Weezy F Baby, and the F is for Finally
By Alex Orlowski
On Sept. 28, Lil Wayne released the long awaited “Tha Carter V,” the fifth installment in the Carter series. The album is composed of 23 tracks and has a lengthy one hour and 27 minute run time. The previous album in the series, “Carter IV,” was released in August of 2011, and “Carter V” was initially slated to release in 2014. However, due to a number of legal disputes with Wayne’s label, “Cash Money Records,” and its co-founder Birdman, Wayne was forced to delay the project.
An unexpected upside to the album being delayed for so long is that it takes the listener through many facets of hip hop, acting almost like a musical time capsule. This should, in theory, make the songs on the album feel dated, but Wayne managed to produce a album well adjusted to today’s hip hop climate, reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100. An example of this can be found on the song “Mona Lisa” featuring Kendrick Lamar. Lamar’s lyrics and over-the-top poetic style of rapping have been taken straight out of his acclaimed 2015 album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” Travis Scott made an appearance on the song “Let It Fly,” bringing with him his signature sound which he developed on his 2015 album “Rodeo.” The existence of both of these songs can be accredited to the postponed release date, and many fans agree that it was well worth the wait.
The album as a whole takes a darker tone compared to Wayne’s previous works, and showcases his more emotional side. The opening track “I Love You Dwayne,” is a heartfelt skit that features Wayne’s mother crying and hoping for the best for her son. The following track, “Don’t Cry,” maintains a similar mood, featuring the late XXXTentacion, whose chilling vocals fill the chorus of the song.
Albums of this length that have such extensive track listings often experience gaps in quality, and “Carter V” is no exception. That being said, when Wayne shines on this project, he does so with songs that showcase incredible artistry, lyricism, and melody. Highlights on the project include the boisterous and upbeat “Uproar,” and the aforementioned, “Mona Lisa,” a perfectly hard-knocking track. Yet another standout is the closing song “Let it All Work Out.” The chorus samples beautiful vocals from artist Sampha, and Wayne raps about overcoming many obstacles throughout his career, understanding that in the end it will all work out. The most powerful part of the song is when Wayne emotionally opens up to the listener about his suicide attempt, rapping, "I found my momma's pistol where she always hide it/ I cried/ put it to my head & thought about it/ Nobody was home to stop me, so I called my auntie/ Hung up, then put the gun up to my heart & pondered/ Too much was on my conscience to be smarter bout it."
With “Carter V,” Lil Wayne reminds everybody why he is considered one of the most influential artists of his generation. His contributions to hip hop culture are immense, and the impact of his career will last long after this final album release. “Carter V” is a fantastic album, and although it will likely be Wayne’s final projet, many fans have their fingers crossed that he comes out of retirement soon.