No bullshit, no rumors, no fake releases, no frauds saying they having a copy, at long last, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V is out. It had been delayed so long because of a lengthy lawsuit with Cash Money, it had entered hip-hop lore of long-lost albums like Detox. But finally, the record is here and this is for real. The album comes with some big-names features including Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg and Ashanti.
The album starts with a teary intro from his mother, congratulating her son on putting together this album and finally having it out there to the world.
The album isn’t all bangers, as you can hear in the first couple of songs. It moves from the more subdued and personal “Don’t Cry,” to the upbeat and fun “Uproar” that brings back some of the classic Swizz Beats production, which the world needs more of.
He sticks to a singular vision that we haven’t seen from Weezy in a long time. Many of the recent mixtapes have seemed lost, fillers, placeholders for this record to placate fans. He gets his features to work in the way he wants, notably getting Nicki to sing on “Dark Side Of The Moon.” If you are looking for bars, “Mona Lisa” is here for you. Wayne's verse is nearly three minutes long and then he hands things over to Kendrick who fires off lines in rapid succession, keeping the onslaught going for another two minutes. If were looking for some face-scrunching, car-cruising West coast funk, the Snoop Dogg collaboration is your choice. Snoop's smooth voice carries the hook while Wayne brings the braggadocio with the bags in his bank account.
He addresses fame on the piano-led and classic sounding “Famous” featuring his first daughter Regina Carter, tackling the trappings of fame, but also praising the blessings it has brought him all along the way.
Though this album was supposed to be released while he was still at the top of rap, the delay has given him time to contemplate life and gather more material. He samples a 2009 speech from Barack Obama telling kids they can’t all aspire to be Lil Wayne or LeBron. He also addresses a suicide attempt on the album closer “Let It All Work Out,” rapping, “I shot it, and I woke up with blood all around me / It’s mine, I didn’t die but as I was dying / God came to my side and we talked about it / He sold me another life and he made a prophet.” The song samples Sampha “Indecision,” so it will tug on the heartstrings with Sampha's voice as well.
For an album of this magnitude, Wayne likely could have gone for the popular producers of the moment, but he largely stuck with the names he knew like Mannie Fresh, DJ Frank E, Ben Billions and Swizz Beats.
Fans will really feel every moment when he flicks the lighter and starts rapping. Today is a day to celebrate Weezy. Welcome back Mr. Carter.