2011 has been quite a year for Lil Wayne. After launching two of the biggest acts in hip hop, Drake and Nicki Minaj, his Young Money legacy lasted through his eight-month prison stint, and kept fans wondering what he would do next. Weezy made some big promises, slating three releases for 2011 including the Carter IV, Like Father Like Son II and an untitled collaboration album with Drake.
To kick off the year, he released a slew of singles, including “6 Foot & Foot” with Corey Gunz, blew up the smash hit “Look At Me Now” with Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes and tried his hand at the Drake-style singing rap with his latest release, “How To Love”.
Some say Wayne has been working on the fourth installment of his Carter series back in 2008. Young Money president Mack Maine planned on releasing the album on Weezy’s release day from prison. In March, on opening night of his I Am Still Music tour, he changed the drop date to May 16.
“It can come out tomorrow ’cause I’m so finished,” he said at the time. But in April, the date was again pushed back until June 21.”He’s still perfecting a few things, he’s a perfectionist … changing a few lines,” Maine told MTV at the time. “If you calculate all of that, by the time we would’ve finished mixing, we wouldn’t have met the [original] due date to turn in the album.”
Now that the first, second and third set of release dates have come and gone, the Carter IV has been pushed back until August 29. In the meantime, Weezy has created a mixtape,Sorry For The Wait, to be released to eager fans while they wait for the full enchilada. He likens the project to his super-successful, 2007 mixtape, No Ceilings, telling MTV, “Yeah, it’s gonna be just like No Ceilings, taking the f— over a n—a’s beat. You know what it is, killin’ n—as sh–,” he said. He’s referring to his signature style of rapping over already-successful hits, and making them-well, better. “Make a n—a pissed, mad as a mother—-er he ain’t call me to get on that mother—-er originally. Like, ‘F—, if I’d have took this n—a call this n—a’s song wouldn’t be hotter than mine!”
What does Weezy want now? He wants to retire. According to the New Orleans-based rapper, he may be ready to hang up the mic after Carter IV’s release. The 28-year-old father of four wants to spend more time with his kids, whose mothers include singer, Nivea, actress, Lauren London and ex-wife, Toya Carter. “Honestly, this is the real truth,” Wayne continued. “I honestly think it’s unfair to my kids. I’m super dedicated into what I do. Like, it’s no questions—it’s hands down, I do this. I live this. I don’t have a day out my week that I do something else. I do this every day of my life, and I’m not about to stop, ’cause that’s the only way you can succeed in this business, is to do it the way I do it.”
Wonder how he’ll reconcile that sentiment with his big touring plans. He’s recently added forty more dates to his I Am Still Music tour, extending it through September. But Weezy doesn’t want to stop there. He told MTV in June that his touring days will last a lifetime. “I actually plan on being one of those artists, with all the music and all the work I’m putting out, I believe that later on down the line, I can do Vegas. I can be the first hip-hop artist to do Vegas every night. That’s the plan.”
Why the sudden change of heart for the once tireless emcee? Perhaps the prison time gave him time to prioritize and reflect on the downside of his fame. Fans got a glimpse of the darker days during last month’s MTV “Unplugged” special, where he prompted his performance of “Nightmare Of The Bottom” by saying, “Everybody says it’s lonely at the top. It is lonely, so I dream, though, and the only thing I dream about is being down there with the people that ain’t lonely. And that’s simply what it is: nightmares of the bottom.” The songs lyrics sum up Weezy’s fear of the fall from fame. “Sleeping at the top/ Nightmares of the bottom/ Everybody wanna be fly, until you swat ‘em.”
With eight solo albums and more than 10 million records sold, he’s thinking of calling it quits. But will he follow the same road as another famous Carter, announcing his retirement only to resurrect his career. Is this a real possibility or a publicity ploy? Only time will tell.