Some people would argue that rap music has scarcely experienced a better time than it is currently. They would argue that the genre is being brought to the forefront of music discourse, finally finding itself truly a part of the mainstream while its practitioners innovate and reimagine the genre in ways not previously possible. A healthy crop of young and hungry artists as well as a swathe of veterans are pushing the limitations of hip-hop and setting the bar sky high, the debate for who is the best among them one that rages across comments sections worldwide.
Lil Wayne sees the hip-hop landscape of today in a markedly different way though, the Cash Money rapper bemoaning in a recent interview with DJ Drama that the current generation of rappers ‘aren’t trying to be the best rapper’ anymore.
They [new rappers] settle for what works. It’s works for them. That’s why you don’t hear me knocking them, you don’t hear me hating. I’m just a part of a different culture, a different wave of music. That wave was Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, at that time it was all about being the best. I’m quoted for saying I’m the best rapper alive. Now a days they’re not trying to be the best rapper, or the best at anything. They’re just trying to do what other people say is ok, and I’m not a part of that culture.”
Apparently ‘Greatest Alive’ was a very legitimate thing back when Weezy was coming up (he quite famously gave himself the title in a song of the same name on his 2008 hit album The Carter II) but he has now rejected the notion that it is still of any relevance today, seemingly calling out the new breed for being apathetic and their competitiveness dulled.
The concept of ‘Greatest Alive’ certainly isn’t one that is completely dead and forgotten about. Social media comments sections are littered with debates on that exact topic. Tastemakers Complex have even gone as far as to chronologically chart who they consider has held the title in every year since the generally agreed upon birth of the genre in 1979 right up until 2015 (a list which actually features Lil Wayne holding the belt twice in 06 and 08).
As to who would hold the title in 2016 contrary to Lil Wayne’s opinion? Right now popular opinion would suggest it would probably be split between Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West, with Kendrick probably taking it home after he ripped through this year’s Grammy Awards. It would be very interesting to hear whether Weezy thinks his statement still applies to those two, given that each of their most recent releases were absolute game-changers in their own right.
You can listen to the interview, where he primarily chats along with 2 Chainz about their upcoming collaborative mixtape Collegrove, in its entirety below: