I'm a Lil Wayne fan. Yes, still.
I don't even try to defend this anymore. When Lil Wayne was dropping the best of Da Drought and Dedication mixtapes, he was at the top of his game and when he deemed himself "best rapper alive," it wasn't a ridiculous claim. His flows were getting more intricate, his lyrics—while sprinkled with the typical Wayne-isms—were at times venomous and at other times as twisted as the wires in Wayne's codeine-drenched brain. But just as it seemed like Wayne was still rising to his creative peak, things started to change.
With 2008's Tha Carter III, Wayne still had it. The album achieved enormous commercial success, but it also succeeded by balancing the radio hits with some left-field weirdo raps like "Phone Home" and "La La." In 2009, Mixtape Weezy returned with No Ceilings, proving he could still rap his ass off. Then Rebirth happened. Then Lil Wayne quit syrup and started skateboarding. Then Trukfit, DEWeezy, and a Paris Hilton collabo.
By 2011, Lil Wayne was all over the place, and nothing he's done since has felt inspired, important, or compelling. He's still capable of making hits ("Awkward," "No Worries") and being one of the most entertaining characters in hip-hop, but almost everyone agrees: Lil Wayne isn't what he used to be (and by "isn't what he used to be" I mean "isn't as good as he used to be").
Still, I am a Lil Wayne fan. I love "Awkward," I support all of his face tattoos (even the "BAKED" one), and I believe that he's the closest thing to a no-fucks-given rock star (along with Kanye) that commercial music has in 2013. I still hold on to the hope that Weezy will slip into another bout of unhinged creativity, but even if he doesn't, I'll still be a fan.