Appreciating an ending era of rap

I grew up on Lil Wayne, Eminem and Kanye West and want to cherish every last song they release

By on October 2, 2018

Music has a strange way of shaping our lives and memories.

Personally, I grew up listening to Lil Wayne, Kanye, Eminem, Drake, Kendrick and J. Cole. So many of their songs create nostalgic feelings about my childhood.

This past weekend, myself and other rap fanatics got to relive some of that nostalgia.

First, five-time Grammy-award winning rapper Lil Wayne released his newest album, “Tha Carter V” at midnight on Friday, Sept. 28, which also happened to be his 36th birthday. It was his first album since he dropped “I Am Not A Human Being II” in 2013.

In addition to that, Kanye West is expected to release his latest album, “Yandhi,” in the coming months.

“We’re releasing ‘Yandhi’ Saturday night,” West tweeted last Thursday. “We know it will come in number 2 to my brother Lil Wayne and that’s lovely. The universe needs Ye and Wayne music at the same time.” 

While Kanye’s album has not released yet, I have to say I agree. It may be a lot of music to digest, but I’m all for it.

Wayne’s album, which contains 23 songs, features rappers Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Travis Scott, the late XXXTENTACION and more.

While it contains a few more slower songs than we are used to on a Lil Wayne album, “Tha Carter V” marks the return of one of rap’s greatest and most influential artists.

“‘Tha Carter V’ seeks to mythologize this era,” the Rolling Stone’s Charles Holmes writes.

@ATROSSITY22/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
While Holmes believes that Wayne and Kanye West’s latest album drops are the signaling of an end of an era, I’d like to put a different spin on it.

In a time where, as J.Cole put it, “trap drums” are the new wave, I feel that music from some of the most revered artists of our generation was necessary.

Instead of the senseless songs by the likes of Lil Pump, Lil Xan and Tekashi 69 to name a few, I would rather go back and listen to well-crafted lyrically savvy music of the artists who brought hip-hop along in my lifetime.

Eminem’s release of “Kamikaze” earlier this month, coupled with these latest release by Lil Wayne and eventually Kanye’s bring me back to those days one more time.

Those three specifically defined an era in rap, that for me, feels as if it is on its last leg and needs to be appreciated.

From my entire high school weight room blasting Wayne’s “Steady Mobbin’” during basketball lifting sessions, to running out to songs from Kanye and Jay Z’s “Watch The Throne” in middle school, to listening to Wayne and Drake’s “Right Above It” and Eminem’s “Not Afraid” on a daily basis, so many of my memories encompass the work of these artists.

I wrote in my album review of “Kamikaze” that, “If you’re at all a rap fan, “Kamikaze” deserves a listen,” because we really don’t know how much longer we will be able to appreciate new music from Eminem.

The same goes for “Tha Carter V”
and “Yandhi.”

We’ve seen both Wayne and Kanye change over their careers in terms of their personalities and music. But regardless, the people loved it all.

Kanye’s “Graduation” sold 957,000 copies in its first week in 2007.

Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” sold over a million its first week about a year later in 2008.

Now, in 2018, the hype is still there.

As of Friday morning, nine of the 23 songs on “Tha Carter V” were in iTunes Daily Top 100 songs.

Athletes such as LeBron James posted videos on their social media listening to “Tha Carter V.”

LeBron posted a video on his Instagram story with the caption, “WOWZERS!!!!!! ‘Mona Lisa’ @liltunechi and @kendricklamar absolutely murdered this track! #ThaCarterV.”

In addition, Chance the Rapper offered his thoughts on “Tha Carter V” via video posted by XXL Magazine on Twitter.

“I’m about to have my own private, little listening session to C5,” Chance said. “I just got to say, man, thank you Lil Wayne because beyond the fact that you got me my first number one record, my first ever Grammy, you taught me so much from far away. So I just want to say thank you for dropping this.”

Lil Wayne, Kanye and Eminem’s influence on the rap game will never go unnoticed. They brought us so many artists, including Drake, and gave us an era of rap that I will never forget.

“Tha Carter V”, “Kamikaze” and eventually “Yandhi” may not be the best work that these artists have ever produced, but there is still so much to love about each of them.

For now, rather than wondering if they’ve fallen off or are out of their prime, I suggest that we all appreciate the work of these amazing artists while they are still producing new songs.

And while it may be the end of an era in rap, it is an era that I will always cherish for the amazing memories that it helped bring me.

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