“You tatted your face and changed the culture”

This past Friday, September 28th, Lil Wayne released one of hip-hop’s most sought after pieces of work: Tha Carter V. Released four-years after its originally promised delivery date, Tha Carter V was freed from Birdman’s clutches after the parties agreed to a contract settlement, ending a seemingly endless legal battle. In doing so, Lil Wayne was finally able to punctuate his iconic album series, offering an engorged 23-track album that spans nearly 90-minutes.

Aside from the heightened raps spoken from his staple hazy, raspy voice, Tha Carter V is an interesting distillation of songs recorded over the past several years, giving the fifth Carter installment a fluid sonic feeling; it’s a yearbook of songs chronicling the last decade of hip-hop. From receiving a nostalgic-sounding Swizz Beatz instrumental for the fan-favorite “Uproar” to the emotionally-revealing “Let It ALl Work Out”, Tha Carter V finds comfort in a similar aesthetic as a Picasso painting: pieces might not feel congruent, but the macro picture painted is ironically uniform–it’s in these differences that the project feels whole.

The album’s third track, “Dedicate”, interpolates a hook from 2 Chainz’ Dedication album–a project honoring Tity Boi’s idol, Weezy. Aptly discussing how Wayne’s presence has changed and furthered the culture, “Dedicate” finds Weezy flexing on the industry in a confident yet matter-of-fact manner–after all, this man really did change the culture.

Taking “Dedicate” to a live environment, Weezy performed the hubristic track in front of adoring fans last night, October 2nd, on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Receiving live instrumentation from The Roots, The Tonight Show’s in-house band, their musical pairing reflects how Wayne is not only comfortable in almost acoustic environments–he thrives in them.

Watch Lil Wayne deliver an awesome live performance below: