In 2011 Lil Wayne released Tha Carter IV, it was a mixed bag that showed glimpses of Lil Wayne’s brilliance and often times showed weakness that wasn’t on Tha Carter III. All eyes were then set to Tha Carter V. After several delays to the release (something we know all too well about) the album has finally dropped. Is it a throwback to the glory days of Tha Carter III or has the hype ruined the album?
The albums intro is one I wish to forget, while I understand the premise of the intro I found it a weird listen and quite frankly uncomfortable. Getting past that and straight to the first full track, Don’t Cry featuring the late XXXtentacion. This is as obvious an indication needed to know that a large portion of this album was recorded a while back, but we’ll get into that a bit later on. As an opening track this is a great introduction to the album. It serves as Wayne’s tribute to X as well as getting new X material who smashed the hook. XXX’s hook here is what became a familiarity in his short career, all in all a solid opener.
Track four, Uproar, is classic Lil Wayne with Swizz Beats on production. Despite being something we’ve heard before in the past this feels as fresh as possible, it’s as if the nostalgia has come full circle and Wayne feels revitalised and relevant once more.
The album was originally intended for release in 2014, and if we’re being brutally honest it would’ve been nowhere near as good as it is now. While a lot of the material on the album was recorded in 2014 such as Travis Scott’s feature on Let It Fly (A great track) there will have been so many changes to freshen the album up and modernise it rather than creating ‘Tha Carter IV V2′.
More 2014 recordings can be found on one of the craziest tracks from the album, Mona Lisa. Both Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar paint a perfect picture with Kendrick bringing vocals reminiscent of both GKMC & TPAB. Kendrick grabbed the headlines but by no means does he steal the show. Lil Wayne more than matched him bar for bar and it’s likely Wayne will never release a song as good as this going forward.
It’s only appropriate that Young Money’s biggest stars Drake and Nicki Minaj both feature on the album in some format. Nicki does it in a big way by dropping improved vocals on Dark Side Of The Moon whilst Drake has uncredited vocals on Hittas.
I’m not the biggest fan of lengthy projects, and coming in at just under 90 minutes this is damn lengthy. While I would cut 15 or 20 minutes I can’t say that I hate it this time round. Maybe it’s because of how anticipated this was that I’m letting the bulk slide here, but some little fillers do let it down a tad.
Let It All Work Out is the 23rd and final track of the album, and it’s probably as fitting as it can possibly get. It contains a beautiful sample of Sampha on the hooks and backing as Lil Wayne delves deep into lyrics about suicide. It’s a masterful track to end an album that exceeded expectations for me.
How can you not be happy for Lil Wayne? It feels like we’ve waited an eternity for this album so imagine how vindicated Wayne feels. Not only did he finally drop the album, but it’s much better than it should be. Lil Wayne is one of raps biggest and best names, he’s an ultimate wordsmith who’s done himself justice with this record and managed to freshen up the industry once more. Wayne has talked about retirement quite a lot in the last decade so if releasing Tha Carter V was his swan song, he’ll be going out on top.
Thank you Weezy.