5. Dedication 3 (2008)
Features: Nicki Minaj, Drake, Tyga, Gudda Gudda, Mack Maine, Jae Millz, La the Darkman, Shanell, Lil Twist, Willie the Kid
You can't blame Lil Wayne for losing his edge in 2008. He used the first two Dedication mixtapes and the first three Carter albums to prove that he was, in fact, the Best Rapper Alive. By 2008, after selling a million copies his first week with Tha Carter III, he had proven his point. Everyone had to bow to the Billboard behemoth Wayne had become. By the time Dedication 3 rolled along, he had little to prove and he knew it. The tape was loaded with weed carrier verses from the likes of Jae Millz and Mack Maine (though Nicki Minaj and Drake both make appearances), making the release more of a showcase for Young Money than anything that might have hinted at any remaining hunger from Wayne himself.
Worse yet, nearly every Wayne verse was delivered using warbled Auto-tune, a gimicky device that only served to make Wayne sound burned out. Maybe it was a defense mechanism. Maybe Wayne was eager to mask his flow because he was simply out of gas after releasing such an enormous amount of material over the previous few years. No one would have blamed him if he had taken a step back and chilled for a while. But the skit (which was actually the best part of the entire tape) "You Love Me You Hate Me" revealed why he couldn't. "The club, that's my job," he said. "The mall, that's my job. Your neighborhood, that's my job. This studio, this is my life." —Insanul Ahmed