Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere on The WWW, Lil Wayne did not get jailed because of the rock-rap-abortion Rebirth. Actually, the reason he's currently serving a nine month sentence (189 days left at time of publication, according to his official prison blog) is hardly important. What is important is the fact that as far as parting gifts go, Rebirth was right up there with a pretty young lady leaving a steamer on your pillow the morning after a pleasurably wild evening in Oh Face Town.
Thankfully, a few months before Wayne released his Fredrick Durst tribute album, he put out this brilliant mixtape.
No Ceilings is damn close to being the best thing Lil Wayne has ever been associated with. I've conducted the necessary research too (thanks Lil-Wayne-58-Mixtapes-Albums.torrent) and, while his other releases have all contained jaw-dropping splashes of excellence, not much comes close in regards to the high level of consistency and artistic creativity maintained throughout No Ceilings.
One of the most refreshing elements of the mixtape is the personal ownership taken on by Wayne. There is no annoying DJ yelling over the top at every opportunity (sorry Drama), instead the ad-libs - and goofy lighter sound effects - are all handled by the man himself.
No Ceilings also breaks the standard mixtape mould with it's non-reliance on guest appearances. Across the 21-tracks, only seven songs include additional vocals from those in Wayne's inner-circle, all of whom resist stepping too far from their weedcarrier roles and fight the temptation to try and steal the spotlight. Instead, we spend the majority of the seventy-two minutes buried deep inside the warped brain of "the greatest rapper alive". We are merely passengers on this journey however, relegated to sitting back and watching in awe as Wayne grabs beats off the shelf of Pop Rap Music, destroys them with his tongue-blending lyrical madness and then moves on without a second thought.
While the trio of Poke Her Face, the Run This Town freestyle and the hijacked Black Eyed Peas party jam, I Got No Ceilings, immediately stands out as the record's finest period, there is no shortage of highlights. In fact, Wayne cleverly spreads the good shit out like honey on a hooker, with almost evert song containing at least a handful of rewind-able lines (ie. "you never wet like Grandma pussy", "swagger just dumb, call it Sarah Palin", "stuff that girl with dick 'til her head bursts" etc).
And the downside? Wayne On Me, despite it's humorous hook, is a bit of a lightweight go-nowhere slow jam. The same can be said for the bonus cut, I'm Single, which plods along with a lazy conversational flow taking favour over the quotable backflips that dominate the rest of the mixtape.
The obvious lack of pressure associated with this kind of release meant that No Ceilings was always going to feature Lil Wayne at his carefree best, running wild through his glossary of weed-damaged thinking patterns and pop-culture brain dumps. Although as expected the overall production value - especially compared to the multi-multi-platinum Tha Carter III - is a lot looser, Wayne's mountain of charisma, unpredictable flow and endlessly quotable mind-collapsing lyrical skills not only carries this record over the line but also puts in a strong argument that the nuts-out creative approach taken for his mixtape work should probably also be applied his proper LP releases.