The superstar MC spent the majority of the past year (eight months) behind bars on Rikers Island after turning himself in on charges stemming from a 2007 gun case. Of course, even with a prison sentence, his achievements were nothing short of amazing in '10: The rapper scored gold plaques for his rock-leaning effort, Rebirth, and his album I Am Not a Human Being; steered the two biggest new acts in hip-hop, Drake and Nicki Minaj; and ignited stages just before (Jay-Z's Madison Square Garden show with Young Jeezy) and after (Drake's final tour stop in Las Vegas) his incarceration.
So, what does Weezy do for an encore? He's already started by giving fans the first offering from his upcoming Tha Carter IV.
"What's really reassuring about '6 Foot 7 Foot' is how familiar it sounds," New York Times critic Jon Caramanica told MTV News. "I think that may be a liability, but it sounds like Wayne just before he went away."
The New Orleans rhyme slinger has been treading lightly on wax since his release from prison in November. He spit his first words on Birdman's "Fire Flames" track and then unleashed his otherworldly powers on "6 Foot 7 Foot." But his sparse output has only added to anticipation for what he has in store on Tha Carter IV.
"There's a lot of anticipation and I think he still sounds good and I think that he's gonna win," Rap Radar's Elliott Wilson explained.
He's logged plenty of studio time already; in fact, just before he was scheduled to leave Rikers, Wayne requested beats be prepared for him. The New Orleans MC isn't playing around.
Now, it's up to our #5 Man of the Year to take it up another level.
"The energy is there like he's excited," Wilson said. "Like, they literally let him out the cage. He's out to rip MCs' heads off."
Do you think Lil Wayne can outdo himself in 2011? Tell us your predictions in the comments!