“I don’t wish jail on anybody.” While behind bars, Lil Wayne handwrote daily journal entries that were recently published in Gone ‘Til November in his original penmanship. The prison memoir, while remarkable, is the only thing of note the New Orleans rapper has released on his own in 2016.
He wants out of his contract and believes he’s due money the label allegedly withheld from him for his anticipated 12th studio album, They Carter V. Settlement talks have stalled, and the album, which is reaching a Detox -like status, remains in limbo.
But in jail, his imagination was confined to a pen and paper, and his lyrical originality has suffered ever since. “ seemed to kill his spirit, his creativity and certainly his output,” grime author Hattie Collins recently said.
Despite the success of his first post-prison album, 2011’s They Carter IV, which sold 900,000-plus copies in the first week and eventually went double platinum (though not without controversy), Lil Wayne hasn’t released a No. The ones who were in grade school when Lil Wayne dropped his debut solo album They Block Is Hot in 1999.
In 2013, due in large part to the musical heights he reached before going to prison, Lil Wayne passed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most Billboard Hot 100 hit songs since the chart was launched in 1958. Other solo artists on the list include James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Jay-Z, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.
In September, the three rappers went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Lil Wayne made a clever impromptu change to the end of his verse. On the Intro of DJ Drama’s 2016 Quality Street Music 2, his bravado and wordplay returned: I play the hand that was dealt, I got a deck full of aces / I gave birth to your style, I need a check for my labor.
Then there're his grittier verses, such as the one on Sucker For Pain, the theme song of the 2016 DC Comics film Suicide Squad and the first No. After his trademark lighter flicks, he raps, I’m devoted to destruction / A full dosage of detrimental dysfunction / I’m dying slow but the devil trying to rush me / See I’m a fool for pain, I’m a dummy.
/ And when I attempted suicide, I didn’t die / I remember how mad I was on that day / Man, you have to let it go before it get up in the way. Add that to suicidal thoughts, and the deterioration of his relationship with Bird man, and the prospect of his true retirement from music has become a reality.
So for the Michael Jordan of hip-hop, will there ever be a new solo album, like he hinted at on his late 2015 cover of Futures Where Ya At ? He primarily writes on sneakers/apparel and hosts the platform’s “Sneaker Box” video series.
PHOTO: NBC/NBCUniversal/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Tuscaloosa, Alabama celebrates with massive crowds after the University of Alabama won the national championship in football.