Lil Wayne’s Sorry 4 the Wait 2 mixtape, released earlier this week, manages the improbable: It really does make the interminable delay for Tha Carter V somewhat forgivable. The first Sorry 4 the Wait — released during the endless holdup of Tha Carter IV — was also a fun if inessential distraction, but Sorry 2 actually finds Wayne coming off more engaged and animated than he has in years. Whether he’s inspired by his diverse selection of contemporary beats, or adrenalized by his ongoing beef with Birdman and the Young Money label, or just motivated to keep up with his perpetually rising underlings (one of whom was supposedly going to drop a tape of his own this month), Weezy sounds like he legitmately gives a shit here, and that’s a pretty cool (and mostly unexpected) thing from a rapper who, in recent years, has too often sounded ike he’d rather be out skating.
All that said, it wouldn’t be a Wayne mixtape — not one from this decade, anyway — if he batted 1.000 on it. Here are the ten things that make Sorry 4 the Wait 2 exciting, and the five that hold it back from true-classic status.
1. The Young Thug-esque triplet squeaking on “Sh!t (Remix).” The lack of a Thugger beat anywhere on Sorry 4 is slightly surprising — though maybe not, given YT’s current Birdman allegiances — but the noted Wayne acolyte’s presence is felt throughout the album, particularly at the feverish “Sh!t” climax, where Weezy yelps, “Been a turd on these streets since my curtains was sheets!” Call him Old Thug, then.
2. “Got the ‘Ye locked down like Kim K.” Someone definitely got fired in Pusha T’s camp for not suggesting that one first.
3. Drake throwing drumline references — both Grambling State and Nick Cannon — on the collection’s best original new track, “Used To.”
4. Doing away with any semblance of Makonnen-ness on the “Tuesday” beat — dude is basically inimitable, and Drizzy already got to it first anyway — and just turning “Alphabet” into a 52 Lines About 26 Bitches exercise instead. Fantatstic Internet pandering with the “Drops microphone” chorus, as well.
5. Wayne not even attempting to match the chipmunk energy of Rae Sremmurd on “No Type,” and settling the beat down with a syrupy (in both senses of the word) “I’m Single”-type croon instead. “When I met codeine, it was love at first Sprite” is definitely a Tunechi all-timer.
6. “Rap Shakespeare, go Hamlet.” Take that, Jason Derulo.
7. Attempting to outdo Bobby Shmurda on “Hot Nigga,” and succeeding wildly. Weezy improves the best parts of the original — turning the shout-along “If you ain’t a ho, get up out my trap spot” into “If you ain’t got a warrant get up out my damn house” and “free breezy hoe” into “free dick and blow” — and trumps Shmurda at every turn with his absurd exuberance (“GRAPE JUICE!”). It’s enough to make you wonder if it’s worth keeping the first version around for anything but the Vines.
8. References to both Casablanca and Humphrey Bogart — in separate songs, no less. Watch out for a King Louie cameo on Tha Carter V just so Weezy can allude to the start of their beautiful friendship.
9. The much-appreciated appearance of 2 Chainz on “Preach.” Chainz is maybe the only rapper out right now with punchlines more endearingly corny than Wayne: “Eat so much benihana I need nunchucks!” B.O.A.T.S. III can’t get here soon enough.
10. Closing with “Dreams and Nightmares.” Risky, given how signature Meek Mill’s performance on it has become and how relatively old the song is by now, but turns out that beat is never a bad choice for an LP climax. Tunechi handles the iconic mid-song switch-up like a pro, too.
1. Making a truly unconscionable number of references to the album title — he’s already in the double-digit mentions by the end of the second song. The rapper doth protest too fucking much.
2. Taking on viral hits like O.T. Genasis’ “CoCo” and OG Maco’s “U Guessed It,” but not really trying to engage with them on their own terms. If you’re going to do “CoCo” without really even attempting to approximate the nuttiness of the chorus hook, or “Guessed” without any of the anarchic energy… what’s the point, honestly?
3. “It’s a jungle out there, ask Mufasa.” Swing and a miss.
4. Trying to recreate the chemistry of Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” with new squeeze/reclamation project Christina Milian. Forget sounding like they’re in a long-term and committed (but still spontaneously thrilling) relationship — Milian and Wayne don’t even sound like they’re on the same song here.
5. “Suck a nigga dick for an iPhone 6.” What, are we all out of Trukfit already?