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Album Review: Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V
October 1, 2018
After what felt like forever, Lil Wayne, a New Orleans native, finally dropped Tha Carter V, the presumed final version of the famed series that started in 2004 with the first Tha Carter. From the mind of the man who created classics works of music such as the Dedication tapes, Da Drought 3 and I Am Not A Human Being I and II comes another classic album.
The build up to this album has been brewing since Wayne announced a presumed release date back in 2014 that never came to fruition. A combination of health problems and a falling-out with Cash Money Records manager Birdman lead to Wayne delaying the album four years. But since Weezy was recently freed from the imprisoning grasp of Birdman through a lawsuit that gave Wayne sole control over his album release, he was finally able to release the long-awaited project. While it may be the last Carter Wayne releases, the series will live on through Young Thug’s Barter 6 and the soon-to-drop Barter 7.
Tha Carter V starts off with an emotion-filled clip of Wayne’s mother, Jacida Carter, talking about how proud she is of her son and how much she loves him. The next track, “Don’t Cry,” features the late XXXTentacion and the first of many signature Wayne lighter flicks on the album. Wayne raps about challenging life experiences and throws in a ode to XXX at the end of his first verse, where he raps, “But if heaven’s as good as advertised/I want a triple extension on my ************ afterlife/Rest in paradise.”
On “Dedicate,” 2 Chainz starts the track off by shouting Weezy out for being such an influential figure to the culture. The title of this song is a reference to another aptly titled track on 2 Chainz and Wayne’s 2016 collab album COLLEGROVE called “Dedication,” where 2 Chainz surprised Weezy with his ode to the NOLA native.
Travis Scott joins Weezy on “Let It Fly,” on which La Flame raps about his spot in the rap game while adding dynamic energy to the song and Wayne murders the beat, with a killer combo of flow and bars that Tunechi makes seem easy. “Dark Side Of The Moon,” featuring long-time Young Money companion Nicki Minaj, serves as a refreshing, vibey song about being there for your significant other, even through the metaphorical apocalypse painted on this song. “The end of the world is coming soon, I’ma miss it/The sky is falling down, I am falling for her quicker,” raps Weezy.
Wayne flexes his storytelling ability on “Mona Lisa,” featuring Kendrick Lamar. He tells the tale of collaborating with a woman to rob her “boyfriend,” illustrating that you should be careful as to who you trust. Kendrick comes out strong in the first part of his verse, reminding us of how he can still spit with the best of ‘em, before he trails off on the second part of it.
Features on Tha Carter V are a testament to Wayne’s past and future, with childhood friend and Young Money president Mack Maine appearing on “Start This **** Off Right,” Snoop Dogg helping on “Dope ******,” one of the better songs on the project, and Weezy’s daughter, Reginae Carter, beautifully singing the hook on “Famous.”
Wayne finished off Tha Carter V strong, which is imperative considering the lenthiness of this 23 track album. The four song stretch of “Dope New Gospel,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Used 2” and “Let It All Work Out” was a strong finish to another classic project by Tunechi. On “Let It All Work Out,” Wayne finally tells the story of how he nearly committed suicide back when he was a teenager on an emotional track. “I shot it, and I woke up with blood all around me/It’s mine, I didn’t die, but as I was dying/God came to my side and we talked about it/He sold me another life and he made a prophet… Thank God I’m still in this *****,” raps Wayne over a smooth instrumental.
Tha Carter V put a bow on the top of the classic album series that is Tha Carter. His spot as a hip hop legend has only been cemented more with this long-awaited project, filled with memorable bars and flows and that unique Weezy flare. While the album was a bit lengthy with 23 songs, some of which felt like filler at points, it was nonetheless a strong showing from Lil Tunechi.