Lil Wayne proved yet again that he is not just another tattooed rapper. The America’s Most Wanted headliner brought the arena down with a lineup featuring fellow Southern rap phenomenon T.I., founding father Birdman, rising star Tyga, crooner Shanell and DJ 45.
T.I. ignited the stage with a pyrotechnic set that blended bombastic hit “You Don’t Know Me” with the social consciousness of “Live in the Sky,” dedicated to Trayvon Martin. T.I. lightened things up with “Blurred Lines,” which parlayed beautifully with Wayne’s explosive entry to the stage with “I’m Going In.” Everyone to their feet by then, Wayne kept 2 Chainz’ presence alive with the throbbing bass and rhythmic timing of “Rich as Fuck,” then calmed the sweltering crowd with the honest romance of “How to Love.”
Weezy showed his flair for lyrical foreplay and neon colors with several songs off his Dedication 5 mixtape, which dropped this week. His penchant for wordplay and bass are self-evident on “Typa Way” and “FuckWitMeYouKnowIGotIt,” both featuring T.I. The stage even briefly transformed from a supersonic mix of lights and instruments to a skater’s paradise, complete with solid ramps and the appropriate Trukfit gear to match.
The commercialized version of Lil Wayne would have you believe that there is nothing deeper to this metaphorical vessel than meets the eye, which may be by design. It seems, however, that his fans find authenticity in his lyrical bravado—a man with a sense of heart, loyalty, spirituality and gratitude. The man with “No Worries” would never miss out on himself. After all, he cooed, “Rap is my favorite part of the show.” ★★★★☆