Album review: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Album Reviews

The much anticipated fourth installment of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter series took a long time to make.
Some of the delay had to do with Weezy’s legal troubles, as he spent a year in jail on a gun charge. Another reason for the delay was the constant tweaking of the material, subbing songs in and out of the final track order.
Whatever the reason, the album is definitely worth the wait.
Wayne’s crazy wordplay and funny similes are everywhere, and the album has plenty of killer guest spots.
In fact, there are two songs in which Weezy doesn’t even appear. On “Interlude” and “Outro”, which use the same music as the Wayne-dominated “Intro” (not the most imaginative titles but still cool), Wayne takes a back seat and lets his guests flex their lyrical muscle. “Interlude” includes a great spot from Technine and an awesome uncredited appearance by Andre 3000 of Outkast.
On “Outro,” the lineup features Bun B, Nas, Shyne and Busta Rhymes. Nas and Busta particularly kill it on this track and even though the finale is without its star, it somehow works.
Other highlights include “Megaman” where Weezy proclaims he’s “a diamond in the rough, like a baby in the trash”, the kick-ass singles “6 Foot 7 Foot” and “She Will,” the latter featuring a strong hook from budding star Drake.
I also keep coming back to “President Carter,” which expertly samples the 1977 inaguration speech of Jimmy Carter. No joke.
In the days leading up to the album’s release, much of the focus was given to the track “It’s Good (featuring Jadakiss and Drake) and of a possible feud between Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. On the track “H.A.M.” from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s recently released Watch the Throne, Jay-Z made a dig at Wayne friend and mentor Birdman, with a line like “you’ve got baby money, ain’t even got my lady’s money” On “It’s Good,” a fired up Wayne spews “You want Baby money? I got your baby money. Kidnap your bitch and get that how much you love your lady money.” Great line, will be interesting to see if there are more battles between the two rap titans in the future.
This album isn’t perfect, it’s got some down points, especially when Wayne tries to slow things down. “How to Love,” the big hit single, has its heart in the right place but lacks excitement as Weezy doesn’t rap but offers a autotune-assisted croon that takes away some of the fire of the other tracks. Speaking of autotune, T-Pain shows up to gum up the works on “How to Hate,” the other low point on the album.
Still, a few weak tracks are nothing to deter me from listening to the album over and over to find all the lyrical details. A solid effort from a gifted artist.

Sod rating: ****

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