Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, Lil Wayne chanted “Young Moolah BABY!” In a track he graced with his presence, giving the world a glimpse of what was to come. He was featured on tracks left and right, and like a serial killer he murdered each and every single that came his way. As he did, he crafted his brand with soldiers such as Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, Lil Twist upon others while assigning two of them, Drake and Nicki Minaj, the role of generals in his YM Army not aware that he was slowly foreshadowing his own downfall from the top with the project known as Rebirth. Then, the unthinkable happened. 

While on a seemingly unstoppable run with his team, Lil Wayne was given an eight month sentence for a gun situation as he entered the land I call home, the city that never sleeps. It was left to the generals Drizzy Drake Rogers with his seizure-like hand movements and Nicki ‘the Harajuku Barbie’ Minaj with her psychotic facial expressions to carry the label while Wayne was locked away behind the cold hard walls of Rikers Island. They did so, and after finishing his sentence, Lil Wayne was liberated from the cage he was placed in, facing not only the open arms of his family and YMCMB, but a Hip Hop society’s worth of expectations for Tha Carter IV. After the usual label politics leading to the album being pushed around, numerous excuses and even the release of Watch The Throne, Wayne had a bar set for him that is so familiar only to superstars in the game. A bar established from hype but is virtually unobtainable. Nonetheless, Wayne finally set a firm date of August 29th, aligned his tracks in order, and faced the critics and fans alike.

One thing that has become an asterisk next to the name of Weezy for many is that he has been placed on probation since leaving prison, which leaves him unable to enjoy his usual vices. Alcohol and Drugs are nonexistent (as far as we know) in Mr. Carter’s world currently and as he’s said in interviews, it’s forcing him to write and actually contemplate what he puts in his lyrics. While this may not be the reason for it, I can ask as you proceed… is this possibly his issue?

B***h it’s Carter IV, Murder’s all she wrote…

When I learned of the Intro, Interlude and Outro all being the same like on Tha Carter I and Tha Carter II, I was genuinely excited. I felt that left room for him to murder the beat on any of the three occasions but the issue with being a lyricist is, being good at it is left to interpretation. Someone out there will find “B***h I’m going in, like my water broke” to be a line of a legend while I’ll personally think that line is to hip hop what liver and onions is to food. Given that, remember my opinion will most likely be different from yours. Now the intro is far from amazing but the beat successfully accomplishes it’s objective and doesn’t tire easily. Wayne comes in here spitting alone but doesn’t murder the beat by any means. “And them niggas pu**y, camel toes” comes in 18 seconds into the track and I’m already disappointed with the lyrical ability Wayne expresses early, dropping his share of lyrics that I just can’t take seriously. Mind you, while there is some sort of quality here, there is not enough to cancel out the lines in here that just make me look down in shame.

They say we learn from mistakes, well that’s why they mistake me…

Blunt Blowin’s got some power to it, with it’s slow rise it leaves Wayne with 5 minutes time to fill the beat with lyrics to make as he us forgive and forget the lyrics on the Intro but upon hearing “Bunch of Bloods, you can call it blood clottin” and lyrics in it’s lane made me realize that disappointing lyricism was going to cripple this project.

Told the judge I couldn’t budge, It was him or me…

My frustration with this track was… excuse me, IS insane. One of the stand out beats on Carter IV which I felt Wayne would’ve and should have murdered, was littered with failure. Wayne seems hell bent on sliding punchline raps throughout 90% of the album and the worst part about it is the punchlines are either hard to take seriously or just downright bad. “Boy I’ll send them bloods at yo a** like a tampon” & “All my b****es nasty like a cold dinner” are two of the worst just to name a couple. It’s like having your favorite beverage and you fill it with water to the point where it’s far from enjoyable anymore. Don’t even let me get into that “baby in the trash” line either…

Bi**h real g’s move in silence like lasagna…

Wayne, THIS right here was what we needed. 6 Foot 7 Foot was damn near fire for the entire track and everyone expected this from you throughout the entire album. Like the line mentioned above, or even every other damn line on this track, this was buried under 6 feet of greatness. Damn near no complaints here, but I feel like Wayne exhausted himself on this, which is why we’re left with such an underwhelming lyrical performance as the project went on. This album doesn’t belong to Gunz but after a thorough listen, he managed to deliver a solid verse as well.

