LiL Wayne’s – Tha Carter IV Review

August 30, 2011

Shamelessly, I was one of those people who received Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV a bit ahead of its scheduled September 28th release. With each new compilation I hear I try to go in with more of an open mind than a certain level of expectations. Trust me, even with the most seasoned of artists this is a good approach. However, when I tore open the packaging (well extracted the files) and pressed play my excitement for new Weezy rapidly shifted to an expression that is best described as, “HuH?”

Admittedly, Wayne was facing an almost lose/lose situation from the start when he announced the conception of TC4. After going platinum in a week with the Tha Carter III many were expecting the same warm welcome. However, I take his most recent offerings as evidence as to why expectations should have been lowered. Since his platinum disc he’s released two mediocre albums in Rebirth and I Am Not A Human Being; plus a mixtape, “Sorry 4 the Wait” that failed to stack up to the mixtapes that helped catapult into his current standing atop of the Hip Hop pyramid.

Regardless of those recent shortcomings the YMCMB front man was still very capable of compiling a slew of corresponding bangers and headnodders with Tha Carter IV.

1. Intro
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​ & Andre 3000)
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 signs of disappointment begin from the very beginning with the “Intro.” Wayne has long been associated with clever wordplay and a level of fury unmatched by many other rappers. Yet, right from the start listeners are greeted with an introduction that seems much more fitted for a mixtape rather than a full length production. Wayne’s boasting about the usual topics (weed, women, & money) continues right into the next two tracks, “Blunt Blowin” and “Megaman,” the latter of which at least displays Wayne’s talents better than its predecessors. The opening three tracks never set a tone or mood for the album failing to allow the listener to settle into that audio pocket that soothes the eardrums.

Although “6 Foot 7 Foot” was an instant hit due to the melting pot of an interactive beat, intense wordplay, and a poignant feature by Young Money emcee Cory Gunz, it continues to leave the album in a state of uncertainty. By now I’m starting to come to the conclusion that this must be mixtape Weezy that put together this album. But before I can commit to that feeling I’m met by “Nightmares Of The Bottom.” A song that Wayne premiered during his MTV Unplugged performance, which at the time seemed “cute” for lack of a better word. Although, the song works as a whole you’re still left with the feeling that there’s something missing. Then it hits you, its the fourth out of five songs to not have a clear-cut hook.

“She Will” is a standout on the CD because of its ability to combine all the necessary ingredients that make a Hip Hop song rise, yeast. (Oh No, Wayne’s hashtag raps have infiltrated my mind.) After hearing “She Will” it makes you wonder why Wayne didn’t stick to his bread & butter and add more songs of that caliber. Even more disappointing is the steam that was built up with that track is almost immediately lost with the T-Pain assisted “How To Hate.” I know T-Pain is the homey but this sounds much better suited for his sub-par collections.

“Interlude” does its job by transitioning into the quality parts of TC4. “Abortion” is by far the most misleading track title on the album, nonetheless its half-baked sound will work for most Weezy fans. Unquestionably the best three tracks come next with the John Legend assisted, “So Special,” “How To Love,” and “President Carter.” These tracks exude all of what makes Wayne the all around artist he is. There’s hard-hitting lyrics, theme, creativity, and ultimately a complete product in all three. “Its Good,” may garner a bit more respect that truly deserved because of two quality features and Weezy’s knockout punch at Jay-Z during the final verse. But at this point you’ll take scraps if that’s all that’s available. “Outro” is solid but as a consumer I scratch my head wondering why there’s two tracks that don’t feature a single word from the album’s author.

If you have the deluxe version then let’s call it 1 out of 3 with the bonus tracks “I Like the View,” “Mirror,” and “Two Shots.” “Mirror” shines as the standout here as Bruno Mars lends his vocals for the chorus. All in all Tha Carter IV will probably still eventually sell a million copies and it will be hard for most die-hard Lil Wayne fans to ever label the album as a disappointment. But to quote Weezy, “”I could probably do better, but probably’s like never.” Couldn’t of said it better myself when it comes to Tha Carter IV.

-T. Adeyemi
“Be Real, Be True, Keep it 100.”

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