By Tarein Phillips, Contributor
[Young Money; 2018]
Key Tracks: “Let It Fly”, “Mona Lisa”, “Used 2”
Following a lengthy legal battle with business partner and close friend Birdman, the process of releasing Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V for the past four years has been difficult. With constant pushbacks of the release date, fake tracklists circulating social media, and overall obstacles faced – it seemed like the album would never come. However, all hope was found and all lighters were flicked during the early morning of Sept. 28th, when Tha Carter V dropped on all musical streaming services. In fact, people might have been a little too hyped, considering the album release on Spotify caused the entire app to crash, but alas, Weezy F Baby is back with 23 new tracks.
One of the album’s key tracks, “Let It Fly”, features the autotune astronaut power of Travis Scott, which is a win for Lil Wayne, considering how popular Scott is following the release of Astroworld in August. The song starts with a slow tempo but delivers the power of making you nod your head along. Travis’ verse is in usual Travis fashion; he isn’t dropping any philosophical bars, but we still appreciate whatever he has to say because he’s saying it over a fire beat. Travis is also responsible for the catchy chorus before Weezy leads in with his own verse. While the verse isn’t one of Wayne’s bests, he does a great job in taking one word and repetitively using it for the next few lines, a highlight of the lyricism Wayne fans have grown to love over the last decades.
One of the best songs on the album is “Mona Lisa”, which features arguably one of the greatest himself, Kendrick Lamar. The song is the third collaboration with Weezy and K Dot following “Colors” and “Buy The World”, but this one certainly packs a punch like no other. Off the bat, Kendrick introduces the song by saying, “I’ve got a story to tell…” leading Weezy to tell an actual story about a girl he was seeing who assists him with a robbery. What makes the song so special is that Wayne and Kendrick are telling the story from different points of view, which really tunes listeners in. Wayne’s perspective starts with how the girl has another man in her life (Kendrick) and she’s telling Wayne all he needs to hear to set Lamar up successfully. The song then switches to Kendrick, where he begins to notice how weird the girl is being and suspects that she’s cheating on him, instructing the girl to give her his phone where he discovers that she’s having an affair with Wayne. Kendrick also does this weird thing with his voice mid-verse and it makes him sound like Mickey Mouse, but even with that, the song still delivers and is one of the album’s key tracks.
Nonetheless, the hype for Tha Carter V was delivered in another key track called “Used 2”. The song begins with an addicting beat before Wayne starts his verses. The track explores ‘the old ways’ of Lil Wayne and how he’s formed into new ways, which is apparent with lines such as, “I used to walk a thin line, now I’m walking chin high.” His next verse explores his love for his semi (and that’s not a reference to a truck)! He then goes on to put people on notice of what he’s capable of when he is toting said semi and just in general, giving the audience some good ole’ classic gangsta rap music. However, one of the highlights of the song is the chorus, where he references Rocky IV by saying, “I feel like Ivan Drago lil bitch, and if he dies, he dies…” The chorus is set up to a point where you can’t help but repeat it, dance to it, and potentially want to fight someone.
There are gems featured in Tha Carter V, but for every gem, there’s, unfortunately, a filler track. The album is 23 songs and there are a lot of tracks that could’ve been cut out. However, considering this is Lil Wayne’s first album in years, one could suspect that he wanted to give his fans as much content as possible, considering it took so long for the album to drop. But quality is said to be greater than quantity, so a shorter album with the best tracks could’ve been way better than a long album with the best tracks and some throwaways. Overall, Tha Carter V is a solid effort from Weezy and solidifies his standing in the hip-hop game.
Listen here: https://open.spotify.com/album/50yFYgKdwJANZ5O9MIbMkg?si=fjG6vh4QRtKgdLR0VqYdUA