Lil Wayne is incredibly sorry. Again.

Sorry 4 the Wait 2 Mixtape

Lil Wayne

For the second time in a row, Wayne is battling his label, Cash Money, to release the next installment in his Tha Carter album series. Tha Carter V was originally scheduled to come out late October 2014, then early December. The release date is now TBD.

As an apology to his fans, Wayne released “Sorry 4 the Wait 2,” a mixtape of his own rap on top of other artists’ beats and some of his own. It’s a move akin to that of Leslie Knope (I was late on a deadline? Here’s a “little something” I threw together for you). For fans, it’s hard to stay mad at a guy who keeps his constituency at the forefront of his mind.

Now, I should make a brief disclaimer: I’ve long had mixed feelings about Lil Wayne. On one hand, I spent half of my freshman year playing his bangers on repeat in my dorm room, memorizing every word of songs like “A Milli,” “6 Foot 7 Foot” and “Love Me.” On the other hand, I’m generally underwhelmed by his deeper tracks. His work as a whole doesn’t grab me, and he’s not in my top five. As a rock analogy, I’d compare him to Van Halen: there’s plenty of talent to be impressed with, but purists of the genre probably don’t consider it top echelon material. That said: I found plenty to like in this tape.

Sorry 4 the Wait 2 goes beyond a mere apology project. Notable tracks include previously released “Shit,” and “Fingers Hurting,” both examples of Lil Wayne in prime form. He gives his own take on some of the hottest beats from 2014, including “Tuesday (ILoveMakonnen),” “Hot Nigga (Bobby Shmurda)” and “Drunk in Love (Beyoncé).” I’d even say he tops the original artists on “No Type” (Rae Sremmurd) and “Coco” (O.T. Genasis).

In true Weezy fashion, the rap is a mix of aggressive flow and slower discussions of his encounters with notably attractive women. There are also plenty of Wayne’s classic two-line zings that make me smile in spite of myself — like on “Trap House” where he says “I wrote a letter to my competition / it started off with dearly departed.”

Included on the tape are adequate contributions from Drake and 2 Chainz. Also featured are the lesser known Mack Maine and Shanell, as well as Christina Milian on “Drunk In Love.” Each track is laced with apologies as Wayne flexes his rapping prowess across 17 songs.

Weezy fans should be satisfied for a short time with this mixtape. Why shouldn’t they be? Wayne is going beyond the call of duty here so he can only surpass expectations in my eyes. Plus, he’s putting out more music while waiting for his eleventh studio album. He’s no slouch.

So, no need to apologize to us, Weezy. I’m sorry for you.

Wayne has publicly expressed his understandable frustration with Cash Money. This is the second major release he’s had to delay — the rapper issued Sorry 4 the Wait in 2011 when Tha Carter IV’s release was similarly delayed. Wayne took to Twitter this past December, reporting “To all my fans, I want u to know that my album won’t and hasn’t been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it,” adding in another Tweet that “this is not my fault.” He also announced his intentions to get out of the “f***ed up” situation soon at the Vice 20th Anniversary concert; his manager quickly denied that Wayne would be leaving Cash Money, saying he was “being sarcastic.”

It’s hard to downplay how detrimental label issues can be for rap artists. The most notable example is probably Azealia Banks, whose debut album Broke With Expensive Taste was delayed for over two years and was only released in September 2014 after she left Universal Music in July. During the wait, Banks lost most of the hype she’d accumulated with her single “212” and another, similarly named, female rapper rose into the spotlight. Obviously, Wayne isn’t fighting to get noticed as an up-and-comer the way Banks was, but the delay could very well prove damaging to Tha Carter V’s legacy.

Instead of releasing the album in 2014, a relatively quiet year for hip-hop releases in my eyes, he will now have to fight for notoriety with Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Drake, Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Pusha T, Earl Sweatshirt, Kid Cudi — the list goes on and on.

This isn’t at all to say that the album will go unnoticed, and if Sorry 4 the Wait 2 is any indicator, then it could very well hold its own as a top album of the year. Still, I think it’s safe to say us listeners are more concerned if Lil Wayne can survive the wait — not the other way around.

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