Lil’ Wayne‘s been at it since the late 90’s when he was 15 and in the rap group The Hot Boys. He a classic example of a musical workaholic, he needs the spotlight like Lindsay needs a fifth. It comes as no surprise that his latest Tha Carter IV was announced for release out of nowhere, when fans had not been expecting it for months.
The album was meant to come out at midnight, tonight after the MTV Video Music Awards, but was leaked onto various torrent websites a few days ago. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Weezy is no stranger to leaks, he’s been a favorite target for internet pirates since Tha Carter III, and everything in between…
For me, Wayne’s past two albums felt like half-assed failures. Rebirth and I Am Not A Human Being, both from 2010, seemed rushed. Rebirth, Lil’ Wayne’s “rock” album was a catastrophe with its electric guitars and auto-tune combination. Its successor I Am Not Not A Human Being was only slightly better, and came out when Wayne was in jail for gun possessions/probation violation and unable to promote it.
His latest is comparable to Tha Carter III, his Grammy-winning, bestselling and best general album of all time. Even the album artwork is basically the same, while III portrayed his young self all tatted-up and in a suit, and IV has him in graduation garb. He still has his sense of humor too, on “Nightmares Of The Bottom” he raps, “If I knew I was going to jail, I would have fucked my attorney”
The March-released track “6 Foot 7 Foot” featuring Cory Gunz is irritatingly invasive to your brain. “Blunt Blowin,” the opener after the intro, is a self-assured hit as well as “She Will,” another glimpse into Drake and Wayne’s upcoming full-length collaboration CD. The songs on Tha Carter IV are much more focused than anything in his past, with coherent hooks and beats that thump you like Ivan Drago.
Even the three bonus tracks, besides “Mirror” with Bruno Mars, are worthwhile.
I would have liked to hear Tech N9ne and Andre 3000 rap WITH Lil’ Wayne, as opposed to just during an interlude, but that is only a small complaint along with my disdain for the incessant auto-tune of “How to Hate” featuring the king of vocoders, T-Pain. If I think of it as an SNL skit, it’s more tolerable but still skip-worthy. Besides “How To Hate,” Lil’ (D)wayne does makes an effort to sing/rap more and auto-tune less.
Some songs feel “too epic” if such a thing is possible. “Abortion” is way over the top, cymbal-happy and full of cinematic church choir sound effects. Otherwise Lil’ Wayne aka Dwayne Carter Jr., the short-statured croaking big-voiced tattooed/dreadlocked face of rap and hip-hop stands “tall” next to the biggest names in rap – Jay-Z and Kanye West, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Here’s a crude list of songs in order of quality:
- Blunt Blowin’
- 6 Foot, 7 Foot (Feat. Cory Gunz)
- She Will (Feat. Drake)
- It’s Good (Feat Drake & Jadakiss)
- John (Feat. Rick Ross)
- How To Love
- Outro (Feat. Bun B, Nas, Shyne & Busta Rhymes)
- President Carter
- Nightmares Of The Bottom
- Two Shots [Bonus Track]
- So Special (Feat John Legend)
- Interlude (Feat Tech N9ne and Andre 3000)
- I Like The View [Bonus Track]
- How To Hate (Feat T-Pain)
- Mirror (Feat Bruno Mars) [Bonus Track]