Last October, Lil Wayne put down his guitar and came back to his microphone, making a triumphant return to the mixtape market with the release of the street-oriented No Ceilings mixtape. Wayne’s underground opus was a commercial success, spawning radio singles while paving a direct path for other mixtape-based projects from his rap peers, including Fabolous and Jim Jones.
As was the case with Young Money partner-in-rhyme Drake on So Far Gone, fans salivated over Weezy’s dominating wordplay on a wide selection of beats. But according to Drizzy Drake, Wayne’s reunion with his core audience was a direct result of his isolation from hip-hop while recording the rock fused album Rebirth, which almost left the mixtape in limbo.
Taking a page from the Dwayne Carter playbook, Drake said he chose a path similar to his mentor’s, leaving close to no room for creative input from outsiders while in the process of recording his upcoming R&B mixtape It’s Never Enough.
“[Wayne] had been doing a lot of rock music for Rebirth, and it stemmed from people being like, ‘When are we gonna hear some rap? When are you gonna rap? When are you gonna rap?’ ” Drake told us in Miami. “Wayne doesn’t like to be told what he should be doing, so he just kept doing rock music, like, ‘Watch, I’m gonna show you. This rock thing is going to work.’ And it does work for him. I think whatever he chooses to do works, but I think he got to that point that I would get to as well, that I’m getting to now working on this R&B tape.”
Drake said he wasn’t around for the bulk of the No Ceilings recording sessions, but the end result was the radio smash “I’m Single,” which originally featured the crooner on the hook, sans Weezy.
“I wasn’t really around much for the No Ceilings sessions. That was around the time in my career when things were picking up from a touring standpoint for me,” Drake recalled. “So I was never able to go and sit for a couple of days and be in his presence.”
Staying in sync with releasing material around the holidays, Drake is plotting to drop It’s Never Enough in time for Christmas, following his Light Dreams & Nightmares Tour.