Lil’ Wayne is back with his long awaited album ‘Tha Carter IV’ featuring the tracks ‘6 Foot 7 Foot’ and ‘How To Love’. Following Wayne’s release from prison the album was re-recorded from scratch and with guest artists such as T-Pain, Nas, Bun B, Andre 3000 and Shyne on tracks, everyone is waiting with baited breath to see what the MC will serve up. With 2008’s ‘Tha Carter III’ breaking sales records – surely the latest Carter installment won’t disappoint…will it?
‘Tha Carter IV’ ebbs and flows with some real buzzing highlights and some other tracks that emanate the kind of laziness that only a rapper at the top of his game could afford to make on an LP this anticipated.
The fourth record in ‘Tha Carter’ series opens strongly with a handful of high-octane, cartoon-character like cuts – Wayne is flying and although he never takes himself too seriously the rapper is very aware of what he has achieved and really wants to let you know that.
‘Blunt Blowin’ is one of these tracks and the 28-year-old is really having some fun. The hook on this cut is unrelenting and boastful – a listener can almost taste Wayne’s artistic freedom and revel in it with him.
‘Megaman’ is another razor sharp opening track, and you can’t deny the MC’s assault over the minimal playground beat – everything slots into place as the MC spits like the pesky playground brat seen on the front cover, “I’m a beast, I’m an ass, I’m ahead of my class/I’m a diamond in the rough like a baby in the trash.”
‘6 Foot 7 Foot’ has much of the same appeal as mega-hit ‘A Milli’ and besides the fact they have the same producer behind them – it isn’t fair to say that ‘6 Foot 7 Foot’ is just a rehash. This track has Wayne on a bouncy charismatic overdose, never dropping his flow,”Life is the bitch, and death is her sister/sleep is the cousin, what a f*ckin’ family picture.”
‘Nightmare at the Bottom’ is no disaster but certainly marks the start of that dangerous kind of unneeded lax mentioned before. Wayne: The Little Cartoon Demon is put away on the first of some more balanced tracks which puts certain cuts (like ‘Abortion’) at risk of blandness/laziness.
‘John’ is an unsuccessful attempt to re-create the earlier fire the beginning of the track list promised. ‘How To Hate’ speaks of some bad lovers Wayne and guest T-Pain are now happy to be rid of, but this track (and “Mr President”) have been done before by other artists with better results.
A duet with the wonderful John Legend called “So Special” ends up being a slight mismatch as Legend can’t seem to get the classic out of his voice and so with Wayne the track feels unglued.
Talking to MTV on writing the track “How To Love” Lil’ Wayne confessed “A lot of people don’t open up that can and I figured that I can open up that can of worms and see what happens.” Wayne apparently looking towards Tupac’s “Keep Your Head Up” makes this track feel inspired. It shouldn’t work but his intent drives the romantic, sincere and partially sung (with auto tune) ballad into your heart. This pleasant cut in many ways lifts the otherwise mediocre second half of this LP.
The apparent Jay-Z diss track ‘It’s Good’ with Jadakiss and Drake only works because of the complete fluidity between the three pretty different MC’s. Jadakiss has effortless presence, Drake successfully fluctuates between laid-back and excitable and Wayne brings it home with the infamous, “Talkin’ about baby money, I got your baby money, kidnap your bitch, get that how much you love your lady money/ I know you fake ni**a, press your brakes ni**a/ I’ll take you out, that’s a date, ni**a.” Whether the lines are aimed at Jigga or not, the lines erupt from a simmering build up the track nicely creates.
Nas and Busta Rhymes firmly dominate the “Outro” – but all in all this LP is the output of a satisfied Hip-Hop heavyweight who is chillin’ on his throne knowing his place at the high table is pretty much assured.