My favourite mixtape has to be Lil Wayne’s Da Drought series, a slew of about six or seven mixtapes that are so good I can’t choose one of them, so I’ll have to go for all of them. I’m sorry I can’t pick one, it’s just too hard!
Listening to those mixtapes defined my life in many ways; I was at Timberlake Neighbourhood Park in Virginia when I heard Da Drought 3 for the first time and the first thing that popped up in my mind is that this Lil Wayne is on some shit! Is he a fireman or something, because this nigga is on some shit.
The timing of the album was so important; I had just been kicked out of school and I was running around in the streets, wilding out and the mixtape heated us up a bit more to do some shit. Niggas definitely didn’t calm down after listening to that joint!
Da Drought 3 came out in 2006 and, if, anything, it fuelled us up more and made us pursue the wrong path. It was kind of fucked up in that way but the mixtape is still so important to me. Imagine hearing something like ‘I feel like dying’ when you’re in the sixth grade and still being an avid fan! We must have played that shit about 100 times a day.
Whenever I have writer’s block I definitely go back to Da Drought 3 to give me some inspiration, and to try to recapture the times and what Weezy was on. I wasn’t introduced to any new artists or producers though, because at the time, you’re not really paying attention to that aspect of the music, you’re just trying to hear what the fuck Wayne was saying!
Man, the covers of the mixtapes were real cheesy; it looked like they were made real quick and were Photoshopped or some other shit. One of them – I think it was The Drought Is Over 2 – actually wasn’t cheesy and might be the hardest out of all of them.
It had Wayne standing in the middle of New Orleans during a flood, and there’s a bus underwater and a nigga drowning, with thunder and lightning and everything. It was fucking hard! The Drought Is Over 2’s cover is definitely more artistic than cheesy, but I can’t say that for some of the others; they were just not! But it didn’t affect the music for me at all. The Drought Is Over 4’s cover has to be the worst ever.
I never had an official physical copy of any of the tapes, but we burnt the CDs back then and they were in heavy rotation, but I don’t have them anymore; I don’t even have anything to play it with and you don’t need to anymore.
‘Sky’s The Limit’ off Da Drought 3 is, hands down, my favourite song out of the whole collection, as well as ‘Trouble’ and ‘One Night Only’ off The Drought Is Over 4. Those three had some wild epic shit going on, like I got head in the park for the first time listening to ‘Sky’s The Limit’, so that joint especially is very memorable to me. I was on MySpace trying to holla at the baddest new chick at my middle school and I bagged her! With ‘Trouble’, I lost a homie back in 2007 and that song just hit me hard. Those songs were, essentially, the soundtrack to my life at the time.
If I had to describe the series in three words, the first word I would use is definitely overwhelming. I was not ready for what was on any of those tapes, or for Wayne to come up with that kind of consistency. I was waiting for this nigga to fall off, but he just kept getting better. The second word I would use is brilliant, because that shit really was brilliant.
Finally, I would say the series is under-appreciated, because people don’t really remember that Lil Wayne anymore, so the series is definitely not given the respect it deserves. It kind of ended after Tha Carter III but he’s still one of my favourite rappers and probably the most influential to me, mainly because of the Da Drought series.
Words by DP.