One of the (more idiotic) things I’d read in regard to Lil Wayne and his latest opus Tha Carter III was that there was too much of Wayne’s personality on the album. My reaction: I suppose people don’t get it. We like our celebrities to be a type of “character.” Outlandish personalities stand out. People gravitate to these unique and larger-than-life personas.
Sure, there may be more “skilled” rappers out there, but they’re boringasthemotherfuck. If Black Thought ever drops a solo, it will never go (multi-)platinum because as a person Mr. Trotter is a colossal bore. That is not a diss, I’m not trying to take anything away from the Roots’ frontman, but he doesn’t stir the imagination, doesn’t cause excitement in the masses.
But someone like Wayne — or Cam’ron, or 50 Cent, or Kanye West — they attain that level of success and celebrity because they capture the public’s fancy. Be it through their nonsensical rhymes, ostentatious nature, proclivity to conflict, or swollen ego. Even someone as respected andrevered as Nas was at his most popular when he assumed the larger-than-life persona of a Mafia don, dealing coke with Italians and wearing pink leisure suits in the desert.
People also act as if Wayne wasn’t always the eclectic one in the crew during CMR’s halcyon days. The nigga was inserting sound effects into his rhymes, making funny faces in videos, wearing flamboyant Iceberg gear. He always made an attempt to stand out.
At the end of the day, Tha Carter III is a successful album not because Wayne has fulfilled the promise of becoming the “best rapper alive” by hip-hop purist standards, but because he’s unafraid to let his personality come out, to expose himself in his work. Wayne has come into his own as an artist and an entertainer.