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Album Review

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V

By: TJ Petras

Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V has been constantly teased and was set to release back in 2014. However, due to Lil Wayne’s personal and professional roadblocks, the album kept being pushed back to a later date. The New Orleans rapper had reports of health problems and emergency hospital visits due to substance abuse problems, which led many to believe this album may never be released. Worst of it all, Lil Wayne’s career was put on hold when Bryan “Birdman” Williams (co-founder of Cash Money Records) refused to release his new album and battled Lil Wayne in a long legal dispute. What made matters worse was that Lil Wayne once viewed Birdman as a mentor and a father figure. With all of that aside, and Lil Wayne emerging as healthy as ever Tha Carter V is finally here.

To be honest, I have never been a Lil Wayne fan. I always believed he was over-hyped, over-played, and over-paid, relying too heavily on autotuned vocals and famous features. When he disregarded some of the greatest rappers in the industry like Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and Jay-Z by claiming himself as “the greatest rapper of all time” really sealed the deal for me. Yet, when this album released I had many people in my ear telling me to give it a shot and try it out. So, I owned up to the challenge and decided to check it out. To my surprise, what I heard was a solid and fundamentally sound album coming from a rapper who a couple of years ago I would have never given the light of day.

Tha Carter V is a lengthy album with 23 tracks totaling a time of an hour and a half to listen. Lil Wayne does a good job variating different sounds on the album to keep the listener engaged. The first half of the album starts off strong with tracks like “Don’t Cry”, “Uproar”, “Let it Fly”, “Mona Lisa”, and a couple more. Kendrick Lamar’s verse from “Mona Lisa” is very lyrically sound and is reminiscent of his To Pimp a Butterfly flow.

I was never a fan of XXXTENTACION but the wailing that he provides in the chorus of “Don’t Cry” blends together nicely with Lil Wayne’s flow as well as the slower instrumental presented on the track. Lil Wayne even gives a quick shout out to XXXTENTACION’s passing at the end of the song.

One track that gave me quite the surprise was “Dark Side of The Moon” with Nicki Minaj. The first time I heard the song, I wasn’t looking at my phone. I absolutely loved the female voice I heard singing in perfect harmony with Lil Wayne, that when I went to check who the female singer was, it caught me completely off guard. This was the first time I ever heard Minaj sing, and the beautiful vocals she performs really shows off her talent as a performer.

Although the album is good, there are a few filler songs (“Problems”, “What About Me”, “Dope New Gospel” and “Hittas”) that I couldn’t enjoy no matter how many chances I gave. It got to the point through my fourth and fifth listen, I would just immediately skip them. It almost feels as though Lil Wayne put these filler songs in there to compensate for the long arrival this album took to release.

Overall the album has great production quality, even though a few of the songs have a similar foundation of the same bass pattern to it. Despite this, Lil Wayne’s odd and unique personality, infectious flows, innovative wordplay, and catchy melodies gives the album a lot of variety, keeping you hooked throughout the long album. Lil Wayne also does a good job using a lot less auto-tune and making sure that when he does use it, it is in a tasteful manner and not over used. The first half of the album is extremely well produced, however as the album progresses it begins to slip off.

Rating: 7.5/10

Favorite tracks: “Uproar”, “Mona Lisa”, “Open Safe”

James Kallianis

November 13th, 2018

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