Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter IV – Reviews
Tha Carter brand name has evolved into one of the most bulletproof in rap. Three-plus years, two forgettable albums and one eight-month prison sentence after the release of Tha Carter III, anticipation surrounding Lil’ Wayne’s fourth installation in the series rivals that of any other release in 2011. Tha Carter put Wayne on the map. C2 made him a superstar. And C3 solidified his place as “the best rapper alive” when it dropped. Does C4 see Weezy return to his 2008 Marshawn Lynch-type “beast mode” production?
The short answer is “not quite.” Everyone in the world will probably agree that C4 doesn’t fare well in a head-to-head matchup with its predecessor. But how many rap discs released since C3 actually do? Drake’s So Far Gone? Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? And… Bueller? Bueller? It may only be August, and Roc Nation fanboys will disagree, but Tha Carter IV stakes a legitimate claim to the title “Best Rap Album of 2011.”
Wayne starts the album with three straight bangers devoid of any guest spots to remind us who the hardest-working man in the rap game is, in case we forgot. And the fourth track, “6 Foot 7 Foot,” the lead single that’s been beating up the radio since shortly after Wayne’s release from Riker’s last winter, still sounds as massive as ever. At least until Cory Gunz hops into the action.
It would be borderline dishonest to mention C4’s lead single without also pointing out its similarities to C3.
“6 Foot 7 Foot” is, as many have already observed, basically “A Milli” on steroids. “John,” the second single, is literally just Rick Ross’ “I’m Not A Star” on steroids. And the third single, “How To Love,” is exactly the song you’d expect the guy who wrote “Lollipop” to write after an eight-month prison bit and a return home to his girlfriend. Or the exact opposite. Either way, they’re the only two songs to ever hit the Top Five entirely on the strength of crazy-alien-voice charisma.
“She Will,” the fourth single and first Carter entry to feature the Vice President of the Young Money machine, Aubrey Drake Graham, makes a strong case for best cut on the album. The joint allegorizes hip-hop into a stripper submitting to the whims of “the realest niggas in the game right now.” If the line is too subtle a shot at Kings Carter and West of Watch The Throne fame, “It’s Good,” which features Drake’s other appearance, leaves no room for misinterpretation:
“Talkin’ bout baby money? I got your baby money/Kidnap your bitch, get that ‘how much you love your lady’ money,” Wayne threatens, presumably in response to Jay’s “baby money” line in “H.A.M.”
Tha Carter IV is a great album with some admittedly strange missteps and decisions (like completely omitting Wayne from two tracks). But is it good enough to justify starting rap’s biggest beef in years? We’ll have to wait and see.
Lil Wayne – It’s Good (Feat. Jadakiss, Drake)
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