Will Lil Wayne Really Retire?

June 12th, 2013

(Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

By Jake Rohn

On last night’s (June 11) Jimmy Kimmel Live, Lil Wayne told host Jimmy Kimmel that he planned to retire after he releases The Carter 5 album, which the “Lollipop” rapper said might come after his next album, a joint effort with Birdman. Kimmel then asked the 30-year-old what he planned to do in retirement, to which he responded that he wanted to spend some more real “quality” time with his family. Wayne seemed serious but the timing begs the question: Does he really want to retire or has a recent decline in popularity and underwhelming album sales (I Am Not a Human Being 2 sold 217,000 in its first week to The Carter IV’s 964,000) driven him to step away for a minute to create a demand for him to come back?

The most famous retirements in hip hop are Too $hort, who’s Gettin’ It (Album Number Ten), released in 1996, was supposed to be his last, and Jay-Z, who declared 2003’s The Black Album his swan song. Too $hort has since released 11 albums (two were collaborations with E-40) and Jay-Z came back in 2006, releasing three more solo albums as well as 2011’s smash Watch the Throne album with Kanye West. What does that have to do with Lil Wayne? A lot. Like Short Dawg and Hov before him, Lil Wayne is among hip hop’s elite, and just like in sports, it’s hard to stay away when you feel you’re better than the people at the top. But unlike in sports, age doesn’t deteriorate a creative’s ability to do what they do.

On top of that, most people would agree that spending time with family is great…in doses! Too much time with anyone can be detrimental to a relationship without personal time and space. As far as Weezy’s hobbies, it has been well documented that he has taken up skateboarding and is supposedly pretty good at it. But when you’re a rapper, particularly one as successful as Wayne, it can’t be easy not to act on an idea for a line or a hook that pops into your head. Lil Wayne has already demonstrated his affinity for trying new and different things musically. He has released a rock album and even played guitar at the Country Music Awards.

He did seem sincere when he told Kimmel that he would be hanging it up soon, but Wayne is a spur of the moment kind of guy and it would be hard to imagine him going the rest of his life without once getting the itch to re-introduce himself like Hov. People often fail to give Wayne credit for his work ethic and, like in any facet of life, that drive to work does not just turn off.

Wayne should definitely enjoy the time with his family, but he knows as well as anyone he’s not wired to sit still when other rappers are eating off the table which he set.

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