Despite being deemed a sellout who endorsed Donald Trump, Lil Wayne is seemingly on a run. In a year that can be compared to the height of Wayne’s career when he was dropping mixtapes and guest verses in abundance leading up to 2008’s record-breaking The Carter III, the Young Money rapper dropped over 50 songs in 2020 alone.
In addition to his Funeral album in January, its deluxe edition in May and his No Ceilings 3 mixtape in November, Wayne has also made numerous guest appearances throughout the pandemic-stricken year – from Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin (Remix)” with Tory Lanez and DaBaby to YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s “My Window,” The Game’s “A.I. With The Braids,” Benny the Butcher’s “Timeless” with Big Sean, and more.
Funeral served as Wayne’s thirteenth studio effort, and featured 24 songs with guest appearances ranging from Big Sean to Lil Baby, Jay Rock, Adam Levine, his ColleGrove collaborator 2 Chainz, Migos rapper Takeoff, The-Dream, Lil Twist, O.T. Genasis and the late XXXTentacion. With a debut atop the Billboard 200, the effort marked Wayne’s fifth No. 1 album with album-equivalent units of 139,000 sold.
He followed up months later with an additional eight songs on the deluxe, though it didn’t make as much noise as the initial release. This time, Weezy called upon Doja Cat, Tory Lanez, Lil Uzi Vert, Benny The Butcher, Conway the Machine and Jessie Reyez to assist.
“Working out my demons, that’s beautiful,” he raps on “Life Is Good.” “And bae off of that riesling, she super loose/I smoke it, she say pass it, she doing too much/Haven’t done my taxes, fucking with Trump.”
His Young Money artist Drake made an appearance on NC3‘s “B.B. King Freestyle,” as well as YM’s Lil Twist, Gudda Gudda, Hoodybaby and Cory Gunz, among others. In a nod to his mixtape era, he premiered the effort exclusively on DatPiff before it was later released to all streaming services. Conversely months earlier, he brought the first and most popular installment of the series to streaming services after years of only being available on the aforementioned mixtape site.
“Well Wayne spent the whole summer with us,” Jim said. “We spent the whole summer with Juelz pretty much. He just adapted all the styles. He pretty much knew what he was doing. He knew what he needed and shit like that to persevere in this game. And that was to be able to get an identity shift and shit like that. That’s what he did and shit like that. You dig.”
“It was natural,” he continued. “It happens like that. Most people that hang around us end up moving in one accord and shit like that, which is not a bad thing. If I was around some niggas like us, I would try to move like that too. These niggas looking kind of smooth, they fly, they gangsters. So shouts out to Wayne, shouts out to the whole Cash Money and shit like that.”
In 2021, Wayne kicked the year off with the release of his new single “Ain’t Got Time,” which likely means a new project isn’t too far off. It appears that the onslaught of music will continue – but will it lead up to an album selling a million units its first week like mixtape Weezy did with C3? Time will eventually tell.