As I write this, I have the last great Lil Wayne mixtape, No Ceilings, playing, so don’t think I’m just a biased Wayne hater who always thought he was trash. In fact, for a few years, up until 2010, when he started playing guitar and went to serve an eight month prison sentence for a gun charge, Weezy was hands down my favorite rapper. However, once his sentence was up and he started calling himself Lil Tunechi, something just didn’t seem right. Even while he was locked up, when his team managed to put out I Am Not A Human Being with songs recorded when he was still in his prime, it just wasn’t the same as listening to some of the classics he has put out like Da Drought 3, Dedication 2, and the aforementioned No Ceilings. I’m not quite sure what changed, maybe it was the lip piercing or the guitar, but instead of listening to Wayne go in verse after verse, song after song, we were now dealing with average, even below average, rap.

Shortly after his release though, before we even knew about Sorry 4 The Wait and Tha Carter IV, Wayne seemed like he was getting things back on track. In one week in January of 2011, he had two new verses out and most people seemed pretty pleased. The first was on DJ Khaled‘s “Welcome To My Hood”, and it was certainly better than most of his material he had put out in the year before, but the crown jewel that gave his fans hope was on Ace Hood‘s “Hustle Hard Remix”. From his flow, to the aggressiveness he displayed, to some of the wordplay, even, this was the Wayne we were used to hearing. Then, the first single from the fourth installment of Tha Carter series was released, and while it did show flashes of Wayne in his prime, it was also riddled with what has come to be known as “New Lil Wayne“. If you don’t know what “New Lil Wayne” consists of, I’ll briefly explain it. “New Lil Wayne” tries line after line to come up with the best punchlines, and fails miserably 95% of the time. It’s almost a guarantee he’ll tell his girl to “pop that pussy” at least one time every song, and finally, he’ll advertise his new clothing line, Trukfit (which is complete trash by the way), usually at least twice a song.

In August of last year, while we were all waiting for Tha Carter IV, Wayne put out Sorry 4 The Wait. We were all hoping the “Old Lil Wayne” or “Mixtape Weezy” would show up like we were so accustomed to hearing. Aside from maybe one track (“Rollin’ (Remix)”), Wayne just didn’t have it, and for most people the thing they would remember most was a Lil B verse on the “Grove St. Party” remix only because it was hysterical. After that, was the infamous VMA performance in which Wayne performed wearing women’s leopard print leggings; just “New Lil Wayne” being “New Lil Wayne“. Later that night, when Tha Carter IV officially released, and fans were hoping yet again that this would mark his return. And yet again, Wayne disappointed, delivering only a handful of decent songs, and being out shined by nearly all of the features except a Shyne verse that would be skipped by everybody who knew it was there. However, despite almost everybody I know criticizing the album, it almost went platinum in one week. And maybe that’s the problem. By supporting this music that we don’t really like, he starts to think that’s what we want from him, and so that’s what we get.

That brings us to where we are today, the day after Dedication 4 dropped, and it has made its way into iTunes across the world. We were all once again hoping that because the Dedication series is such a big name, Wayne would finally return with A+ material. Surprise, surprise, that was not the case. He showed small flashes of his past self, namely on “Cashed Out” (at least in my opinion), but to all of our dismays, “New Lil Wayne” struck again. There are countless references to Trukfit and him eating pussy, but very few about stuff we want to hear. From 2006-2009, Wayne would have shredded the beats on D4, but it seems like those days are behind us now. I guess there’s only one thing left to do at this point, lay “Old Lil Wayne” to rest, because he certainly has become a thing of the past and it seems like “New Lil Wayne” is here to stay. R.I.P. Old Lil Wayne, you will be missed dearly.

Continue on for my handpicked list of Old Lil Wayne‘s best tracks and New Lil Wayne‘s worst tracks.

And don’t forget to follow me on twitter, @TheMrHyde