WVAU

I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

Photo courtesy of Young Money Republic Universal

Photo courtesy of Young Money Republic Universal

August Greenberg, Web Staffer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After so many years and excuses and holdover mixtapes and public issues with his label and Rick Ross lyrics, Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. recently permanently split from long-time partner and mentor Birdman. Lil Wayne, as he’s more widely known, retained the rights to Young Money, but it no longer belongs to Cash Money. Thus, he was able to finally release the album that Birdman had apparently been stifling for the six years since it was initially announced. However, it’s obvious that it hasn’t been simply sitting in the vault- just like Theseus’ ship, one might wonder what the album looked like on it’s original release date on May 5, 2014. Firstly, the four promotional singles that Wayne dropped in the lead up to the 2014 date don’t make an appearance on this album. And it’s almost certain that the Sosamann and XXXtentacion features weren’t there, given that those artists only came to prominence later. Not to mention that he sampled a 2 Chainz song from 2016. And most obviously, the soundscape of most of the beats make much more sense in 2018 than 2014.

But an album has finally arrived, and rather than imagine what it sounded like then, we can only judge what it sounds like now. And it’s… fine, I guess.

On the first four songs, Wayne puts down some of his greatest bars, with rhyme schemes as long as verses and classic Wayne clever wordplay. And he really displays his versatility, too. He murders a very Swizz Beatz-sounding Swizz beat. He accesses a lot of emotion on his collaboration with the late XXXtentacion. He sounds equally comfortable trading story-telling bars with Kendrick on ‘Mona Lisa’ and in atmospheric trap with Travis Scott on ‘Let it Fly’. He generally shies away from overuse of autotune- even on the trap ballad ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ with Nicki Minaj, on which Wayne full-on sings without the robotic effect. And it actually sounds pretty okay. The point of the track isn’t really to display any sort of singing talent, more to access the emotion that Wayne’s voice can convey. ‘Famous’ with Reginae Carter is one of my favorite cuts, as Wayne bathes in his own accomplishments in a somber and emotional way. Reginae Carter, Wayne’s daughter, doesn’t have a flashy voice, but the vocal effects make her performance totally engaging. The highs of the album are pretty high, and there are some singles here that will get a lot of play from me.

But the album has a lot of shortcomings, too. Snoop’s had a lot of garbage features, but they don’t have to be. His chorus on ‘Dope N*ggaz’ sounds so phoned in, I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually recorded it from over the phone. I’ve never heard of Sosamann before his feature on ‘What About Me’, and after his boring, nondistinct performance I think I’ll let myself go ahead and forget that name. What’s worse is that Wayne stoops down to his level on the track, auto-crooning in a really harsh and ugly way. ‘Start This Shit Off Right’ featuring Ashanti and Mack Maine strikes me as one of the oddest cuts. Wayne tends to lean into the sound his features belong in. But who in the world was looking for a late 90’s pop-R&B Ashanti chorus on a Lil Wayne album? In 2018?

And maybe the biggest frustration comes from how truly long this album is. If Weezy wanted to keep us entertained for 87 minutes and 23 tracks, I have no doubt he could. But that album would have to be much more conceptual, exploring different themes through an interesting lens, with tracks that actually reference each other at lease a tiny bit sonically. Or it could be a celebration of Lil Wayne, showcasing the major modern artists who take his influence and honing in on what makes him an engaging and influential figure. But this album is just a collection of some of Wayne’s favorite 23 tracks that he’s put together in the last 6 years. I truly don’t believe that he was attempting the “stream-trolling” model of Culture II or Sremmlife 3, I think he was trying to do too much. He had to put a Swizz beat on there, he had to put the Kendrick feature on there, he had to have trap bangers and bling smashes. He had to autocroon and he had to rap intricate rhyme schemes. If this truly is Lil Wayne’s last album before retiring (which I would bet a lot of money that it is not), he’s leaving the game on an incredibly mediocre note.

And what is that cover art? I could make that on my iPhone.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Nostalgia: how much is too much?

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    In Our Feelings: Escapism Through Music

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    10 Years of Spotify

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Joy Division is in Everything

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Kacey Musgraves Makes Me Giddy Up And I’m Not Complaining About It

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Over/Under 4: Reginald Kenneth Dwight v. Jeffery Lamar Williams

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Look At Me: Finding Hometown Glory in Fire is Motion

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    “How to Disappear Completely”: A Guide on Profound Alienation

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Why I Cover: “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop

  • I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V

    Current Columns

    Reflecting on Power and Love: Hozier’s new EP and the meaning within

AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio
I waited 6 years… for this? Highs and lows from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V