[Review] Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV”

Tha Carter IV

Lil Wayne has always been the transitional rapper; his lyrical style evolved from paper to spur-of-the-moment magic that still has me bedazzled to this day, because it shows how good his freestyling skills are. Let’s put aside the fact that clarity in his rhymes varies, because when he does make sense, Lil Wayne knows how to cook up a hit record. In all honesty, “Tha Carter IV” is the best release since “Tha Carter III”, merely because it has a lot of good songs on the album; that’s right! I said it. I wish to forget that the rapper ever released “Rebirth”, because in my opinion that was one of the worse albums of his entire career, despite its moderate success and my love for “Drop the World”. I like being pulled in by whatever it is I’m listening to and that previous release didn’t quite do it for me. Thankfully, “I Am Not A Human Being” woke me up, and “Tha Carter IV” kept me interested.

I made an oath never to spend a dollar on an undeserving album but I made this one an exception. The album opens with a edgy and psychoactive intro, along with Wayne’s more relaxed and laid back style of rapping. It’s only the beginning but I hope this doesn’t flow throughout the entire record ‘cause it only fits in the introduction. I like it, but I want to leave it right there.

Press Photo 3

Blunt Blowin” has a wonderful arrangement as far as the instruments go, but I’m just not feeling the song. It has no purpose to me because I can’t decipher the deep meaning behind it and I’m sure the rapper was convinced it had substance. What would’ve been better for this track is better lyrics to match up with a hot beat, because the rhymes completely ruined it.

There’s something awfully familiar about “Mega Man” that I can’t quite put my fingers on. Regardless, it picks up the pace and redeems my interest as to why this album is worth listening to. And no, I will not retract that statement based on the logical reason that it’s only the third track. There was so much hype surrounding this album that I had huge expectations of it and I will not lower them. “Mega Man” is all about being larger than life; overconfidence at best. He’s cocky and he’s proud. Wayne thinks he’s the best and most undefeatable. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to agree with that no matter being publicly acknowledged by the President of the United States.

6 Foot 7 Foot” is in every way an awesome track and I fully understand why he made the decision to release this as the first single. Any song that opens up with the line “excuse my charisma…” means the artist behind the words is absolutely positive he can inspire and influence others. The rapping is superb and very entertaining. It’s not the kind of song you get tired of listening to even after a year. It remains addictive and raw without ever failing. I was impressed and became anticipant after hearing this track. Not to mention it samples one of my favorite Harry Belafonte songs ever. The music video stirred up far less humor than the song itself, however, it served up a dish not found on menus.

Experimental has rarely been intertwined within the rap genre but Lil Wayne pulls it off well. “Nightmare of the Bottom” touches on mellow r&b, while meshing a soulful piano melody with the rapper’s storytelling rap. The track takes me back to the 90’s for some reason but you can still feel the modern g-style rap influences. 

The fourth single, “She Will,” has a hot beat and sexy hook by (the ever sounding high on ecstasy) Drake, but is far too detailed for my taste. I interpreted the song to be somewhat of a play of words. Wayne’s referring to his position in the rap game but making it seem like he’s rapping about a woman. Similar to the technique used by Eminem on his track “Seduction.” It’s like he’s figuratively speaking (rapping). 

It’s quite ironic that on the same album you should have a song called “How to Hate” along with another called “How to Love.” The aforementioned is based on the pain and suffering caused from loving the wrong person. T-Pain adds his catchy hook, and annoying auto-tune, helping Wayne convey his anguish of how the woman who broke his heart taught him how not to trust easily. It’s another r&b influenced track on the album, and yet another slow driven.

What’s the objective of interludes? I’ve always deemed them to set the tone for the next part of the album, if the artist is telling a story that is. After listening to the short but swaggerific track, I came to one single conclusion: who is Tech N9Ne and how did I miss his debut?  

The first time I heard “John (If I Die Today)”, the second single, I thought it was a Rick Ross song and Lil Wayne just hogged it up because the beat is obviously what we’re used to hearing from the boss himself. The track seems to be about the effect the rappers deaths would have on the world. The song starts out with an announcement of some sort about a possible invasion and the rappers begin rapping about their possessions and how they’d face the battle. What I like about the song is how it blasts up your speakers, and that undeniably creepy but unique UFO sound resonating in the background. 

