Wayne's World: Part 1 Of The Dedication Series

 By Devon

Growing up, one of my favorite ways to learn about new artists and music was finding mixtapes to listen to. Just as I gained consistent access to the internet, my thirst for Hip Hop was at its height. I hit the jackpot learning that rappers were releasing quality music for free and one of the biggest mainstream artists at the time had one of the most popular of the previous decade and now one of the most lackluster of this decade. The series I’m referencing is the Dedication series by Lil Wayne. Now I plan on doing a retrospective or review of the entire series which now consists of 7 projects (Dedication 1 through 6 and then D6 Reloaded). However, let’s get started talking about the first and in my personal opinion, the best of the series. Now don’t mistake this for being my favorite, but I do believe some of Wayne’s best rapping in the entire series is featured on this tape.

History

Before we talk about the actual music on this project, I wanted to give a brief history of how this tape came to be. Now the Dedication series is hosted by DJ Drama as a part of his Gangsta Grillz line of mixtapes which is still going today. Dedication 1 officially dropped in April 2005, though Wikipedia has it listed as December 13, 2005, which was the same week that Carter 2 released. Now that would have been a hell of a week to be a Lil Wayne fan. Tuesdays are usually uneventful but imagine getting a classic album in C2 and then the following Tuesday getting one of the greatest mixtapes of all time. However, the real date was in April 2005, at a time where there was speculation about Wayne possibly leaving Cash Money and joining Def Jam with his favorite rapper, Jay-Z as the president of that label. 


Earlier in the year in February, Wayne would release a 2-disc mixtape titled Lil Wayne Presents Young Money the Mixtape. Similar to the Squad Up series, this is a Wayne tape featuring his Young Money artists at the time Curren$y, Mack Maine, and Boo. The reason I’m mentioning this project is because the entirety of the Dedication mixtape consists of all the content that was on Young Money The Mixtape. For songs like Down and Out/Killa Cam Freestyle on the YM tape, the Young Money artists verses are removed and Wayne’s verse is kept. And in others, Wayne’s verse is swapped with another beat. For example, Wayne's 2nd verse and chorus on “No Problem” is used for “Motivation” on Dedication. A bit confusing right?

  


Something I found interesting while doing research for this video is that if you look at the February 2005 archive for the official Young Money website we see links to download each song off of the Young Money tape individually and the cover for the tape which says DJ Drama Presents: Gangsta Grillz 23: The Dedication. Now if you were to go to any website in search of the Young Money mixtape, you’d see the same cover with the “Lil Wayne Presents” title I mentioned earlier. So it seems like this was always intended to be a part of the Gangsta Grillz lineage, but at some point the Young Money Crew got dropped from the project. And to be honest it was for the best. 



Although for the most part, I do prefer the Dedication version of these tracks (mainly because I can’t be arsed to give a shit about either Boo or Mack Maine), there are a couple of songs that I prefer on from the Young Money mixtape:



1. Like Dat

When people bring up Mixtape Wayne and just the mixtape era in general, I think of songs like this. You’ve got Wayne rapping over the Like Dat beat by Stat Quo, and literally making it his own. The song is only like a minute and 20 seconds, you’ve got Wayne in his natural element, the classic  Gangsta Grillz tag before it got annoying. And then it’s over. There’s no second verse or chorus, it’s just bars and onto the next song.

2. Over Here & We Pimpin Y’all/Simpin on the YM

-Although I do like the original version of this song with Jeezy and Bun B, to me this song is another example of Wayne taking a song and making it his own. This song is filled with high energy and a charismatic verse. This a weird one for me. I prefer the Dedication version of this track because it’s shorter, but I like Curren$y’s verse on the Young Money tape. But for whatever reason, Curren$y and Mack Maine’s were removed and Boo’s average verse was kept. 


3. I’m A Ridah/2Pac Dedication

-This is Wayne rapping over the Made Niggaz beat by 2Pac which is one of my favorite songs and music videos by him. With Wayne always citing 2Pac as a big influence for him being a rapper, it’s always been surprising to me that he hasn’t rapped over other classic Pac songs. He’s done this and then he rapped over Ambitionz as A Ridah on the 2nd half of Georgia Bush on Dedication 2. Review coming Soon. 

4. Knuck If You Buck 

-Now this is one of the songs where I prefer the Young Money version. I’m not generally a big fan of Posse cuts but I felt like each member had a serviceable verse and it just felt like they were meant to be on this song. I also felt Wayne’s verse fits better on the Knuck If You Buck beat over the Stilletos beat by Crime Mob. I may even go as far as saying this is my favorite Wayne verse on the entire mixtape. But that could change tomorrow.



Final Thoughts

-Like I said earlier, to me this is some of Wayne’s best rapping in the entire Dedication series. In music, namely Hip Hop, we often hear the term hunger or “being hungry” used in reference to rappers who have the desire to improve or to even be the best, and to me it's evident in this project that Wayne was hungry. I’d say from the year that this was released in 05 to 2007 with the release of the Drought 3, Wayne improved immensely not just in terms of rapping ability, but also his creativity. I would rate this mixtape an 8/10. I’m not the biggest fan of the beat selection on this project and would even go as far as saying that the beat selection on Young Money The Mixtape is superior. Despite that, I still think this project is well deserving of the overused “classic” title. Stay tuned as I continue to give you more deep dives on the Dedication Series!

-Devon

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