The big news in rap this week was the release of Lil Wayne's Dedication 5 mixtape, an entry in a series that has gone from promising to classic to Auto-Tuned-to-death to Wayne's newest incarnation, Borscht-Belt-comic rap. Every song — hell, every bar sometimes — is filled with jokes that wouldn't be out of place in a Henny Youngman routine. “It's curtains for you niggas, I feel like some drapes” belongs right up there with “Take my wife…please!” in the annals of so-bad-it's-somehow-good-again jokes. Someone book Wayne in the Catskills (though, we must admit in the interest of completeness, Jean Grae got there first).
Knee-slappers aside, there was plenty going on in hip-hop over the past seven days. Below, the lines of the week:
5. “Maybe you's a stank ho, maybe that's a bit mean/Maybe you grew up and I'm still living like I'm sixteen” — Freddie Gibbs, 'Deeper' lyrics
It's not often that a rapper can be so openly self-aware as here. In this love/hate song to his girl who didn't hold him down while he was locked away, Gangsta Gibbs berates her behavior before briefly acknowledging how bizarre his expectations for their relationship really are.
4. “I slap the shit out a punk/Make ya eye celebrate Black History Month” — Sean Price, 'Rumblestick' lyrics
Another in a continuing string of fantastic Sean Price punchlines (no pun intended). This guy will seemingly never run out of amusing ways of describing how he's going to beat you up.
3. “You were the light in a lot of lives that would make us mighty/You're still that light; no coincidence your last name is Lighty” — Busta Rhymes, 'Chris Lighty' lyrics
While this lyric may sound simple, it must be heard in the context of the song. This tune was recorded days after Busta's longtime manager Lighty took his own life (a scenario that Busta expresses doubt about in the song, it must be noted). His performance on the tune is packed with raw emotion, which culminates in him speaking directly to his friend.
2. “This is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status/Chuck Berry to the masses, how I'm peeing on these bastards” — Truck North, 'Grammy Family Freestyle' lyrics
Truck North makes a joke out of perhaps the lowest moment in Berry's career — 1990 allegations that he made secret videos of women using the bathroom on his property.
1. “You feel like Ruby Dee to me, great and powerful Ossie,/Who's behind the man behind the curtain? Foxy/Coffee brown as the bosom I flew in on/Nose round like the wheels that my rims spin on” — Chance The Rapper, 'You Song' lyrics
There's so much here to unpack. The Ruby Dee/Ossie relationship, the “Ossie”/”Oz” wordplay, how Chance spins the name of his producer, Nate Fox, into a list of Pam Grier's greatest film roles (Foxy Brown and Coffy), and more to boot. As longtime supporters, we were thrilled to see Chance land on Dedication 5, but were even happier that he turned the opportunity into such a killer song.