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The True Cost of Lil Wayne’s Impending Jail Term

Lil Wayne is going to jail, and we are concerned. Not for his safety or anything (you’ve seen those teardrop tattooes, yeah?), no, we’re concerned for the state of popular music. Sure, we like to kick ol’ Weezy around sometimes, but the truth is, it’s going to be a lot less exciting around here without him. So how much are we gonna miss during his eight to twelve months away?

First, there are those three albums he’s supposed to release by January. Maybe we'll get a rush release of that non-anticipated Young Money album, but there's almost no way we'll see Carter IV before he goes away. And do we really want the last Wayne album released for a whole year to be Rebirth, the only one of his impending LPs with an actual release date (December 15)? Let's cross our fingers that we get his No Ceiling mix tape, too.

But that's only the beginning! There’s also Thank Me Later, the upcoming debut from his hotshot protégé, Drake — sure, the dude could finish things up on his own, but do we want one of the most anticipated albums in recent hip-hop history to be recorded by a sad, mentorless person? Plus, with no new Wayne verses, the album is guaranteed to be 10 to 15 percent less interesting. And let's not even think about how Wayne's absence might impact the quality of 2010 releases by lesser Young Money signees like Nicki Minaj and Mack Maine or — God help us — Birdman.

But that's not the end of it, either! If Lil Wayne isn’t around to boost otherwise humdrum songs into awesomeness — like, just this year, “Pusha,” “Unstoppable,” and “Always Strapped” — who will do it? Who’ll put out the most ridiculous mix-tape covers? Who will be around the next time a critically maligned nineties-rock staple wants to shake things up? Oh, boy. Can we get a pardon, please?

Photo: Getty Images