An A-bomb was dropped on the Hip-Hop world last week, as Lil' Wayne announced that he was retiring in an interview with Sway of MTV. His last album would be the upcoming opus, Tha Carter V. Honestly, I felt no ripple of sorrow or joy as the revelation rolled across the internet. Personally, I was pleased at the news.
Wayne told MTV:
"I know ya’ll want me around for a little bit and Carter V is my last album...I’ve been rapping since I was eight years old. That’s a long time.I’d like to do so many more things, and when I like to do something, I end up loving to do it real quick. When I love to do something, I’m fully focused on it and it only. Music is sometimes not that it."
I commend Lil Wayne for stepping aside. I believe it is time for him to do that. I mean, if I hear him say one more "life is a b*tch…" metaphor, I'm going to tear my own face off. Seriously.
Personally, I once championed Lil Wayne's efforts right around that time he proclaimed himself to be the “best rapper alive since the best rapper retired.” That was 2004 and Jay-Z had announced that he was leaving the game for the umpteenth time. Wayne was a beast with no leash! At that time, Weezy was primed to TAKE the crown. But, he never did. Instead he worked with Jay and has ducked a variety of beefs. He clearly became elite, but shunned the royalty title and allowed his insurgents to "live." Perhaps his reluctance would make him a more benevolent sort of king, but I don't buy it.
I believe he opted to morph into something more influential, enigmatic and, frankly, creatively subpar - from a Hip-Hop perspective at least. Now, lets keep it real. Wayne creatively peaked at Tha Carter, but he subsequently became more interesting as an artist the more he "grew up." Claiming the Blood gang, he started to exude eccentricities reserved for rockers, but displaying quite a lot of business savvy (unless that was Cash Money's Baby) with Nicki and Drake. So, dominating the game was a family affair. But, alone I stopped paying a lot of attention to Wayne. I still checked for him on songs like "I'm Good," where he finally jabbed back at Jay-Z, but stuff like Am Not a Human Being…blah.
That's not to say that Lil' Wayne is wack. He's not. He's extremely talented. But he's no longer that guy that's driving the car in Hip-Hop. He's got a remote control or something where the likes of Nicki and Drake are at the wheel. He knows this and he's admitted age and time have crept up on him, even though he's still skating, which remains in his future.
And for the next incarnation of Lil Wayne?
"My day job will probably be sports analyst, and I’ll skate all night instead of being in the studio all night."
Sounds ambitious, but I'm not sure ESPN will want him anchoring their programs, but you never know. Stranger things have happened like those zebra print jeggins. Remember: this is coming from the man that has "I Am Music" tattooed on his face and once proclaimed "I Am Hip-Hop." It is good to acknowledge when the rigors of the game have eroded you down.
And, honestly its a run to be proud of. Equally, he should be pleased that he's more or less leaving still on top.
Juxtapose that with a cringe-worthy comeback by LL Cool J and you realize this is a good look for Wayne.
While some rejoice at his departure, its probably just a reason to eventually comeback. What's cool with Wayne, in my opinion, a break will serve him well should he decide to resurrect himself later. He can go forth and experience different things (You know, a sabbatical in Africa or rap about taking care of those kids) and creatively resuscitate himself into a new being.
Hell, coming back human ain't so bad. At least, we'll relate.