But if O'Shea Jackson can't hang a banner for the 1990-91 season, he can do the next best thing: lay out tattered vinyl copies of Amerikkka's Most Wanted and Death Certificate. Most everyone who can lay serious claim to ‘best rapper alive' status has a singular effort that defines their peaks; Nas has Illmatic, Andre and Big Boi have Aquemini. And then there's Lil Wayne.
Wayne's reign at the top wasn't exactly short like leprechauns, but it doesn't fit neatly into a Wikipedia entry. At the tail end of 2005, he released Tha Carter II. It was an excellent coke-rap album, but one that would be surpassed not just once, but twice, in 2006 - by The Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury and Ghostface's Fishscale. And if you went into a coma at that point and were rattled awake three years later, you would hear the third Carter installment for what it is: a solid, intermittently brilliant album with sloppy A&R fingerprints all over it. And they don't give awards for that.
But in between those Universal-sanctioned records, New Orleans' favorite son ruled the world. From Dedication 2 to Da Drought 3 to the hundreds of loose tracks and show-stopping guest spots, by the end of 2007, Weezy had wrestled the crown squarely onto his dreadlocked head. An unstoppable, schizophrenic machine of a lyricist, his contemporaries could never quite keep up - "Duffle Bag Boyz" was gospel, then came "I Feel Like Dying"; Beatles samples and Mike Jones comeback singles were chewed up and spit out all the same.