Once rappers achieve superstar status, they begin to divide their time between other business pursuits. But Lil Wayne is keeping his music in the forefront, releasing Dedication 4, the fourth set in his Dedication mixtape series.
Lack of substance aside, the New Orleans rapper performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival later this month, gushes rapid-fire rhymes about his female conquests over some of the year's hottest beats from his contemporaries Ca$h Out ("Cashin' Out"), Meek Mill ("Amen"), Future ("Same Damn Time") and Kanye West ("Mercy").
While mixtape naysayers complain about the production recycling, the familiarity of the hit tracks immediately brings excitement to the project and maintains it throughout. The challenge is on the mixtape artist to breathe new life into the songs. The New Orleans native delivers, taking on the instrumentals as if they were his own.
Amid slipping in a dis to Stevie J on "Cashed Out," he works in a few cool metaphors, "I got bars … and it's happy hour" and "How you like them apples Macintosh." He remixed his own "My Homies Still" with Young Yeezy, Jae Millz and Gudda Gudda, and features J. Cole on "Green Ranger" and Nicki Minaj on "Mercy." It's on the cover of the Kanye track that Nicki Minaj spewed her infamous rhyme about her plans to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He even spotlights Lil Mouse, the controversial 13-year-old Chicago gangsta rapper, using his popular YouTube track "Get Smoked."
Though the 15-song effort hosted by DJ Drama is a bit of a free-for-all, Wayne concludes with a poignant note on the closing song "A Dedication." He doesn't rap over OutKast's soulful trumpet-driven "SpottieOttieDopaliscious," he simply speaks, sending words of encouragement to his hometown that has again been devastated by a hurricane. "I, you, we don't want to be remembered as the lost city," he said. "Rather be remembered as the city that found glory after all that tragedy. Strength."
Lil Wayne, Green Day, Rihanna and Miranda Lambert are among the superstar artists who will perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Friday, September 21, the event's opening night. Aerosmith, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Mary J. Blige and others are playing Saturday, September 22. The shows begin at 7 p.m. PST and will be streamed exclusively on Yahoo! Music.