Lil Wayne - Tha Carter IV Review
Posted by Tony Acero on 08.29.2011
Lil Wayne has returned with his much anticipated and long-delayed album, Tha Carter IV! But does it exceed the expectations set forth from Tha Carter III or fall flat? 411's Tony Acero checks in with his full review!
Lil Wayne is widely regarded as a hip hop artist above and beyond the normal talents of any normal rapper. Starting at the tender age of 9, he’s no beginner in the game, but the mass population’s ears did not perk up to him until around Tha Carter III. While many fans had been behind the wild mind of Lil Wayne for years before that, he didn’t truly climb to the top rung of success until 2008 when he sold over 1 million copies in the first week of selling the album. After Tha Carter III, Wayne began experimenting with music a bit, creating a rock/hip hop hybrid album called Rebirth which most did not like. Since then, he’s had a prison stint, dropped another album called I Am Not a Human Being and a mixtape as well. With his newest album on rotation and the Beats in my ears, I’m here to give you my immediate take on the album.
Ladies and Gentleman, Tha Carter IV.
Tracklisting: (Stand Out Tracks in Bold)
2. Blunt Blowin 3. MegaMan
4. 6 Foot 7 Foot (Feat. Cory Gunz)
5. Nightmares Of The Bottom
6. She Will (Feat. Drake)
7. How To Hate (Feat. T-Pain)
8. Interlude (Feat. Tech N9ne)
9. John (Feat. Rick Ross)
10. Abortion 11. So Special (Feat. John Legend) 12. How To Love 13. President Carter
14. Its Good (Feat. Drake & Jadakiss) 15. Outro (Feat. Bun B, Nas, Shyne & Busta Rhymes)
The Intro to the album is simply that as we get the obligatory “lighting a blunt” soundbyte before Wayne goes hard on the metaphors to remind us that he’s still alive and in this game for the long haul. The intro is strong enough to let us know that yes, Mr. Carter, is indeed home. While “Blunt Blowin” has a certain catchiness to it, I think the album really kicks into another gear with “Megaman.” Wayne grabs a hold of a snare filled beat to detract the haters who think that he’s lost his edge since getting clean. Those who have heard the Cory Gunz guest starring track “6 Foot 7 Foot” know what to expect from it, but I feel it’s still a standout track. Of course, one track making big waves is the Jay-Z dissing track, "It's Good," which displays a bit of a hungrier version of Drake than more recent forays he's displayed. It's a good song but none too impressive aside from the jab at Jay.
Of the entire album, “How To Hate,” “Abortion,” and “Nightmares Of The Bottom” are by far the worst tracks. Not to say that they are bad, they’re simply the weakest tracks on the album. Similar to “Shoot Me Down” and “Playin With Fire” from Tha Carter III, “Nightmares of the Bottom” tries to be a bit deeper with a slower flow and a more introspective verse or two, but it falls short as it feels a bit too much like more of the same and feels like a lazy retread. “Abortion,” seemed like a weak attempt at something clever and the hook just wasn’t working for me. I have nothing against abortion in general, but perhaps this song should have been removed from this particular album before release. “How to Hate” is by far the WORST track on the album. While “Nightmares” and “Abortion” had something going from them in terms of lyrics and some okay production, this T-Pain laden track is horrible. I know T-Pain is a buddy and all that, but this was an annoyingly grating song. Weak lyrics and bad moments in general, a definite delete from the iTunes.
After the horrible T-Pain song, we are allowed to be in the wonderful presence of Tech 9 and Andre 3000 from Outkast, (a nice surprise, actually). Being just an Interlude, it took the Jay-Z route of making a hell of a statement in just 2 minutes or so. Speaking of the guest spots, the Outro is just as good – if not better – than the Intro, allowing Busta Rhymes to do what he does so well and including the always exciting Bun-B. Later in the album, we get a nice 1,2,3 of some great songs in “So Special,” “How To Love,” and “President Carter.” After hearing “How To Love” many people questioned Wayne’s ability to still tear a new asshole in the rap game, but I feel it is a definite stand out track and one that mixes love perfectly with rap (something Drake has still not yet figured out how to do). My favorite track so far is “President Carter” with its simple but effective use of the distinction of our former President Carter and the comparisons to Wayne.
One thing I applaud Wayne for is his extensive and eccentric way of metaphorical wizardry and it’s very apparent in practically every song. Unfortunately, there are a few weak spots on the album where Wayne says the same thing in different manners. Typically, that’s alright, but there are limits and this reviewer thinks he may have over exerted himself just a bit too much this time around. The production is also a bit spotty. While some tracks have a strong beat backing the even stronger lyrics, there are some moments where the beat not only takes a back seat, but just kind of lies down weakly for the ride. When I think of Tha Carter III, I think of an epic album that surpassed my expectations so much that I felt slapped in the face for ever doubting Wayne. This may very well be the reason why I found Tha Carter IV to be underwhelming – even if only a bit. The album is good, a strong showing, definitely, it’s simply not as good as I wanted it to be and certainly not better than Tha Carter III.
The 411: If you’re looking for the tenacity and ferocity from Tha Carter III, you are not going to get it here. If you are looking for a hard hitting double, triple entendre filled album with more metaphors than you may be able to immediately wrap your head around, then grab the album and enjoy the humor of one aptly named Lil Wayne. Tha Carter IV may grow after a few more listenings, but as it stands now I feel it’s a strong effort, but not a strong final product.