Lil’ Wayne Review: Tha Carter IV

Lil’ Wayne

Tha Carter IV

One listen into Tha Carter IV, several elements of the album had me pretty excited.  Between two tracks, “Interlude” & “Outro”, Lil’ Wayne employs a murderer’s row of Tech N9ne, Andre 3000, Bun B, Nas, Shyne, and Busta Rhymes to basically give the album a complete break from anything Wayne. Conceptually, I love this idea. Get a bunch of extremely talented rappers to team up on a couple songs, completely removing the focus of the album (Lil’ Wayne) from the equation. It actually seems somewhat selfless. And it works. “Interlude”, with Tech and Andre laying verses over the same simple paranoid drone of a beat as “Intro” and “Outro” could not be more thrilling.  In fact, I didn’t even find it particularly lazy to use the same beat three times on the album.  Tech N9ne lays down what may go down as one of the best verses of the year, on “Interlude”. Andre 3000 follows him up with a very solid verse, pretty much just doing his thing. It is hard to pick out one guy who shines the most in “Outro”, but with a gun to my head I would have to say Nas’s verse challenges Tech’s as best verse on the album, and likewise some of the best material I have heard all year.  Busta manages to make a serious impact in his appearance, grabbing our attention with his fast pace as well as his Luda-like delivery in portions of his verse.  Finally, Shyne’s verse is absolutely street, and Bun B has a solid verse, but is overshadowed to some degree by the later verses of Nas, Shyne, and Busta on the same track.

The work on these songs is so strong; it leads me to believe a mixtape needs to be made employing every great rapper alive to deliver one verse and one verse only over this beat, just to see who comes out on top.

Beyond “Interlude” and “Outro”, Rick Ross’s work on “John” is exceptionally strong, a necessary respite while Wayne continues to walk through the motions. Wow, did I really just make my first real reference to Wayne’s work on his own album almost 400 words into this review? Yes.  Yes I did.  Lil’ Wayne is so outdone by the guests on his own album that he is, at best, the 8th or 9th item on the agenda when talking about Tha Carter IV. All of the above mentioned and Drake (yes, that Drake) somehow manage to be more interesting than Weezy.
It’s not that Wayne doesn’t manage some strong work on Tha Carter IV, it just that the audience is constantly waiting. Waiting for Weezy to pop off and explode into a fury of free-association. Waiting for Weezy to release an unhinged tirade. Waiting for Weezy to desperately try to prove that he is still the best in the business.  In fact, the only track where Wayne shows his patented sense of urgency is “6 Foot 7 Foot”, which was one of the best songs of the year…in 2010, when it was released. Beyond “6 Foot 7 Foot”, “John” is the most solid Wayne-centric track on the album, but as mentioned above, Ross steals the show with his larger-than-life delivery.  “Blunt Blowin’” comes out of the gate with a lot of promise, with a very effective synth and military drum beat, which is summarily squandered by the god-awful hook.

To finish off this write-up of Tha Carter IV, I would like to turn on its head one of Wayne’s patented couplets regarding his many coital experiences with the world.  Wayne raps, “Been f*****g the world and n***a I ain’t cum yet”.  After your work on Tha Carter IV, Mr. Wayne, I would like to regretfully disagree.  You may not have “cum” yet, but the world seems to have climaxed circa Tha Carter III.  While you are still pumping away inside the world, she is tired, annoyed, and wondering when you are going to finish so you can both smoke a cigarette, take a shower, and go about your business.  A swift retreat  for a period of time might allow the world to give you another shot once you have regained the hunger and passion that lit the hip-hop world on fire several years back.  But until then, avoid making music please.

4/11

Can’t Miss: “Interlude”, “Outro”, “6 foot 7 foot”

Can’t Hit: “How to Hate”, “How to Love”, “So Special”

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