By Andrew Ayala
Hip-hop heavyweight Lil Wayne triumphs once more with the release of his highly anticipated veteran album “Tha Carter V.” Surpassing 100,000,000 streams in two days on Spotify alone, this album is destined to be one for the record books.
It’s been four years since fans have received a “Tha Carter” album. This living legend does more than succeed this time around, and does so by revisiting past styles while treading uncharted waters.
The album begins with “I Love You Dwayne,” a profound message from Wayne’s mother, Jacida Carter, to her son.
As the album continues, “Don’t Cry,” which features the late Xxxtentacion, has a modern sound pattern to complement the lyricism of Wayne and the chorus cries of Xxx.
“Dedicate” has the flow and complexity that many fans love and appreciate from Wayne. Here, he elaborates and justifies how deep in the hip-hop game he truly is.
He even includes a section of a speech where former president Barack Obama praises him and puts his name next to LeBron James.
Listeners will be taken back to the early 2000’s as soon as the beat for “Uproar” drops due to its nostalgic sound and Wayne’s word play. It is rare for today’s artists to take their sound back to before mumble rap and trap beats ruled today’s hip-hop, but Wayne succeeds flawlessly.
For those who enjoy the contemporary raps and sounds of today, “Let It Fly” is the hit for them. It features Travis Scott, one of today’s most influential artists.
His auto-tuned voice along with modern-day flow and adlibs complement Wayne’s genius. Nowadays, adlibs, which are the background vocals and sounds, add effects to the music and are heavily focused on.
Not many rappers can use one word multiple times and make it flow perfectly, but Wayne does that with the words “mind” and “line,” and doesn’t make them sound overused during the track.
“Mona Lisa” features one of today’s most renowned lyricists, Kendrick Lamar, and much like it’s namesake, paints listeners a masterpiece between two of the greatest artists of our generation. It tells a tale of two sides in which both artists talk about one another in the same situation under different circumstances.
“Problems” is Wayne’s take on the trap sound of today. The adlibs and lyrics of this track in particular seem to have the style of the hype rappers of today.
“Hittas” and “Open Letter” have similar sounds to Wayne’s older installments of “Tha Carter” series.
Listeners and fans of his previous projects will understand the progress and growth he has made as an artist.
Although dawning from Hollygrove, New Orleans, Wayne pays homage to the sound of the west-coast with tracks like “Dope N****z” and “Open Safe.” Snoop Dogg does his duty by spitting a flow on “Dope N****z” a remixed beat by Dr. Dre to the cult classic “Xxplosive.”
Dj Mustard produces the beat for “Open Safe,” and, although not his typical style, Wayne manages to create an upbeat West-coast banger in true “Carter” fashion.
In most of his songs, Wayne manages to stay on rhythm and accommodates his flow to the beat he raps over.
In “Demon,” however, Wayne starts off with a flow that seems too fast for the track itself. Midway through, Wayne slows the flow and makes it work perfectly.
The last few tracks do the album justice by working as the missing pieces of the puzzle.
All are great pieces of work, but one in particular adds the same emotional impact that the first track had, if not more.
“Let It All Work Out,” includes an unforgettable sample from British-Sierra Leonean soul singer Sampha. In possibly one of the most emotional and retrospective tracks of the 23-song album, he allows listeners into a dark period of his life.
He elaborates on what was previously known as an accidental shooting, and confesses that it was actually a suicide attempt.
Throughout this album, Wayne reaches into his arsenal of similes and metaphors, and once again, proves how he paved the way for today’s hip-hip artists.
From the eye-catching album artwork, which includes a picture of a young Wayne with face tattoos alongside his mother, to the brilliant music, “Tha Carter V” proves that Lil Wayne is a hip-hop titan who is here to stay.