It seems like every other week someone is writing another review of yet another Lil Wayne mixtape. Hopefully, this’ll be the end of it – at least for a while. Da Drought Is Over 5 appears to be the last in a seemingly endless stream of mixtapes in preparation for his upcoming studio release Tha Carter III. In danger of becoming hip-hop’s Chinese Democracy, Wayne’s third Carter installment is undeniably the most anticipated release since Jay-Z or Nas’s latest albums – whether or not you regard Weezy in the same category as these legendary MCs. But unlike Wayne’s recent mixtapes, Da Drought Is Over 5 is a collection of awkward beats, forced or recycled rhymes and cannabis-born jams.

Early returns on Tha Carter III were relatively positive. The previously released David-Banner-produced “La La La” is an incredible example of Weezy’s Southern drawl laid perfectly over high-powered beats, and the more recent “Gossip” features his signature wordplay and violent swagger – both tracks rumored to appear on Tha Carter III. But the album’s latest single “Lollipop” – the only of the aforementioned tracks to appear on Da Drought Is Over 5 – shines a significantly dimmer light on what is supposed to be the proper come out party for hip-hop’s second-coming.

Da Drought Is Over 5 is mainly plagued by Wayne’s studio ramblings. Videos that were once YouTube fodder of Weezy sitting around the studio, drinking sizzurp and getting baked out of his mind now find their way onto his releases. They range from the inane (“Carter 3 Is Coming”) to the unfortunate counterargument to his freestyling abilities (“I’m a Dog Ya”). The latter of which carrying gems like, “Welcome to the Carter / Little shop of horror / Bloody like a period / After D R-a / Doctor I’m a dog.”

The rest of the mixtape suffers from the beat selection, which is drab at best when juxtaposed against the rest of the Drought series. On the prolific Drought 3, Wayne chose top shelf beats from artists like T.I. and Young Jeezy. But now, he settles for b-rate beats that are not only less recognizable and memorable but also noticeably less polished.

This decision points toward something significantly more disturbing about Lil Wayne as of late: He’s starting to let his own “I’m the best rapper alive” claim get to his head and ultimately his music. In the past, Wayne’s confidence bolstered his fiery ambition. He sounded like he had something to prove to everyone. But now, Wayne sounds like he truly believes he’s the best; as if, now that most people believe he’s the best, his work is over. Consequently, he delivers tracks like “Lollipop,” “Open Shop” and “Single Again” rather than hits like “La La La.”

Da Drought Is Over 5 is not enough to completely disregard everything Wayne’s done in the last two years, but it’s certainly going to take the hype surrounding Tha Carter III down a notch or two. If it weren’t for his insatiable ability to spit the sickest metaphors anyone’s ever heard, this mixtape would be entirely disposable. So paradoxically, Da Drought Is Over 5 is good and bad for the same reason: It was made by Lil Wayne – his undeniable prowess keeping it afloat while his ever-growing ego weighs too heavily on the disc’s shoulders.

Rating: Lil Wayne

Da Drought Is Over 5

Self-released

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