Remember back in the 1980s when sequels beyond a trilogy were considered sub-par? From Jaws 4 to Rocky V, the further the series went, the worse it became. Unfortunately these days, the rules have changed. From Fast And The Furious to Saw, every shite movie has umpteen sequels and nobody gives a toss, with each one gaining praise and becoming more lucrative than the last. And that brings me tenuously to Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne‘s fifth album in the Carter series. With fans and many critics hailing this as a brilliant comeback for Wayne, some going as far as to say this is the best album out right now, I had to see if they were correct or if everyone was in typical overrate-mode. Unfortunately after a couple of listens, Tha Carter V is the latter.
The funny thing about the current state of Hip-Hop is that mainstream rap is on a decline but nobody wants to admit it. I remember when Lil Wayne first came out, there were a lot of golden era heads who disliked him (me included) and many said that Cash Money wasn’t “real Hip-Hop”. When this group of Hip-Hop fans criticised him however, they were told that they “were getting old” and “this is what modern Hip-Hop sounds like”. Flash-forward almost two decades and now the same thing is being said to Weezy’s fans (which serves them right for their bullshit comebacks). I’ve glanced at the comments section in various publications and ironically some of Wayne’s fans are in sheer ecstasy that he’s back making “real rap music”, to them he’s “taking Hip-Hop back to its heyday”! So congratulations Lil Wayne fans, you’re now “old” too; Young Money ain’t young no mo’.
If you’re a Weezy fan who dislikes today’s so-called “Mumble Rappers” or “Emo Rappers” with their face tattoos and generic beats, you’ve got to acknowledge that Cash Money and Young Money paved the way for these lames. It’s funny that Hip-Hop has devolved so much that we’ve now got yesterday’s wack shit thinking it’s hot amidst today’s wacker shit. I can’t wait for the day that Lil Pump‘s fans are in their thirties moaning about how Mumble-Trap was the genuine article.
Back to Tha Carter V, I can honestly say that this is another overrated album in the same way that Kamikaze was overrated by Eminem fans and DAMN. was overrated by Kendrick Lamar fans. I don’t understand why fandoms can’t disconnect their appreciation for an artist and their sometimes lacklustre material. Not everything your favourite musician makes is a classic and Tha Carter V is far from being a perfect LP.
Carter V contains a plethora of high-pitched snare hits, Wayne’s trademark, sometimes-slurring southern drawl, and lashings of autotune. Sure there’s a decent flow in “Dedicate” and “Uproar” featuring Swizz Beatz (sampling G Dep’s “Special Delivery”) is a decent throwback song but that’s pretty much it, the rest just feels like filler. Most of the time Tha Carter V is simply mundane; nothing stands out, there’s no “A Milli” for example, just back-to-back forgettable trash. There’s no lyric I can quote, there’s no beat that I want to go back and hear again, there’s no catchy chorus to sing along to, and the album doesn’t flow very well from beginning to end. There’s the dreary “What About Me”, the corny and out-of-style “Start This Shit Off Right”, the wannabe sentimental “Mess”, the Rap-N-Bullshit “Dope New Gospel” and the appalling “Perfect Strangers” with its finger clicks and autotuned vocals. And god-damn, the echoing chimes in “Used 2” make you feel like you’ve got frigging tinnitus. Who mixed that shit? Someone who’s hearing-impaired?
With a whopping 23 tracks and at 1 hour 27 minutes long, this album feels like it goes on and on, and much worse is the fact that it goes on without any focus, concept or coherent structure. This album has been delayed and delayed and you’d think that during that time, Tha Carter V would have been edited and edited, condensed and polished (although you can’t polish a turd) but alas, Lil Wayne seems to have put everything on here regardless whether it’s good or bad (and most of it’s bad). I’ll acknowledge that this LP was originally set to be released in 2014 but even if it dropped four years ago, most of the tracks would still sound overdone and stale.
The songs on this album aside from feeling like they’re several years out of date, sound as though they’re trying to appeal to the radio and to old-millennial Hip-Hop fans with no taste. With some of the songs sounding like the end result of Sia fucking Drake (“Famous” for example) they probably do appeal to this lame crowd. To everybody else however, Tha Carter V is basically the musical equivalent of Rocky V; you’d rather go back and check out the original (or any of the original trilogy).
V For Vapid.