Lil Wayne made bold proclamations in 2004. When he released Tha Carter, Wayne was the last artist left on Cash Money Records. Juvenile, B.G., and Turk all left the label, and had disputes. Briefly, Juvenile returned to the label. During both stints, Juvenile was Cash Money’s biggest artist. Few people believed Lil Wayne could be seen as anything more than a Southern rapper. However on Tha Carter‘s first single, “Bring It Back,” Wayne first declared himself “the best rapper alive.”
Lil Wayne not only quoted Jay-Z’s line, he added “since the best rapper retired.” Few people actually saw Wayne contending for that title. Conventional wisdom was that Southern rappers weren’t lyrical. In fact, this flew in the face of guys like Andre 3000, Pimp C, Bun B, Scarface, Ludacris, and tons of other Southern rappers who are heavy with bars. Whatever the case, Lil Wayne began his quest to prove himself to be the best.
Lil Wayne definitely had music people liked. As of 2004, “Way of Life,” with Big Tymers and TQ was still his biggest hit. Before 2004 ended, Wayne released “Go DJ,” featuring Mannie Fresh. This song became the biggest hit of Wayne’s career until 2008. “Go DJ” proved Wayne actually could make hit records. In addition, it helped make him a household name. After 2005’s Tha Carter II, Mixtape Weezy was birthed, and he ushered in a new era of rap, period.