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Album Review: Lil Wayne ‘Tha Carter V’

Tha Carter series wraps up.

Zach Luben

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“Thank God, Weezy back, order is restored, all is right with the world” 

  -Lil Wayne on “Dope New Gospel” 

After a dispute with Cash Money Records owner, Birdman, Lil Wayne reached an eight figure settlement and left his former record label and now owns his own, in which dropped his much anticipated album, Tha Carter V.  

My first reaction to this album was that it was incredible, album of the year worthy. After listening more I realized that this album was good, but not album of the year good. Tha Carter V was so incredibly hyped over the span of four years that it seemed almost impossible the music could live up to the hype.

Tha Carter V’ track-list had been leaked and changed over time, in fact there were rumors that ‘Tha Carter V’ would be a two-part album. Why?  Mostly because Wayne had recorded a great quantity of songs over a four year span in which he was reportedly unable to release during the dispute with Birdman.

In the end, ‘Tha Carter V’ would be a one-part 23 song album. It seemed as though Wayne had too many songs to chose from and this created problems with the final track list. Leaked track-lists, whether real or fake started to pop up all over social media weeks before the release of The Carter V, with previous mentioned rumors of a two-part album along with multiple features from big name artists. When the album finally did drop, there were no appearances from long time Wayne collaborators like Big Sean, 2 Chainz, or Kanye West, names which were names that had appeared on the leaked track-lists, adding to the overhype.  

There are still many great contributions from guests on Tha Carter V, with verses from Travis Scott, Nicki Manaj, Kendrick Lamar and the late XXXTENTACION. But in a 23-song album, the absence of features is disappointing considering all of Wayne’s ties within the music industry. Post Malone was later added to the song “What About Me,” which was released as a single. 

With all that being stated, I looked into the music itself, and Wayne’s lyricism and rap flow are never in doubt in this album. He is still the metaphorical genius he has been throughout his entire career. He is one of the few artists today who can rap in any different style he wants to. For example, on the song “Demons” Wayne hops right into rapping fiercely on a chill slow beat that you may think is meant for a singer. On the song “Let It Fly” Wayne begins his verse perfectly matching the flow of the beat using and rhyming with the word ‘mind’ at the end of nine different lines without it sounding like he is over using it.  

The beats and production on the album are great. Multiple top producers in the rap game such as Metro Boomin on “Used 2”, Swizz Beatz on “Uproar”, Zaytoven on “Problems” and more worked with Wayne to create many different beat styles and moods for this album.

Wayne sets many different moods during Tha Carter V.  He can be the cocky Wayne we are used to, who bodies a beat and has incredible word play (“Mona Lisa” , “Used 2”) to a more deep Wayne who looks into life and where he stands in this present moment after all he has been through (“Mess” , “Dope New Gospel”) to in touch with his feelings during relationships (“Dark Side of the Moon” , “Perfect Strangers”). The different moods are a reason I think this album was very successful.

Although the album was overhyped over the span of four years without any releases from Weezy, this album is right up there with Wayne’s best albums.

As Tha Carter V wrapped up ‘Tha Carter’ album series, which started in 2004, we must appreciate the work Wayne has put in to stay one of the most talented/hardworking rappers in the game today. Even after the dispute with long time friend and father figure, Birdman, Wayne continued to work on music and put out his best for the fans. I believe he is still the undisputed king of Hip-Hop, and who knows, maybe one day we will get the “full verison” of Tha Carter V.  

 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Zach Luben is a University of Nebraska Lincoln graduate with a bachelors degree in Advertising and Public Relations. While in college, he was involved with Nebraska athletics as a student intern creating highlight videos. He currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska working at a local sporting goods store as well as officiating and coaching basketball. In his free time he enjoys staying active, hanging out with friends, and listening to music. Music is a big part of his life and is something that is very meaningful to Zach.

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