Lil Wayne has been hustling all summer, but instead of pushing rocks, he’s been pushing mixtapes. Da Drought 3 should’ve been enough to keep any Weezy fan hooked on his hypnotic flows and far-fetched metaphors until Tha Carter 3 was released, but thanks to an unexpected leak of the long-awaited album, things changed. Not only did Wayne release Tha Carter 3 Sessions with tracks set to be on the album and announce he would be recreating the whole album, but he followed it with The Best Rapper Alive and The Carter Meets The Cartel.

Julie Rowe
Old lyrics, new beats, same Wayne. (COURTESY OF THE EMPIRE)

And just when there were enough Lil Wayne mixtapes to make your head spin, he raises the stakes with The Drought Is Over Part 4.

The big question on this latest collection is how much more content can the man release? With so many mixtapes and a prospective album still in the works, how much can you say without getting repetitive?

It’s still the Lil Wayne you know and love. There isn’t much new to the style and flow of the Louisiana native. It’s rife with screwed and chopped production as well as modified verses from Ludacris on “Fatty Girl” and Wayne’s own lyrics from “Fireman.” Though these cookie-cutter mainstream beats should be getting old by now, Weezy has somehow been able to maintain fanatical interest by using totally unlikely samples, like Beyonce’s “One Night Only” from “Dreamgirls.”

Using tracks intended to be on a studio album is a double-edged sword because he has to make Tha Carter 3 from scratch, but he also get some excellent collaborations out of it. “Burn This City” is a hard and destructive track featuring Twista contributing his swift lyrics over the heavy guitar riffs and sample ripped from Franz Ferdinand. A surprise triumph is “Get Too Comfortable” with veteran R&B soothsayer Babyface. Kanye West loops the closing string ensemble on Alicia Keys’ “U Don’t Know My Name” for a smooth and catchy beat that makes up for Wayne’s scattered lyrics.

At certain points you realize that Lil Wayne’s metaphorical index is running low when he’s saying things like “I’m still spittin / Like I ate a grenade,” or that same old hook where he repeats “I’m a beast / I’m a dog.” He’s definitely getting repetitive since half of the songs sound like old lyrics strapped to new beats.

And whoever told Lil Wayne he should sing – and not only that, but add a synthesizer to his vocals – should’ve kept his mouth shut. On “Rider,” “Money, Cars, Clothes” and “I Like It,” Wayne attempts to give rapping the backseat and try to croon his way through the tracks. It doesn’t work. It might for T-Pain or Chris Brown and even Lloyd who can get away with it, but Weezy just needs to stick with the flow.

The Drought Is Over Part 4 is really nothing special – just another Lil Wayne mixtape. But the good thing about Weezy’s mixtapes is that they’re always solid. He’s been working his ass off in the studio producing quality music, and he shows no signs of stopping. Is his style completely worn out? I’ll tell you after Da Drought 86.

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