I wouldn’t say it’s his best work but I feel he does a sufficient job here. I could do without some tracks of the sleepier cuts though like “London Roads” or “Living Right”. I think Wayne is too talented to be making songs like “I’m That Nigga”. I feel that Wayne still has potential to make great music with dope lyrics, “Glory” & “He’s Dead” are proof. The 15-track album was made available for streaming exclusively on the Jay-Z founded TIDAL subscription-based music service and features notable artists like Wiz Khalifa, Jeezy, Cory Gunz and more.
“… She said I think you think I think you think of us.” Then he makes a “hmm” noise. It’s a weird, ambiguous moment—is he talking about a lost lover? You’re not sure how Wayne feels for a second and that, in itself, feels good. Fast-forward to 2015 and, after four years of hit-or-miss releases,The Free Weezy Album. A set billed as a “Tidal exclusive” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Tidal is already looking like the MiniDisc of streaming services and it’s only been around for a few months.
Closer “Pick Up Your Heart”, a tedious attempt at channeling protégé Drake, features Wayne pleading “I don’t wanna do it no more” but any kind of emotional resonance is nullified by a goofy spoken-word outro. His last words on this record are “She said she wanted sprinkles, I said sprinkles are for winners.” If you have a Tidal subscription, you can listen to the album here. “Heart goes out to Vanessa and the whole Black Mamba family,” Wayne rapped during his performance of the track.
FWA‘s other saving grace is the level of depth he goes into his personal life. The Kane Beats and Vinay-produced “He’s Dead” picks up where “CoCo” from Sorry for the Wait 2 left off in driving home the point that he is declaring his independence from Birdman and Cash Money Records. “My Heart Races On” serves as the final sendoff, soundtracked by a traditional New Orleans brass band with rising singer Jake Troth on the folk-y hook. Even on “Without You,” featuring Rihanna’s “BBHMM” songwriter, Bibi Bourelly, could be interpreted as either a #message to his ex or Birdman.
It makes me wonder if Wayne has kept in touch with that man and his family this entire time. An immediate standout was “My Heart Races,” with singer Jake Troth. The unknown singer took me back to when Wayne and Robin Thicke were a winning duo, the days of “Shooter” and “Tie My Hands.” We hear Wayne rap with a sentimental introspection that I haven’t heard from him in years. He even acknowledges the latest string of police killings, reminding us that Wayne can have a political voice (“George Bush” is still one of my favorites from his immense catalog).
It’s only 15 tracks and I was left feeling like there was more good than bad, you can hear him attempting to regain his footing, but it’s like watching the mediocre episode of a formerly great TV series. I know how good it can be and anything less just leaves you craving the better days. Always hoping that a new season will revert back to its former glory. If you’ve ever watched The Office or Community in its entirety, you know the feeling. For someone who often mentions that he has no college degree, Wayne is pretty smart when he chooses to be.
He admits it on “My Heart Races On” (I’m never in the right mind but I’m Einstein when I do think). After Young Thug released “Pull Up” on his bold album Barter 6, Wayne responded with his version of “Pull Up,” a frightening comeback that put Young Thug in his place. He even quotes a William Hughes Mearns poem on the final track, “Pick Up Your Heart.” Wayne has outsmarted rappers since he started at age 11, and based on the quality of drug checkpoints on i-40 FWA, this time he also managed to outsmart the label. Free Weezy Album is the eleventh studio album by American rapper Lil Wayne. It was released on July 4, 2015, by Young Money Entertainment and Republic Records, exclusively on TIDAL. It was released on Spotify and Apple Music on July 3, 2020, to commemorate its five-year anniversary, though some samples were changed due to clearance issues, and some tracks are absent completely.