Lil Wayne The Carter 4 Review

Album Cover -- Photo:

By: James Nelson Contributing Writer

8/30/2011 Issue 1

The fourth installment of The Carter series is dropping at last, and I have had the pleasure of hearing it from front to back numerous times. In retrospect, Lil Wayne has morphed into so many personas that it is hard to tell who he is anymore.

One thing I can finally say is that Wayne is a heavy weight in the lyrical arena. I bought his album The Block is Hot with my hard earned money as a paperboy in 1999 and was completely disappointed, refusing to invest in such annoying music ever again.

Nine years later, A Milli dropped and made it hard to not believe this artist was a changed man. So, I bought The Carter III and was completely satisfied with my purchase. I saw it as luck, though; I did not think lightning could strike twice in one spot. Lyrically, that is. While the Carter IV holds its own lyrically, I think The Carter III is still his best album to date, as unfortunately lyrics alone cannot save an album in the hip-hop community.

    Though “Intro” kicks of the album, it sounds like the fourth or fifth track on a mixtape rather than an introduction to a highly anticipated album from an artist who is revered as the rap game’s messiah. The lyrics were dope from start to finish, but they were inappropriate for the track’s placement on the album.

The following track, “Blunt Blowin’” contained unsatisfactory lyrics which immediately gave me a headache.

The beat in “Megaman” may be as generic as ever, but Wayne rides it well and flows with finesse, making this song hard-hitting. Case in point: “Whoa, nigga / die slow, nigga / for dear life, you’re holdin on / en vogue, nigga/ unload, nigga/ reload, nigga/ tools on deck, home depot, nigga/ well, if life is a b****, then mine is a gold digger”. Although I can do without the “nigga” repetition, “Megaman” gave me nostalgia for a time when hip-hop was still all about the lyrics.

    “Nightmares of the Bottom” has a generic 808 bass line, cheesy snares, and a moderate pace to it. I almost fell asleep listening to it, when I hit the skip button, which led me to the Drake featured “She Will.”

“She Will” is the most exciting song on this album, from its beat to its chorus and lyrics to Wayne’s delivery. If only they could have incorporated live instruments. Contrary to popular opinion, I am a Drake fan. Yes, I said it. He laced the chorus with a smooth melody that brought the drums to life. Drake should have kept this song for himself and put it out as a single. I cannot wait for his newest album, Take Care, which will be released on October 24.

    “How to Hate,” featuring T-Pain, has a cheesy beat and an even cheesier chorus. Wayne’s clever lyrics save the song from sudden death, but T-Pain’s performance makes me hope he is considering retirement.

“John” features Rick Ross and sounds like every other song Ross is making these days. Why they chose to sample Ross is beyond me, and, sadly, the song contributes to the mixtape feel of the entire album.

I appreciate that Wayne addresses sensitive issues in “How to Love”, and though his voice is not breathtaking, it suits the track’s beat.

Though perhaps repetitive and lacking in creativity, “President Carter” has a good loop in its beat.

I found two impressive aspects in “Its Good”: Jadakiss’ verse and Wayne’s ballsy jab at Jay-Z. When all is said and done, my money would be on Jay, but I have to give Wayne extra points for even having the guts to go at Jay.

The album comes to a rough landing with the “Outro.” Wayne made a fatal error in choosing to add Shyne to the lineup. I do not have to elaborate on why Shyne is probably the worst choice for a feature on any album.

     Aside from the subpar production and disappointing features, Wayne’s lyrics were engaging enough to listen to each track at least once.

A friend of mine told me, after listening to the album, that he likes the sober Wayne better. I completely agree. He is definitely in rare form. If he could mix the production and features from The Carter III and the lyrical consistency of The Carter IV, he would make an undisputedly classic album.