After a long hiatus involving legal battles with his former boss, Birdman, Lil Wayne has finally been able to release his long-awaited continuation of his “Carter” series with “Tha Carter V.”
It is a welcomed addition to this year of hip-hop music along with big names like Drake, Travis Scott, Eminem, and many others. “Tha Carter V” is a rather noteworthy album in this mass amount of music, not only due to Lil Wayne’s reputation as one of the best and biggest rappers in the world but due to the content of the album.
After “Tha Carter IV” dropped, though it was considered a decent album, it began to signal the twilight of Wayne’s career as he began to use the same type of style and punch lies in his songs with no real substance behind them.
There seemed to be no life left in him from a music perspective as he released several mixtapes in the 2010s which were not met with good remarks. Once “Tha Carter V” was released, many fans were not sure if just the long-awaited arrival of this album would create too much hype that the album would just not be able to meet.
However, that was not the case. The delay was worth it and by having to wait these extra four years it helped the quality of the album. This gap between albums gave Wayne time to reflect and create a rather heartfelt album rather than his previous few bodies of work.
Wayne is no longer as braggadocious as he once was, claiming at one time to be “the best rapper alive.” This “new” Wayne is much more open on the album than his past albums and leaves some of his bad habits behind, such as corny punchlines as well as constant and overused sexual references. Thankfully, those are left behind and we see elements of what made Wayne so prominent in the rap game in the first place.
Some of the songs on this album were written and produced in 2014 and others were created this year. However, the producing is well done as it transitions seamlessly between each song, not showing any signs of age between the older and newer songs.
To complement the well-produced songs, almost every feature is well done. Nicki Minaj has one of the best features of her career in “Dark Side of the Moon”
It is a metaphorical song of the world ending and how the “characters” in this song will stay together no matter what. It is refreshing material from Minaj as she has been in a slump with repetitive sexual innuendo that has hurt her discography in the hip hop community.
Some of the artists featured give off a vibe that takes them back to their older music. One perfect example was Kendrick Lamar’s feature on possible rap collaboration “Mona Lisa.” It is a rather odd song as it is based around a woman setting up her boyfriend for a robbery and it is told from two different perspectives: Wayne’s and Lamar’s.
With their amazing story telling skills combined with their technical rap skills, they create one of the standout tracks on this album. Another standalone track is “Don’t Cry” featuring XXXTentacion which creates a rather misleading and somber tone with his haunting chorus pleading for a girl to not leave him.
Travis Scott comes in on “Let it Fly” creating a rodeo vibe with his melodic hook and strangely pitched autotune which sounded different than his recently dropped album “AstroWorld.”
My personal favorite is “Can’t be Broken” as it is a rather reflective song about all the hardships Wayne has faced and has become a stronger man because of it.
The album cover has Wayne’s mom standing next to a younger version of himself, which is not her only influence on this album. The album’s first song, “I Love You Dwayne,” his mom monologues their struggles and how proud of Wayne she is and how proud she is of the man he has become.
That first song sets the stage for an emotional tone. While that is slightly misleading, as a decent amount of the album does not exactly tug on the heartstrings, the other tracks are well done that Wayne reflects on his life with.
No song hits quite as hard as the album ender, “Let it all Work Out,” in which Wayne reveals that he once shot himself when he was 12-years-old while attempting to commit suicide.
This is an emotional end to a well-crafted album as he finishes up with an open song which is telling to how hard of an environment he grew up in.
Overall, “Tha Carter V” was very enjoyable and even non Lil Wayne fans will get something out of his new album!