Abortion” startled me when it started but then you realized the emotion weezy’s trying to bring across. I like how rock, hip hop, and soul are all combined to make a wonderful musical piece. The rapper gets poetic while telling the story of a couple faced with a situation of whether to consider abortion or to raise their child. This is a touchy topic but delivered the rapper delivers it well. The message is clear and realistic.

John Legend collaborating with Lil Wayne had me worried there a bit but “So Special” is the best r&b influenced track I’ve heard so far. Neither artist drowns in the other’s genre but remains well grounded in his own and holds firmly on each side. Legend’s soulful voice sounds like rain whenever he comes in, while Wayne makes it pour with a provocative rapping. This is the song I’ve been waiting to hear; a track that can be kept on repeat. It’s about wanting to show the woman how he appreciates her in the strongest form of affection.

How to Love” is an attention grabbing song that dwells within the depths of your soul. The message is so clear and the rapper gives a lot of heart in the track. How very thoughtful of Wayne to list this song right after “So Special”, because it’s just as heartwarming as the previous. There’s something that is lacking in the previous tracks on the record that can be heard in these two songs. The record is starting to sound a bit Lackadaisical, as if releasing another album was forced on his part. Still, recognition is needed for “So Special” and “How to Love”, because both sound so much more invigorating than the others. I was also quite pleased with the concept of “How to Love’s” music video because of its demonstration of how the environment a person is raised in can affect the rest of their lives. 

Wayne showcases his second little hobby in the start of the track; if you’re unaware of it I can’t help you. “President Carter” is another track highlighting the rapper’s strong self-confidence in himself and his talent. The true meaning is unclear to me as all of Wayne’s songs, but the little that I’ve deciphered is that he’s getting political with his raps now, wanting to make changes to the rap game. This song is not exactly my cup of tea, but it does have a well-augmented loop that I could get used to. Still it’s as absurd as the rapper’s leggings from his 2011 VMAs performance, but then again, humor is always expected of this controversial rapper. 

It’s Good” is an obvious diss to Jay-Z despite no one admitting to that. The song’s about staying true to the rap game and how some people are fake. Drake and Jadakiss killed their parts, reminding us that they’ll remain hungry till the end. They’ll never get comfortable; always on the grind and hustling to survive. Regardless of how much they gain in the industry, they’ll remain faithful to where they’re from and not pretend like they didn’t accumulate wealth along the way, instead acting like they were born in it. Yep, I can definitely tell this is about Roc Nation’s president. However, I’m not feeling this song. 

Sadly, we’re already at the Outro and Nicki Minaj is no where to be found. I know it’s not a big deal but for some reason I required her presence on this album. But it’s great to hear Nas, Shyne, Busta Rhymes, and Bun B all on one song, oh and Lil Wayne as well. This is one of the better rap songs on the album because of all these greats. Each has a slick rap style never phased or compared to another; tremendously skillful men.

Tha Carter IV” failed to severely impress me. The album sounded tired and slowed down. Is this what I’ve been waiting for? Maybe, because let me remind you again that the songs are much better than those found on “Rebirth”, not because the latter was more of a rock influenced, but because it was all over the place. “Tha Carter IV” is worthy of some praise, but needed a little more energy to make it worthy of all. Still I must admit, it’s much better than “Watch the Throne.” Weezy gets a rating of 4.7/5

Track listing:

01. Intro
02. Blunt Blowin’
03. Mega Man
04. 6’7′ ft. Cory Gunz
05. Nightmares of the Bottom
06. She Will ft. Drake
07. How to Hate ft. T-Pain
08. Interlude ft. Tech N9Ne
09. John (If I Die Today) ft. Rick Ross
10. Abortion
11. So Special ft. John Legend
12. How to Love
13. President Carter
14. It’s Good ft. Drake & Jadakiss
15. Outro ft. Nas, Bun B, Shyne & Busta Rhymes

(Purchase this album now on iTunes)

Images courtesy of lilwayne-online

Videos courtesy of LilWayneVeVo

Share your positive thoughts, not your animosity!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.