No Ceilings 2 has a few highlights, plenty of missteps

In a follow up effort to the 2009 No Ceilings mixtape that was widely toted as one of Lil Wayne’s more memorable bodies of work, Weezy celebrated American Thanksgiving the only way he knew how – by releasing a follow up.

Wayne decided to leak No Ceilings 2 gradually throughout the day on Nov. 26, keeping fans and critics alike, wondering about and wanting more.

Just like its predecessor, No Ceilings 2 features Wayne sampling beats from many top artists in the game right now. From The Weeknd to Future, in addition to some surprises – most notably Baby E’s “Finessin” – Wayne fully demonstrates that despite being in a rift with his record company and experiencing album pushbacks, he can still deliver the goods.

There are 24 songs on this one – some good, some questionable. All feature Weezy’s nasally groan mixed with his one liner deliveries though – a guilty pleasure for many Wayne fans.

NoCeilings_AlbumCover

In true Weezy fashion, he delivers lines either so clever or so amateur like this one from “Too Young”: “And now I got a bakery, yum yum / And now I see the fakery / Now I see the snakery / All I got is two words, blumb blumb.”

Not to mention, things get off to a poor start on the tape’s first track “Fresh”, featuring Mannie Fresh, with lines like “No Ceilings’… bi-sexual, it means two,” and “I’m tatted up, I’m tribal and I’m duckin’ trial / I used to throw money away, now I recycle.” This one was an immediate drag to the recycling bin – both Wayne and Mannie are to blame.

Another questionable move was going back in time to sample an instrumental made famous in 1999 by Eminem on “My Name Is”. The original version sounded a lot better. Wayne’s version really had no significance; besides boasting about himself, as he does frequently throughout the tape, this song is lyrically empty.

Guys like Euro and King Los may not be A-listers, but they impact the tape in a major way.

“Duck” features the tape’s largest number of collaborators – with the likes of Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, and the only female voice on the project, Shanell. She has a great voice, but isn’t utilized well at all on this track. Gangsta rap and harmonic high notes just don’t mix well here.

Not all the collabos are a fail though. Where Wayne has always shined is his ability to feature artists that complement his flow. Guys like Euro and King Los may not be A-listers, but they impact the tape in a major way. Both offer moments of merit, as the chorus-heavy bars of Wayne get repetitive. Euro and Los are strong lyricists who make songs like “Destroyed” and “No Reason” worth a listen.

Overall, there are two things that have to be said about this tape.

First, Wayne douses almost the whole thing in auto tune.

Second, Drake and Future already made the majority of the songs he laces with his groaning whine big on their recently released What a Time to be Alive project.

Now, if we’re talking about Weezy F. Baby versus Champagne Papi & Hendrix, there’s no room for favouritism. Maybe it’s because there are so many versions of “Big Rings”, and we all might be tired of hearing Drake everywhere, but Weezy gets the point for his version.

To compare No Ceilings 2 to the original is tricky.

“Big Wings” was a track people who followed Wayne’s dealings closely must’ve seen coming. Calling out the man who you called a father figure, a man you once publicly kissed, is one thing. To do it so well, and on a heavy trap beat, makes it stand out even more from the original.

Unfortunately, Wayne’s decent compilation is overshadowed by the fact he no longer possesses the rap genius to make an already banger of a song deter a listener from its original. To compare No Ceilings 2 to the original is tricky. Six years have gone by; in 2009 Lil Wayne had raps that took us on a lyrical roller coaster from the first bar to the last.

He still reaches that high on occasion this time around, sounding his best on “Jumpman” and “Finessin”. He can still put you in a trance with his rhythmic groove as he once did with songs like “Lollipop”, “How to Love” and “A Milli”.

This, of course, only proves one thing – Weezy ain’t finished … yet.

Photo Credit: RJ Shaughnessy via Wikimedia Creative Commons