"S4TW2" is better than Weezy's recent output, but, what does that mean?
Every rapper that can be considered in the G.O.A.T. debate eventually hits a wall.
This drop-off point comes for everyone and leads their stans to add qualifiers to their respective "best all time" arguments, "Of course, I'm talking about Jay-Z from Reasonable Doubt to Black Album, Eminem pre-Encore, etc."
Weezy's GOAT argument comes with more qualifiers than just about any other. Specifically, when people say Lil Wayne is the best to ever do it, they first have to make the distinction that they mean "Mixtape Weezy" and then further clarify that they mean the mixtapes that came out between 2002 and 2009.
In that period, Wayne solidified himself as a first-ticket Hall of Famer. He unleashed an unholy stream of incredible mixtapes that were made all the more amazing by their proximity. Wayne was literally always rapping and the resulting mixtapes were still solid front-to-back.
This was a concentrated burst of ability and artistry unlike anything the hip-hop world had ever seen. Pre-Blueprint II Jigga is a well-crafted cup of coffee. Weezy in the window from SQ4 to No Ceilings was Black Blood of the Earth.
Wayne's lyrical prowess on these unofficial releases was so great that Mixtape Weezy is still an event over a half-decade after the window closed. Sorry 4 The Wait 2 dropped after Rebirth and we still care. We listened to "Prom Queen" and the spectre of Mixtape Weezy still gets us hyped.
Unfortunately, the same thing that causes us to care about Mixtape Weezy in 2015 is what makes an effort like Sorry 4 The Wait 2 so disappointing. From any other rapper, S4TW2 is a solid mixtape. From the man who gave us "Cannon", "Get 'Em" and "I Feel Like Dying", however, it may be a let-down.
True to his mixtape form, Wayne does his best to take hot beats of the moment and make them his own. In the past, these tracks were the end of the conversation, a devastating uppercut on wax that effectively ruined the beat for anyone who came after (and, frequently, the original artist). On S4TW2, Weezy's punches get slipped as often as they land. "Trap House", "Selsun Blue" and "U Guessed It" are great takes. "No Type" and Christina Milian-featured "Drunk In Love", not so much.
The mixed-bag of freestyle cuts isn't helped by the fact that the original tracks aren't Wayne's best either. "Used To" sounds more like a Drake record than it does Tunechi's, and it can't even be saved by the inclusion of Riff Raff (has Jody Highroller replaced Birdman intro and outros?). Somehow, the most reliable earworm creators of the decade managed to produce a track that is pretty forgettable.
That's not to say S4TW2 is a bad mixtape, far from it. For every lowlight mentioned there's usually a highlight to counterbalance it. And it's definitely the best thing Weezy has done since his "Best Rapper Alive" window slammed shut in 2009. Still, it could also be considered a product of Lil Wayne's decline.
A mixtape from Weezy used to be the final word. S4TW2, when held up to its predecessors, doesn't quite make the cut, however, we won't give up hope just yet that Tha Carter V will have him taking things back real quick.