Lil Wayne, one of hip-hop's biggest-selling artists, has been released from jail after serving eight months of a one-year sentence for gun possession. (Read The Week's by-the-numbers guide to Carter's incarceration.) As of this morning, Wayne — a.k.a. Dwayne Michael Carter — is a free man again. Here, pundits respond:
He certainly was productive: Lil Wayne "kept busy" while he was in jail, says Megan Friedman at Time, releasing an album and writing a guest column for Sports Illustrated. "If he was that prolific while confined, imagine what's possible now that he's served his sentence."
Twitter breathlessly anticipates his return: The rapper is a prolific Tweeter, says William Goodman at Spin, and was unable to update his profile on the social network whilst in jail. This morning, he's a "trending topic on Twitter," and "fans have been anxiously awaiting... his first post-jail Tweet."
Let's hope he's a changed man: "Fans were fed a mirage of Lil Wayne" while he was behind bars, says Audrea Soong at Forbes. Now, "they will be given a chance to experience a real and possibly different one. Confinement can chapter lives."
He still has plenty to worry about: But Lil Wayne's legal troubles aren't over just yet, says Derek Evers at AOL Music. "Immediately upon his release, Lil Wayne has to make a pit stop in Arizona today to sign paperwork stemming from a 2008 drug case." Then, he'll have to serve out a 36-month probation term in Florida.
And the risk is he hasn't changed: Lil Wayne may emerge "financially, socially, and emotionally unscathed," says Michael P. Jeffries at The Atlantic. The danger is if he "sees no reason to change anything." If he "buys into the notion that he is untouchable," and continues to live that way, we could get to a point where "the music stops" for longer next time.
A former president's take: "A lot of these people, they don't get successful... by being really dumb. They're really smart," Bill Clinton said of Lil Wayne on Pittsburgh's 96.1 Kiss FM. "This guy’s smart, and he's got ability, and he's got a new chance now." (Listen to Clinton discuss Lil Wayne's release)