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Tha Carter V by Lil Wayne

By Nicholas A. Prescott
On October 19, 2018

It would seem that we’re in a holiday season of greats returning to the preverbal game. With Eminem’s Kamikaze and Kanye West’s upcoming album next month, and finally Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V, the rap scene couldn’t be more crowded. Since I’m still digesting all the beef between Eminem and MGK, I figured that I might as well check out another favorite name of mine. The album is 23 tracks long clocking in at an hour and twenty-seven minutes, so let’s jump in.

The album opens with what seems like a recording of Lil Wayne’s mother talking about what he means to her. This theme sticks around for most of the album with her directly reappearing in tracks 10 and 14, “Open Letter” and “Hittas”. She is also referenced several other times across the record, so not only is this album a break from the five-year drought of Lil Wayne, it seems to speak to long-time fans and takes a much more personal look than any of his other work has before. 

The first actual song is “Don’t Cry” featuring the late XXXTENTACION. It’s just about all you could expect from Lil Wayne and XXXTENTACION, hosting an odd but catchy beat that slowly picks up, dropping right into the meat of the album. It is followed up with “Dedicate”, which takes another odd turn, hosting a Latin-themed beat where Lil Wayne shows that he has, in fact, not lost it in the five years since I Am Not A Human Being II

The main stretch of the album, can be best described as inspired by various other big names in rap. Specifically, “Let It Fly” and “Can’t Be Broken” echo Kendrick Lamar if you listen carefully enough. “Dark Side of the Moon” seems to want to mirror Beyoncé, using Nicki Minaj to great success. Capping off the latter half with Chance The Rapper inspired songs “Demon” and “Dope New Gospel” which uses the hook from Chance’s “No Problem” as a backdrop. 

Most surprising, was how much I forgot Lil Wayne uses autotune. Perhaps it’s due to it being overused in today’s music, it’s not being used properly, or just my youthful nostalgia kicking in, but I don’t mind its appearance here. It’s best used in “Open Letter”. 

Just in case you weren’t sure if Lil Wayne wanted to change pace again, “Mess”, my favorite song from the record, hits on a new high for the album, setting a new high fairly late at track 19. 

And lastly, just to slow things down at the very end, “Let It All Work Out” hits on all the notes of the rest of the album with a clever hook that backdrops the whole song. It seems to also speak to the rest of the fairly drawn out record and caps it all off with a nice bow at the end. 

So while I still herald The Carter IIIas my favorite Lil Wayne album, it’s safe to say that this one is a close second. Fan’s seem to agree, as well, as all 23 songs from the record are still sitting at numbers 1-33 on the top charts on iTunes almost a week after its release, with places 1-6 held by songs from the record (at the time of this writing). So, if you’re even close to a fan of Lil Wayne, go check out the album and hop on the hype. 

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