Walking on needles, I’m sticking to the point…

A nice change of pace after the speed of 6’7 and Megaman, Nightmares of the Bottom glides along with a light but enjoyable tone that sadly isn’t supported by Wayne’s flow. He sticks to the punchline flow for the entire thing (If not, most of it) and it really doesn’t prove to be bad in terms of lyricism, but just nothing truly amazing. Wayne sounds as if he’s trying too hard on occasion with lines like “Searching for today, instead I found tomorrow…” as if it made any possible sense.

And she bad, so maybe she wont, uh, but then again maybe she will…

“And we gon’ be alright if we put Drake on every hook” Isn’t that right Wayne? Though dangerous to claim, it proves true here. Drake doesn’t save the track by any means, because the track on it’s own isn’t bad but Wayne seems to add Drake specifically for the sake of having his name on it. I feel if Wayne did the hook, and Drizzy was never mentioned anywhere near it, it wouldn’t be bad at all but that’s neither here nor there. Wayne provides his share of decent lines here and with the powerful beat courtesy of Canadian producer T-Minus (Who also did Nicki’s Moment 4 Life) but I was still left wondering what we all were… even with the introduction you gave the boy, no verse from Drake? Disappointing. 

(SIDE NOTE: It has been confirmed that this track (She Will) has a previous owner before Wayne getting on it. He’s an underground artist by the name of J-Lie and I won’t entertain it here because this is the review for Tha Carter IV, not slander hour. Google it for yourself and look at the top three results.)

You used to be the sh*t, but now you ain’t shit b***h…

T-Wayne gets their team work on for the sleeper hit How to Hate and Teddy does a hell of a good job with the hook. Wayne’s verses are less punchline driven and are just overall a good step away from what he’s done so far although the “when it Wayne’s it pours” was definitely a reach. Pain’s hook lasts for days and that leaves Wayne with less room but it doesn’t seem like too much of an issue here as it still blends well. If it was meant to be for a T-Wayne project though, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I tell a ni**a all those flows are borrowed it’s the Pharaoh, 3 Stacks… 

In the thick of the album we realize that Wayne won’t be dropping flows over the Interlude and the Outro but he leave’s in his place some very worthy replacements. Tech N9ne destroyed the track on his own but the hidden feature Mr. Benjamin surely assisted putting the final nail in the casket for what I believe is the best effort between the three different attempts at this beat.

But if she get greedy, Ima starve her to death…

Looking past the fact that this is INDEED Rick Ross’ ‘I’m Not a Star‘ on steroids, John is a powerful track, and a worthy single. Ross always does the best at delivering ‘Sprite Zero’ verses, full of lines that are decent on their own, possibly worthy of a status update but in reality, his overall efforts are full of air. Wayne provides decent to good lyrics here with the underwhelming line count practically nonexistent.

Your name is unimportant, We in the belly of the beast and she thinkin about abortion…

Man, if the beat on this one wasn’t damn good. I thoroughly enjoyed this although the hook does make me wonder if this was done while he was actually on drugs when he recorded it because if so, I know why I enjoyed it so much. Lyrics are more of a hit than a miss here, the overflow of autotune doesn’t hurt Wayne and if he would’ve left the line “Jumped on the celly, called Makaveli, he said he was gravy, I said I was jelly” off of the project, I would have no complaints.

I knock her lights out, I blow a fuse…

John Legend surprised me here. He definitely killed the hook and just from hearing the beginning of the beat I was hoping Wayne would supply quality lyricism which we got… at the cost of embarassing lyrics like “Cause she’s my honey bee, buzz buzz” that were sprinkled in. Half and half here, but I still find it highly enjoyable.

