It’s been three years and two albums since Dwayne Carter released Tha Carter III. The less said about that time, the better. Tha Carter III however is arguably the magnus opus of Carter’s back catalogue making Tha Carter IV the much delayed and unfortunately less anticipated follow up. Tha Carter IV is a return to a more vintage Lil Wayne sound and, whilst maintaining minute details from Rebirth, is more of the next album in Wayne’s musical chronology than last year’s two releases.
Though the album starts off with the impressive “Intro”, the early promise shown is quickly diminished with weak tracks. Second track “Blunt Blowin” almost sums up the album perfectly. The song clocks in at over five minutes long and ultimately, you lose attention midway through the song and wish it was over already – much like the album itself, which feels a couple tracks too long. The chorus is rather weak compared to the song’s verses as well, which is also a recurring issue. Lead single "6 Foot, 7 Foot" is more classic Lil Wayne than the previous songs, although the length of the track makes the sample grate on you rather quickly. While maybe not quite as good, it’s easy to say this is Tha Carter IV’s "Lollipop", with its thumping bass carrying the song. “6 Foot, 7 Foot” may have been around for a couple of months but the track isn’t old yet and Cory Gunz’s cameo is one of the better cameos on the record.
As the album approaches the midpoint, the pseudo-tough rap exterior is broken down and the slow ballad-esque “Nightmares of the Bottom” is delivered. Besides killing the momentum Weezy was building up, “Nightmares” shows its weakness by catering to radio-friendly vibes. Lyrically, it does deliver more of an insight into the life and times of one Dwayne Carter. And it doesn’t get better. Much like “Nightmares of the Bottom”, “How to Hate”, featuring polarizing vocalist T-Pain, is another slower number. “How to Hate”, however, doesn’t ruin what came before quite nearly as much as “Nightmares”, taking advantage of the slower beat which previous track “She Will” possessed. This time, Lil Wayne and T-Pain tackle the oft-addressed issue of former lovers and they do pull no punches. Although there are some downright cringe-worthy lyrics on this effort, “When it Waynes, it pours”, it’s still solid lyrically, even if the vocal effects aren’t to your liking.
Halfway through and we have the album’s best track in "Interlude". Although the name may lead to several questions, this is a fully fledged track and does leave you wishing more of what preceded this track was of a similar standard. Two excellent cameos from Tech N9ne and André 3000 highlight the fantastic track where the only real gripe is that it’s too short. The next four tracks however fall into the trap of being decent songs that show us nothing special. “John” is rather forgettable. The song utilizes a very 8-bit-esque sample throughout the track and, no prizes for guessing, it is also detracting as the rest of the instrumental takes a back seat. The fourth song of the aforementioned quartet is “How to Love” and is the album’s worst track by far. Weezy is very good at faster and catchy hook-laden singles (“Lollipop”), making slower ballads which require more vocalization seem to be his weakness and “How to Love” is just one poor ballad too many. The three tracks previous managed to build some momentum and keep you interested, coupled with the excellent Interlude, signs were looking up for a strong second half. Though told from a female’s perspective on her hunt for love despite her life of misfortunes in love, whilst lyrically is admirable, the song itself plays to his weakness instead of his strengths which kills the flow and leaves you wanting to hit the skip button very quickly.
Thankfully, you will be rewarded for this trek as the last three tracks are outstanding. “President Carter” is a memorable track, a bit tougher and heavy hitting than a lot of others witha darker instrumentation not found elsewhere on the record. The sample for the hook is simple yet will be stuck in your head for quite some time. This is quickly followed by the album’s most controversial track “It’s Good (featuring Jadakiss and Drake”, which received worldwide recognition after being revealed as a diss at Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé. The diss itself, a retort to Jay-Z’s “HAM”, which contained a diss at the mentor of Lil’ Wayne, Birdman, is actually needless as it’s a good song without it and it just serves to take away from the track. The album’s closer “Outro” picks up where “Intro” and “Interlude” picks off. Another absolutely fantastic track featuring excellent cameos, particularly Busta Rhymes, this track closes the album on a great note and is arguably the best song on Tha Carter IV.
What you have in The Carter IV is a return to classic Lil’ Wayne. Despite some songs being too long or even totally unnecessary, the album on the whole is still an enjoyable listen. Songs may not be memorable but they are by no means bad, as many artists would love to have songs as good in their back-catalogue. Ultimately, Tha Carter IV is a solid album, much improved on Wayne’s last two efforts, and is worth a spin, even it’s it just for the beginning, middle and end.
2. Blunt Blowin
4. 6 Foot, 7 Foot (featuring Cory Gunz)
5. Nightmares of the Bottom
6. She Will (featuring Drake)
7. How to Hate (featuring T-Pain)
8. Interlude (featuring Tech N9Ne and André 3000)
9. John (featuring Rick Ross)
11. So Special (featuring John Legend)
12. How to Love
13. President Carter
14. It's Good (featuring Drake and Jadakiss)
15. Outro (featuring Bun B, Nas, Shyne and Busta Rhymes)
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana), better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American rapper. Formerly a member of the rap group the Hot Boys, he joined the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager. Get It How U Live, released in 1997, was Lil Wayne's first album with Hot Boys, and Tha Block is Hot, his solo debut, came out in 1999. After gaining fame with two other albums in the early 2000s, Lil Wayne reached higher popularity with 2004's Tha Carter and its two subsequent albums Tha Carter II (2005) and Tha Carter III (2008). ... read more