When Lil Wayne first declared himself to be the “best rapper alive” sometime in the early aughts, his statement was initially met with a fair degree of skepticism and doubt. Who’s laughing now? Not only did Lil Wayne back up his claims through a series of classic albums and mixtapes that illustrated his unparalleled talent for rhyme schemes, word play, and pure bravado, he inspired an entire generation of rappers (and beyond) with his sound, style, and D.I.Y. attitude. From chart-topping hits such as “Lollipop,” which helped to usher in the Auto-Tune era, or his underground classics such as “Upgrade” which cemented his reputation as the king of the mixtape, Lil Wayne’s reign at the top has transformed hip-hop in ways that are difficult to fully comprehend.