Sep 8, 2016

“I’m dun.” Those two words have perhaps closed the book on one of the best, most memorable careers a rapper has ever had. Lil Wayne has long been atop the mountain in music, and while there have been ups and

H

by Her

Contributor

“I’m dun.”

Those two words have perhaps closed the book on one of the best, most memorable careers a rapper has ever had.

Lil Wayne has long been atop the mountain in music, and while there have been ups and downs musically, his legacy as one of the best to ever do it is unquestioned. From the numerous hits and his legendary run of mixtapes to the artists that he’s helped usher into the industry, Lil Wayne has been an integral part in shaping today’s hip-hop world.

Despite this, he’s been massively struggling with his label, and those issues are realer now more than ever before, and have apparently driven him to retirement.

He recently let loose a brief rant on Twitter about the situation:

On the surface, it seems like this is just another threat to retire from a legendary artist, but let’s really think about the the position he’s in. Weezy’s been struggling to release his highly-anticipated album Tha Carter V, which would more than likely be his last big album before ending his 20-year career. Aside from all the disrespect and mishandling he’s received from Birdman and co., having a relative newcomer like Young Thug come along and drop Barter 6 was one of the biggest slaps in the face, especially since it would’ve been named Tha Carter 6 if not for legal issues.

Now, I am a big, big fan of Young Thug, but I also know that he wouldn’t be here if not for Wayne—that goes for Future as well, and hella other rappers of this generation. That lean-soaked autotune sound just wasn’t poppin’ before Wayne did it, and it really paved the way for a whole generation of mumble-mouthed artists with star power, which we’re seeing now.

Me personally, I have a sentimental attachment to Lil Wayne’s music—it was what got me into hip-hop. I grew up around a lot of pop and rock, and wasn’t really exposed to hip-hop until high school, when I found out about Lil Wayne (I was dumb late, I know). “Lollipop” and “Mrs. Officer” were the first records I had heard from him, and I was immediately hooked. I had never heard someone rap like him, and his lyrics were just nuts. I would sit in front of lyric websites for hours listening to his old mixtapes trying to learn the lyrics and understand every metaphor he was laying down.

At the time, hip-hop was a guilty pleasure for me—my parents weren’t crazy about me listening to lyrics that were laced with sexual or drug-related content, and I didn’t have any friends that liked hip-hop. I still listened and learned, and developed my taste for hip-hop through all the artists and music I would find through Lil Wayne.

When I did find friends that appreciated the same kind of music, I felt this weird sense of belonging. Music obviously connects to people in different and sometimes strange ways, and I just couldn’t get enough of it after that. Fast forward a few years, and I quit my job writing for the NFL on Bleacher Report to strictly write about and work in music.

I had shed a skin that wasn’t really mine in the first place—I never felt the same passion about sports that I did about music, and while I was broke as fuck and didn’t know exactly what my plans were for the next few years, I was confident.

These days, I write for some incredible music publications and am interning at APG/Atlantic Records, where I’m always on the lookout for the next Carter. It’s like I unknowingly stumbled into my dream career all because I listened to Lil Wayne. I had heard other rappers before, but none of their music really grabbed my ears like Weezy’s or had me anxiously looking for more from them.

Now, as I prepare for a (music) world without Weezy, I reflect back on what all he’s really done. The albums, the mixtapes, bringing two stratospherically successful artists in Drake and Nicki Minaj up out the mud, etc. it’s all led up to an insane career, and like many, I’m sad to see it end.

The tides turn and eras end, but it’s Weezy F. Baby and the F is for forever.