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Lil Wayne Makes a Comeback with “Tha Carter V”

Layla Mathews, Photo Editor

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Arguably one of the most influential rappers during the 2000s-2010s era, Lil Wayne, or Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, released his long awaited album Tha Carter V on September 27th of this year. The album takes the listener into the deeper side of Wayne’s life, describing the work he has put in to rise to the top and the difficulties he has gone through while still maintaining his unique sound. The tracklist also includes a handful of notable features from fellow artists such as Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, and Kendrick Lamar, just to name a few. He even includes vocals from XXXTentacion who recently passed away in June 2018. Lil Wayne has been infamous for his “Tha Carter” albums in his music, and fans highly anticipated this recent release due to the fact that it had been seven years since he had dropped a continuation of this series. Wayne did not disappoint with the hard hitting, emotional rollercoaster of an album.

The album’s intro starts off strong with a spoken word from his mother Jacida Carter, titled I Love you Dwayne, in which she describes how proud she is of her son and praising what he has done with his life. You can hear the emotion in her voice as she tears up as she speaks, making the opening even more meaningful and powerful.

The album introduces its theme of Wayne’s deep rooted issues with family, money, and drugs  with songs such as Don’t Cry (feat. XXXTentacion), and Can’t Be Broken, in which Wayne discusses how he can never go back to where he started, and how he feels that he is invincible. The feature of late rapper XXXTentacion strikes an emotional chord with the listener, and has that much more meaning behind it.

In the song Let it Fly (feat. Travis Scott) both Wayne and Scott talk about living a dangerous life and being at the top of their game. The unique metallic rapping of Scott flows into Wayne’s sound seamlessly

One of the most notable songs on the album is Mona Lisa (feat. Kendrick Lamar). It tells a story beginning with Wayne describing how he uses women to get through to these big time rappers, only to rob them in the end. Lamar comes along with him, telling a specific story about a woman he was with, who ended up cheating on him with Wayne. Wayne’s lyricism shines in this song with verses such as, “They started French kissin’ so he didn’t see moi.”, Including Lamar on the track was a genius move by Wayne, because Lamar is greatly considered to be one of the greatest, if not, the all time greatest storyteller of this generation.  

Wayne’s flow is really showcased in the track Open Letter as it has no chorus, just an intro and outro that sandwiches his single verse, which is packed with Wayne’s emotional distress. He includes subjects such as, his drug abuse throughout years and even his contemplation of suicide. The subject matter of the song contrasts dramatically from previous tracks .Like before he talks about how he can’t be broken down from the top and seems invincible, while Open Letter shows Wayne actually as human.

Later on in the album, Demon continues later on in album discussing Wayne’s problems,  personal demons, and how he deals with them. Wayne uses examples such as drugs, money, and women to represent his demons. He continues his clever lyrical scheme such as, “I’m a demon by demand too. Yeah, brought the demon out the man ooh”.

Even though the album has a solid amount of great tracks that set themselves apart with their flow, subject matter, clever lyricism, and stand out features, it does fall flat in some areas. Some could make the argument that since this album was seven years in the making, that fans deserved a staggering 23 tracks released to compensate for the lack of music Wayne put out in that time span , but it ends up dragging out the overall project. It almost seems that in some sections, Wayne was just attempting to take up time and space. If it was shortened to around 15 songs even, it would be a much stronger album.

Overall, the album delivers a lyrically and sonically complex selection of song, while telling the struggles and problems Wayne has faced over the years. Although it is a rather extensive project, it has already made an impact on many fans.

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Lil Wayne Makes a Comeback with “Tha Carter V”