No Ceilings

No Ceilings

In the scope of an impossibly prolific career, Lil Wayne’s mixtape output is something else entirely. To diehards, the franchises he’s birthed—the Sqad Up tapes, the Da Droughts, the Dedications—are worthy of the same reverence as Wayne’s proper albums, and the initial No Ceilings is no different. First released in October 2009, the tape was a holdover from between the MC's late-2000s pop-rap opus Tha Carter III and the rockstar-lifestyle posturing of 2010’s Rebirth. What Wayne did on No Ceilings was remind fans how much in love he is with rapping, annihilating beats from already popular songs in a long-established mixtape tradition. Wayne was so adept at this—his couplets both catchy and bizarre—that it was not uncommon to hear DJs sneak No Ceilings revamps of Fast Life Yungstaz's “Swag Surfin’” (“Surf Swag”), 3 Deep’s “Watch My Shoes” (“Shoes”), and Gucci Mane’s “Wasted” (“YM Wasted”) into actual nightclub sets. Deeper into the tape, Wayne wins over East Coast traditionalists with his take on Noreaga’s classic posse cut “Banned From TV” (“Banned”), while also managing to deliver a commercially viable and completely new song in the woozy and lovelorn “I’m Single,” featuring a then-new addition to the Young Money family, a Canadian singer and MC by the name of Drake.

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