Never really had luck, couldn’t never figure out…

I remember the day this dropped on the net. Damn near everyone I spoke to was absolutely confused and irritated with Wayne, wondering what he was doing. Now? As I write this review, I know a FEW people who can’t get it out of their heads and find it more addictive than ever. Hell, I’ll admit it’s a guilty pleasure of mine as well. Detail on the beat, (you know, the “tattoo girl” guy?) and I suppose they were listening long enough to know it would have this “you’ll like it over time” effect to it. Well played Wayne. Well played. No punchline driven rap here, just enjoyable smooth lyrics courtesy of Weezy. 

When sh*t get deep, I’m never afraid to dive…

President Carter leaves the beat pretty simple, relying more on his lyrical power than anything and I found the lyrics in the track to be more lackluster than actually good. Line’s like “Bulls**t for lunch, brown bag ni**a” just weakens the overall power of the track for me but the last 35 seconds prove to be good while staying inside the pocket of the whole President Carter on the track.

Ni**as talkin about Baby money!? I got your Baby money…

Oh, this track right here… the ever so controversial It’s Good. Jadakiss’ verse was calm, decent at best and as he confirmed, he had no intention to disrespect anyone with it. Drake also made it clear that rap is an “individual art” and that if there was any issue, people would have to go to the man himself instead of going to him. Wayne on the other hand, felt the need to make it clear he feels no fear in terms of what he says directed clearly at The Throne. This however, isn’t about them. The diss was clear and the track overall was powerful with Wayne playing his usual game for the entire project, a punchline home run derby.

Look who crept in with automatic weapons, repping QB to the death of him…

Bun B has a solid 45 seconds in the beginning of but Nas decided he wanted to bury the competition, giving the third best effort on this beat and laying everyone else on the outro to rest. Third is nothing to be upset with however, as the verse was far from bad. Here’s when I was hoping the tracklist was incorrect, but I was sadly not seeing things as Shyne’s voice was heard. While most (including myself) immediately came to the conclusion he just hid in the booth, waited until everyone left and just left racks on racks on racks of uninvited bars on the track, Shyne’s flow here wasn’t completely awful. People exaggerate, but it could’ve been much worse (we’ve heard Lil B on Grove Street Party right?) and then Busta Rhymes comes in and after his usual track record with features, he’s been on fire. Is he here? Depends. If you’re growing tired of him using that rapid fire flow, towards the end you’ll be unimpressed. If you’re not, it’s great fun to hear him go. Calling C4 a classic? We’ll get to that after I touch on the bonus tracks.

*BONUSES*

I’m 100% aware of the length of this so I’ll review the bonuses all at once. I Like the View has a good beat, but it doesn’t seem like Wayne wants to step away from the punchline rap. Nothing here stands out. Mirror? The beat is haunting in a good way, and has single potential. I like Wayne’s flow here, and Mar’s does his thing with the hook. It’s a great track all together. Two Shots is an unorthodox track that sounds like it actually should be a bonus track but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Lyrics are so-so, nothing worth remembering. Up, Up & Away is hard, the beat is insane and I felt Wayne could’ve done better, from the hook to the lyricism. Novacane features CMB’s own Kevin Rudolph (you know, Let It Rock?) and it’s overall a solid track, but it seems average if not only slightly above. Finally, the ignorant I Got Some Money on me comes with an assist courtesy of Birdman, but Wayne acts a fool all over the beat, having more fun than anything and it was enjoyable to hear.

*Listening to Dr. Carter* Well, this is what I would’ve liked to hear. Maybe not in terms of the topic but in terms of lyrical ability, quality, and flow. The biggest issue here served to be Wayne’s comfort with the Punchline flow and whats worse is that the punchlines were laughably bad for the most part. I honestly see the effort to craft a great hip hop album here, but the lyrics just can’t hold that weight. There could be others out there who, like I noted in the beginning, enjoyed the lyrics for what they were and felt lines I’ve mentioned were impressive or crazy but not over on this end and for that… Forget the competition, Wayne served to be his worst enemy. I’ve said before in my previous review what people fail to do is eliminate the previous from their opinions though, and for that I have to eliminate what I loved about Wayne as a fan honestly since Tha Carter I and just observe the project for what it is. Is it a classic though? I’ll go out on a limb and say NOT.AT.ALL.


Timeless Tracks: ‘Abortion’ ‘Interlude’ ‘It’s Good’

Overall: 7/10

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