Lil Wayne returns with Tha Carter V

Hugh Farrell

Lil Wayne made his debut in 1997.

Tha Carter V almost never was, but after four years of legal battles and a world of health concerns for Lil Wayne, it has finally arrived.


Besides the obvious concerns around the release of the album, fears arose alongside Drake not featuring due to “clearance issues”. While many were upset, the album doesn’t seem to have suffered. Tha Carter V remains a solid follow-up to its previous four predecessors.


While having an intro of a mother telling her son how proud she is of him is nothing new to the rap game, its heart-warming sentiment works with the tone of the album’s release.


The first song that enters the mix is Don’t Cry featuring the recently deceased XXXTENTACION. The familiar voice, along with the slow but intense beat and almost foreshadowing lyrics, gives you a haunting yet beautiful track that immediately immerses you in the experience.


Dedicate follows on so Wayne can remind us that he is a god of the modern rap game. It was important to throw this song in early for the sake of its message.  Realistically, the track can come across as an ego boost for Wayne.


The redemption from this is undeniable though as Wayne drops Uproar, a diss track fueled with a fiery passion. Sampling the beat from ‘Special Delivery’ by G-Dep, Wayne tells his enemies to beware of him. Many are speculating that the biggest enemy in question is Birdman, CEO of Cash Money records, with whom Wayne had the legal battle. The passion can be felt here though, and it’s no surprise, as Wayne takes the beat up a notch with much more heated lyrics and his distinctive spin on the classic beat.


Many fans had been waiting on Let It Fly since 2014, when Travis Scott tweeted it would be happening. The song itself feels more like a Travis Scott song than Lil Wayne’s. Sevn Thomas co-produced the beat which keeps an up tempo modern feel, another aspect of the range of this album as we see Wayne adapt.


Can’t Be Broken and Dark Side of the Moon follow which see the album return to a deeper, more pensive state. Dark Side in particular carries a more loving and calm tone with Nicki Minaj and Wayne singing together. This pairing in particular, shows how well this album flows and works as an album, as opposed to a random assortment of songs.


Mona Lisa then appears and feels like the standout song of the album, with Kendrick Lamar. Lamar is known for his ability to tell a story and pairs nicely with Wayne on the song. The song has been one of the best in terms of performance in the charts and it’s not hard to see why. The story being told is interesting, the lyrics are clever and and the music runs well with the story.


Unfortunately, the album starts to feel like it was front loaded from this point on. Despite some other impressive artists, the exceptional attributes of some of the early songs are lost from here. The rest of the album follows a good flow and contains some solid songs but seems lacklustre after experiencing the beginning.


While there is nothing wrong with the rest of the album it just doesn’t meet the high bar the other songs had set, or the praise bestowed on it by the likes of Kanye, claiming that his new album would be coming second to it.


Overall the album is well worth a listen but seems to peak too early.


Hugh Farrell


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