Between the release of Tha Carter II
and now, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, or as he’s better known, Lil Wayne, has released a multitude of mixtapes, a collaboration album with a much less talented rapper (Birdman, for the slow), dropped a EP, and had a number one single that managed to storm radio and infuriate longtime fans. Hype managed to build throughout this time for Tha Carter III
, which has been delayed from its original release date of November to its current date of June 10th. Rolling Stone named the man as the best rapper if our generation, which is a claim I’m sure many of you disagree with. During this time, he has become my favorite rapper. Expectations for Tha Carter III
are high for not just me, but for basically anyone who likes hip-hop. Unfortunately, I think that we can see how this is all going to turn out.
Tha Carter III
is going to flop.
And when it does, all I’m going to do is mutter a “told you so” and put on this 2007 double-disc mixtape. Da Drought 3
is a beast, to put it mildly. Lil Wayne adds his nimble flow to twenty-nine beats stolen from other, somewhat incompetent artists, and manages to carve out his own identity within them. Take the intro on the first disc, for example. Weezy takes the beat from “This Is Why I’m Hot” by Mims, who is one of those “incompetent artists” that I mentioned earlier, affects a Jamaican accent, and freestyles a single verse that rhymes “bundle” with “uncle”. No bull***ting around, just a straight, stoned verse surrounded by a beat that couldn’t really hold the original artist anyway. And that’s just on the first song.
Da Drought 3
doesn’t slow throughout its two-disc length, either. Lyrically, Da Drought 3 is the best Lil Wayne has ever been, dropping lines like “even deaf bitches say hi to me/she tells her blind friend and she says I gotta see” and mentioning the Gremlins, decapitating rival niggas, and syphilis on one song. Yeah, Lil Wayne may be all over the place when it comes to rapping about actual topics, but the creative wordplay and the irresistible allure of Weezy’s raspy, crackly flow keeps every song interesting and exciting. Since you’ve heard most of these beats before, the only way for Lil Wayne to save an album filled with ringtone-rap beats is to perform a career high lyrically, which he does without question.
Song-wise, the most obvious standout is “Ride 4 My Niggas”, where Weezy takes Mike Jones “Mr. Jones” beat and transforms the song to become almost unrecognizable, and basically making the song his own while dropping lines like “And I ain’t gonna lie when I tell my flow’s the illest/my flow is nasty, like C Y Phyllis”. Stoned freestyles like “We Takin Over” and “Dough Is What I Got” are rapid-fire blasts of lyrical brilliance, with Weezy rapping as fast as he can, spitting out whatever rhymes and managing to form a legitimate song out of it. Da Drought 3
moves like an album more than almost any other mainstream hip-hop album, though. The incredibly slow pacing lulls you in, and you eventually feel just as stoned as Weezy was when he made this album. It’s a testament to Lil Wayne’s skills that he can make an entire work out of other people’s beats, but Da Drought 3
never feels patched together, feeling much like the opposite.
The first disc is complete gold, but the second disc falters a bit. Tracks like “Dipset” and “Blooded” are as good as or better than anything on the first disc, but songs toward the middle disappointingly start to scream filler. “Walk It Out”, which obviously samples the annoying hit of the same name, doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the original song, and “Boom” manages to be the one and only sore spot lyrically. The ten-minute outro doesn’t do a whole lot more for me either. But Da Drought 3
isn’t a perfect album, hell, there has never really been a “perfect” double album. But there have been classic ones, and while this free mixtape really isn’t up to White Album standards, it is easily the best hip-hop double album I’ve ever heard, which is defying Life After Death
and Wu-Tang Forever
. That’s a pretty bold claim, but Da Drought 3
backs it. This mixtape may be illegal to sell, but everyone should hear it for sure.