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In 2002, Lil Wayne was fresh off the 500 Degreez album, the first project where it was clear it was him and him alone carrying the torch for Cash Money Records from an artist perspective. The Big Tymers were still there but the Hot Boys had splintered off in different directions. Juvenile was gone, so were B.G. and Turk. At 20 years old, three solo albums in, Wayne decided to make an artistic decision, one that would shape the rest of his career.
No longer committing to writing lyrics down and letting whatever came to him flow, he initially launched into the Sqad Up series with a crew of young and hungry New Orleans rappers such as Gudda Gudda, Nutt Da Kidd, T-Streets and more. For two years from ’02 to ’03, it was the early proving ground for Wayne to detach from making major-label albums and just go. In 2004, the new Lil Wayne made his debut on Tha Carter and laid out massive breadcrumb trail of unrelated freestyles and unauthorized mixtape series from The Prefix, The Suffix and more. When he linked with DJ Drama for the first Dedication mixtape in 2005, Wayne was a completely different rapper than 500 Degreez.
In the fifteen years since, Mixtape Wayne has become an entirely separate entity from Lil Wayne. For a generation, he’s their GOAT, a rapid-fire, metaphor and wordplay driven artist with one-liners aplenty. A lighter flick meant a hijacking was coming and your beat was not safe. Sorry Mike Jones, “Sky’s The Limit” from Da Drought 3 doesn’t belong to you anymore. Wayne recorded so much, asking “You got that new Wayne?” felt like you were trying to catch The Flash and he already had a head start on you. There was almost too much new Wayne – and fans ate it up.
From 2004 with Tha Carter to 2009’s No Ceilings, Wayne had arguably the most impressive stretch of music from a Hip Hop perspective counting for mixtapes, guest features, and albums. There were some low spots in the oversaturation of the Dedication series with D3 but that was more of a Young Money showcase than all-out Wayne.
So for Black Music Month and in the midst of the Great Debates – we ask you, what’s the greatest Lil Wayne mixtape of them all? Is the one listed? Don’t see the one listed? Hit us up and tell us what YOUR favorite Wayne tape is.
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RELATED: Black Music Month: Drake vs. Lil Wayne (And Their Best Collaborations)
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For Black Music Month, Radio One Philadelphia is paying homage to some of our favorite artists with our “The Impact Of The Mixtape” series, brought to you by the PA Lotto.
Paris Nicole breaks down her all time favorite mixtape So Far Gone, how she felt like the album was speaking to her younger self, and where it ranks all time!
What is your favorite mixtape of all time? Let us know on social @BOOMPHILLY!
Related: Black Music Month Playlist Maker
June is Black Music Month, a celebration of African-American musicians, creators, innovators and influencers. For 2018, the Urban One family is highlighting 25 of the most influential musicians of all-time that have contributed to black spaces far and wide, ranging from inspirational, to hip-hop and R&B.
No list about hip-hop would be a credible list with the omissions of Tupac Shakur. As Pac goes, so does a generation of men and women across the globe that hail him as a martyr, a man so consumed with representing us all that there’s not one true word to represent him.
From film to music, Pac set the standard in regards to being a magnetic personality that could galvanize people. And in that, people have versions of Pac that they embrace. They see the poet from “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” or “Dear Mama” and “Keep Your Head Up”. Or the party starter that owns nights to this day with “I Get Around” and “How Do U Want It.” Even the passionate hell raiser who crafted songs such as “Hail Mary” and “Ambitionz Az A Ridah.” They’ll fondly discuss clips from documentaries and interviews that relate to modern day topics even if they were recorded twenty-five years ago.
Most of all, the phoenix like rise and fall of Pac leads to as much conspiracy and “what if” thoughts than any other. What if he hadn’t befriended the people had had or allowed him to be influenced by certain figures? What would he have been? It’s hard to argue when one of rap’s GOATs is also one of the few figures that dare us to fill in what more of a legacy he could have had. In a way, he’s Michael Jordan to a generation of people who weren’t alive when he was at his peak. He’s a myth that an older generation worships like none other. It’s also undisputed that there’s an era before Tupac and a generation of rappers and more that arrived after he left us.
“I Get Around”
“Do For Love”
“So Many Tears”
“I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto”
Born as Marshall Bruce Mathers III but known as Eminem, in 2018 he is still considered to be one of the best rappers of all time, lyrically, technically and flow wise.
Throughout his career, Mr. Slim Shady had 10 number-one albums on the Billboard 200 and five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. He is among the world’s best-selling artists of all time, with 47.4 million albums sold in the U.S. and 220 million records globally,
Plus, he is cited by many as one of the greatest and most influential artists in any genre. Not to mention, he has helped to launch the careers of artists like 50 Cent and D12 with his label Shady Records all while expanding his brand to the big screen with the hip hop film 8 Mile, which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself”, becoming the first rap artist to ever win the award.
Below are our Top 5 Favorite Eminem songs!
1. “Lose Yourself”
3. “The Real Slim Shady”
4. “The Way I Am”
5. “Without Me”