My favourite mixtape in the world is Dedication 3 by Lil Wayne, because I feel like, at that period of time in his career, he was really dominant and killing not just the mainstream but also the mixtape game as well. He really put a stamp in the mixtape game and I just feel like he put a lot of people onto Drake and Nicki Minaj early in their careers.
The first time I had ever really sat down and listened to Lil Wayne was when my cousin Nino had moved from Ohio – I was only really on the Hot Boys shit before then – and then I started really listening from Da Drought Is Over to Da Drought 3, and I just became hooked.
The first time I ever heard Dedication 3, I was in sixth grade on MySpace and my cousin Phil had the song ‘Dick Pleaser’ on his profile. I clicked the link, listened to it and Lil Wayne just snapped! I was still listening to a lot of Wayne at that time but I was never up to date; I was just going back. So I did it in a reverse way; I listened to all the mixtapes first, before the Dedication series. I was still heavy on Dedication 2. So after listening to ‘Dick Pleaser’ I listened to every other song on the tape and was like “yeah dawg, this is my favourite!”
That whole mixtape is Weezy in his prime, and he sounds so relaxed, like its child’s play to him. He was really ripping shit. At the time I was listening to a lot of early 90s boom bap, and I knew the true essence of hip-hop because I was taught thoroughly about it by my parents. So as I started getting older, like eight or nine years old, in fourth or fifth grade, I started listening to the more current shit, and it changed my whole perspective because it made me realise that I can flow however I want, on any beat, and not have to stick with the traditional boom bap sound.
Lil Wayne influenced the way I wanted to rap a lot, more in the sense that he sparked a creative side in my head that told me I could do whatever the fuck I wanted to, as long as you come correct and give the shit all you got, and show dominance on a track. Even if you hear Wayne on features at the time, no one was really coming at records with the metaphors, punchlines and similes the way he was.
The mixtape cover is him standing against with a wall, with his face to the side, and the colours are black, white and red with the title. I remember that shit vividly because when I saw that mixtape cover I was like “bruh, that shit is fucking hard!” I thought he should have just done a little comic book series with the Dedication series; that would have been tight!
As an eight or nine-year-old looking at the cover, I was so used to looking at album covers with people’s faces and real life photos; you didn’t really see many cartoons. Maybe some Wu-Tang or Pharcyde, but Wayne made that shit relevant again. He brought back the artistic side of covers, and that made me think I could come up with themes and character with my covers.
My favourite song out of the whole joint has to be ‘Magic’, because the fact he used a UGK beat and sang autotune was amazing. At the time, I thought it was cool but as I got older and did my history and started listening to UGK, I listened back to ‘Magic’ and, yo, this nigga fucking killed it!
Dedication 3, to me, is just pure dominance. I don’t even think I could have three words to describe it, because he just dominated every single beat that he got on from start to finish. Even with the intro, when he says “Are we doing this shit again”, you can tell that its just child’s play to him and it amazes me that an artist of his calibre did it so effortlessly and care free. Now you have artists in their prime and they want to milk that shit, and Wayne took advantage of his position by continuously showing he could body any track, and he just did it.
He really was the greatest rapper alive at the time, and I still think he is. Wayne has been doing this since he was 14 and spitting hard as fuck since then, and I don’t think a lot of people realise that. Every time he was on the mic, he commanded your attention, and it took a minute for one artist to gain as much attention as he did at that time. He was running the game for a long time and made it hard for a lot of niggas.
If I was to put a price on Dedication 3, I’d pay $20 on iTunes for that shit, plus tax, and he can keep the iTunes fee and all that shit. If I had Jay Z money, I would buy however amount he bought of Nipsey Hussle’s mixtape that time!
Words by wifisfuneral.