, Plies, and others.

With this new mixtape, Lil Wayne continued to set the game on fire. Dedication 3 would be the last Dedication mixtape from Lil Wayne for a while. As long as it took for him to return with a new tape, it would be a four-year hiatus before he returned with something new out of the Dedication series.

Download Dedication 3 by Lil Wayne here.

Lil Wayne - Dedication 4Dedication 4

Returning after a four-year hiatus and another multi-platinum album in Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne was gearing up for another album release. Before delivering a new album, Lil Wayne dropped a mixtape. With I Am Not a Human Being 2 coming, it looked like the perfect time for Lil Wayne to reunite with DJ Drama.

Dedication 4 came during the summer of 2012 and Lil Wayne continued his trend of aligning big-name guests on big-name tracks. Lil Wayne remixed songs from Rick Ross, Kanye West, Ca$h Out, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, 2 Chainz, and more. The guests included Birdman, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, and more.

Last summer’s Dedication 4 is probably best-known for including “No Worries.” This song went on to become a breakout single and a great promotional tool for I Am Not a Human Being 2. In a little over a year, Lil Wayne made plans to return with yet another tape off the Dedication series.

Download Dedication 4 by Lil Wayne here.

Dedication 5Dedication 5

Earlier this week, Lil Wayne announced Dedication 5 will be coming soon. The artwork dropped this week and Lil Wayne set the stage with the tape. Lil Wayne hit the game this morning with Dedication 5 and DJ Drama was back on deck with him for the tape, which is already over 500,000 downloads.

The internet grew impatient while waiting on Lil Wayne to drop Dedication 5. Even though he had reasons for the delays, fans still made comments about being forced to wait. Even with the promises, Lil Wayne still made the world wait until this morning for the official drop.

Dedication 5 dropped today and Vado, Lil Chuckee, 2 Chainz, Kidd Kidd, and more appeared on the tape. Because of this mixtape that just dropped, Hip Hop Vibe decided to chronicle the entire mixtape series. As much as the world rags on Lil Wayne, there is a reason why he is consistently the most-mentioned rapper out.

Download Dedication 5 by Lil Wayne here.

Follow K.B. Tindal on Twitter @KBTindal.

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