The beautiful thing about music is that, unlike sports (football season can’t start quick enough, by the way), it lasts all year. Sure, some days tend to be a tad faster than others and certain quarters of the year may house more anticipated releases, but “off days” are few and far between. However, for those moments when the music industry seems to move at a snail pace, diggin’ through the e-crates never gets old, especially when you recall what you were doing around the time a specific project was released.
The summer of 2006 happened to be one of those moments. Aside from marking the first time I began living on my own and the official halfway point of my collegiate career, three particular releases pretty much defined that point of my life, at least musically. Depending how you look at the glass, that could either be good or bad. Hit the break for breakdown.
If I’m not mistaken, this is the Weezy craze began to really take flight. By that time, Tha Carter I, II, the first Dedication and The Suffix had already dropped and Cita’s son was beginning to become one of the most talked about names in Hip-Hop. From the moment “Get ‘Em” blasted through the speaks, one of the most entertaining releases in years was underway. The popularity of this disc was felt immediately with it being heard in damn near every vehicle and club for that matter. I wish I could remember the times I’d hear this coming out of random cars at stop lights and people would be rapping in unison as if they were in a recording booth. It was comical, but astounding at the same time. At this moment, I knew his buzz was beginning to reach new heights, but I doubt many knew it would reach the level he’s at now.
It was essentially his true coming out party and the obsession with “the mixtape Weezy” was set and would eventually carry him for two years until the release of his most successful album to date, Tha Carter III.
Far before news of a Dipset demise became front page drama, Jimmy’s new group was arguably one of the more impressive in the business. I knew Jimmy could put together a hot compilation even if he wasn’t the greatest rapper in the world, but Byrdgang…Vol.1 literally surprised the hell out of me with how quality it was from start to finish. This found itself as a mainstay in car rides and an entire new appreciation was given for Stack Bundles and Max B by all those who spent times in my car that summer. Jimmy’s best decision was to not let his star power at that point overshadow what the tape’s purpose, to make stars out of those around him. During this time, my feelings were high for the future of not only Stack Bundles, but the entire Brydgang as well.
Unfortunately for Jimmy, the summer of ’06 came to a close and Stack would be gunned down the following spring. The group, especially Jimmy, was never the same again musically (even though “Ballin'” would come later that fall and Hustler’s P.O.M.E. would prove to be a quality LP). However, for one successful summer, Jimmy had one of the most promising stables in Hip-Hop.
I told you Weezy mania was taking over. As if D2 wasn’t already enticing enough, the I Can’t Feel My Face advance leaked and the end result was a mass calling demanding an official release. While that hasn’t exactly gone to plan, the twelve tracks presented Wayne and Juelz in a competitive light with each person was attempting to out do the other. Listen to the tracks bar for bar, lyric for lyric, verse for verse, Juelz and Wayne were in a battle with each other. This lead to the quality of each track to be recorded at a very high level. Like the aforementioned Dedication 2 only a month earlier, ICFMF was a regular in cars, apartments and clubs (especially “Birds Flyin’ High” and “Bonafide Hustla”).
Download – Lil Wayne & Juelz Santana–Birds Flyin’ High | Lil Wayne & Juelz Santana – I Can’t Feel My Face (Advance)
My seasons may be running into each other, but it was around this time three years ago some kids name Drake and J. Cole would release their first mixtapes, but it’s not like they’d ever amount to anything.