Editor in Chief
After four years of speculative drop dates and numerous teases, Lil’ Wayne was finally able to release “The Carter V.” After years of legal battles with Cash Money records and mentor Birdman, Lil’ Wayne won in court earlier this year and was released from his record deal. Waiting to release the album may have been the best thing for Wayne as the project was finished in 2014, with years passing there were tweaks and guest features left off of the album. Some of the songs are years old and others were finished a few weeks prior to the release.
“The Carter V” is a marathon of an album with the 23-song project taking nearly 90 minutes to complete. It is stitched together in such a seamless way that it does not feel as long once listening. The build-up and anticipation for the album certainly helps in that department as well.
Wayne’s mother, Jacida Carter, opens up the album with an interlude “I love you Dwyane” by tearfully thanking Wayne and calling him “Her rock.” Wayne’s mother is joined on the album by his oldest daughter Reginae Carter on “Famous” and his ex-fiancée Nivea Hamilton on “Dope New Gospel.”
Moving on from the interlude, Wayne captures the audience with his classic flow and control over the beats. The song “Mona Lisa,” which features Kendrick Lamar, tells a story of a jealous boyfriend who has been taken to the brink by his girlfriend’s obsession with Wayne. Wayne and Lamar complement each other very well on the track.
One of the more talked about tracks on the album is “Don’t Cry,” which features the highly-discussed, and deceased, rapper XXXTentacion. It was a curious move for Wayne to keep him on the album given the controversy surrounding XXX.
Diving into the past, Wayne teams up with Mannie Fresh, Mack Maine and Ashanti on a beat produced by Swizz Beats on the playful track “Start This Shit Off Right.”
Another bright spot for the album as a whole is the minimal use of Auto-Tune, which has been overbearing in some of Wayne’s previous works.
Wayne gets very personal toward the end of the album where he tells a personal tale of his attempted suicide at the age of 12, where he survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound, on the song “Let It All Work Out.” Wayne had previously claimed it was an accident, but he confirmed that it was not throughout the song. As Wayne just celebrated his 36th birthday, fans are still getting to know him through this latest project.
As a whole, the album is a must-hear, especially after waiting for years. Hopefully this is not the last time we hear from Weezy, but if this is the end, he sure went out on a high note.
Mark Acosta can be reached at email@example.com.