Lil Wayne vs. Drake: A Battle of Album Arts

Categories: Lil Wayne

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Lil Wayne 500 Degreez vs. Drake Thank Me Later
2002 was a tumultuous time for Cash Money records as, after fellow Hot Boyz Juvenile and BG's less-than-amicable split from the label, Wayne was expected to carry the torch and become their flagship artist. The title/cover for 500 Degreez, a nod of an upgrade to the label's previous biggest success in Juvenile's 400 Degreez, was meant to insinuate the imprint was only getting hotter. Drake was under comparable pressure with the release of his major label debut Thank Me Later. While the cover continued the tradition of the red, black and white color scheme of his previous releases, it just barely edges out 500 Degreez's cover, which looks more-so like someone trying to make a Wayne cover than an actual Wayne cover.
Winner: Drake

See also: Lil Wayne, Future, and the Ouroboros of Defensive Trendhumpery

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Lil Wayne Tha Carter vs. Drake Take Care
While they've always had their rabid core fanbases, critical acclaim suddenly hit Wayne and Drake on the albums that marked a new chapter in their respective careers, Tha Carter and Take Care. While both have always been very talented MCs who've made some great songs, a lot of misguided critics and listeners chalk up these two albums as the point where they "matured" or something. This might have to do with the stark visual contrast compared to the rest of their catalogs. While Wayne's Tha Carter gets props for its comparable minimalism within the Cash Money catalog, Drake's moping mug might be the best part about Take Care.
Winner: Drake

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Lil Wayne Tha Carter V vs. Drake Nothing Was The Same
Finally, their most recent releases show Wayne and Drake at a moment of commercial success and critical acclaim to the point where they can pretty much do whatever they want. Drake's painted profile with a blue sky behind him made for a much brighter image than his previous output, and the album's full art reflected a similar chance to his music as well. While it remains our favorite of Drake's cover arts, we have to give the edge to Wayne for Tha Carter V's shot of Wayne and his mother in front of a blurred red light backdrop. It's a polarizing cover, but Wayne keeping the tradition of Tha Carter's child images (originating with Tha Carter 3 as a nod to rap masterpieces such as Nas' Illmatic and B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, both of which featured babies on the cover) and giving props to him Mom looks like nothing we've seen on store shelves in a long time.
Winner: Lil Wayne

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