Lil Wayne's thoughts on being the "Best Rapper Alive" have changed since he first made the proclamation back in 2005.
The YMCMB head honcho still believes in the strength of his talent and has the record sales to back it up, but these days his focus is directed towards cultivating the acts on his roster, he said, during a SXSW edition of journalist Elliott Wilson's CRWN interview series last Friday (March 17).
When asked directly why he stopped singing his own praises Weezy replied, "Because I have awesome artists, simple and plain. I'm not trying to outshine them at all."
2005 is when he launched his YMCMB imprint, under the umbrella of his label home, Cash Money, and he's since signed the likes of Drake and Nicki Minaj. "At that time," he continued, "I didn't have that [awesome artist to look out for]," he said. "So when I was saying it like that, I was like 'I don't care who was on the mic.' Now I have artists that I feel like 'I want you to be better than me.'"
YMCMB takes top priority, he reiterated. "I want everybody to feel like they're the best at what they do. It's just like I said, it ain't about that now, it's about them. It's about us."
Drizzy and Minaj have collectively sold more than 10 million records in only a handful of years. Gambling on two unknown artists paid off, yet Wayne wasn't concerned with the return. He was drawn to Drizzy because of two main reasons, he said. "His talent, obviously that's what I look for. Not to mention he's a wonderful person, but this is music, this is what we do. All the other stuff come with the other stuff, but as you can see, I don't be worrying about stuff like that. I'm just an artist. I just want you to enjoy my music and nothing else. I'm not expecting you to enjoy my lifestyle. I'm not expecting you to enjoy what I do off the mic or off stage."
In signing Minaj, Wayne noted that he wasn't attracted to her because she was a female rapper. "She was being Nicki, that's who I met," recalled the New Orleans native. "That was without the glitz and the glamour. When I first heard the first two and four bars, it wasn't about 'she's rapping better than any female rapper;' she's rapping better than the rappers. Period."
Weezy said he wouldn't even come at Kendrick Lamar, whom he called a rap "beast." "I am not about to be jumping out here talking about 'I'm the best.' I don't need nobody coming at my neck," he promised.
Elsewhere in the interview, he maintained that Drake and Lamar don't actually have any actual beef and let out another jewel about being a "triple O.G." in the game. "I know what I've done," he said. "I know what I did, I know what I can do... And they do too."
Wayne's next album, Tha Carter V, will be his last as a solo artist, he's said. The LP is slated for release May 5.
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(Photo: Courtesy of CRWN)