Rapper Lil Wayne performs onstage during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
This week finds us celebrating the release of Lil Wayne‘s Dedication 4 mixtape. Hip-hop fans held their breath to see if we were going to get the Weezy of Dedication 2 (effortlessly clever, confident, and inventive) or the syruped-out, Auto-Tuned singing of the nearly unlistenable Dedication 3. Luckily, at first glance, it seems like the former is the case. Wayne appears to have put his skateboard down long enough to rap well, and longtime fans are extremely grateful.
In addition to Wayne, plenty of other stuff happened as well this week. Don Trip played kids’ games with his money, Kendrick Lamar blew our minds for about the 763rd time this year, Joell Ortiz made another in his long string of great dirty jokes, and the God Rakim gives us a blast from the past. Below, the lines of the week.
5. ”Another song in my archive, I’m ’bout to blow like a bald tire/Balling out with my brother and ‘em, we get to the money and dogpile” — Don Trip, ‘Prolly’ lyrics
We included this line mostly for its use of the word “dogpile,” which reminds us of the started-out-as-touch-but-turned-to-tackle football games of our youth — particularly that really muddy one, the aftermath of which took weeks to clean up (sorry, Mom!)
4. ”The president of poetry is what I am/You could call me Kid Wiz or call me Rakim” — Rakim, ‘Wyndance’ lyrics
This lyric is not strictly new. It’s from a 1985 battle at Wyndanch high school on Long Island. The recording has been around for years, but Gudtyme and DJ Rob Swift remixed it and fixed up the sound, and this historical document of Rakim and a young Biz Markie doing their thing is now actually fun to listen to. The R is so young (17!) that he hadn’t even decided on his rap name yet, switching back and forth between his now-known moniker and “Kid Wizard”. It’s doubtful that the kids in the audience had any idea that their classmate rapping in the lunchroom really would become the “president of poetry” only a few years later.
3. ”So nah, I don’t want the drama/I just met Tawana/And there’s no way her mouth could become my baby momma” — Joell Ortiz, ‘Feel So Good’ lyrics
Ortiz is nowhere near as prolific with the oral sex punchlines as his sometimes-groupmate Crooked I, who is the undisputed king of such jokes. However, Mr. Yaowa can still come up (no pun intended) with great ones when he needs to, as here.
2. ”No lie, I’m getting paid and f**king b*tches/The Feds on me, gotta switch plates/In the streets, we call that ‘washing dishes’” — Lil Wayne, ‘I Don’t Lie’ lyrics
Mr. I-can’t-make-an-appointment‘s return to form is, as mentioned above, extremely welcome and long overdue. This is one of a ton of great lines on D4, and the pun on “plates” is one of those that is so fantastic that you can’t imagine why it wasn’t used before. Welcome back, Weezy!
1. ”I gotta spend one summer in Tijuana with Tia and Tia’s momma/Breakfast in bed is head with plenty carne asada” — Kendrick Lamar, ’100′ lyrics
Kendrick bodies yet another verse on this song, from Big Sean’s new mixtape. While his verse as a whole deals with why he’s not voting — and throws in the legacy of civil rights activism and the concept of divine wrath just as, you know, little side notes — he also makes time for this incredible wordplay. The smoothness and style with which he rhymes “Tijuana” and “Tia’s momma” has to be heard to be believed.