With a release date of upwards of six months ago, the hype surrounding Weezy F Baby's tha Carter III could not have been any higher. Common released Finding Forever, Ye released Graduation, Jay released American Gangster, and Lupe released the Cool, leaving hip hop fans thirsty for nothing more than the next installment in the carter series, an album which, based on the previous success of tha Carter II, could have been Lil Wayne's claim to the throne in the form of a much needed classic. Finally released on June 10th, tha Carter III would unfortunately come as close to meeting its expectations as the Lakers would come to winning game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals.
The lyrical force present throughout Tha Carter II is noticeably missing in volume 3. In many instances Wayne seems to fall back on vulgarity to save him whenever he has nothing else to spit, even resorting to using the same word to complete his rhyme scheme, “I told my girl when you fuck me, better fuck me good / cause if another girl could, she gon' fuck me good,” from the opening track “3-Peat.” Really? Rewind to the opening track of tha Carter II and the first lines sound ten times louder; “They call me Mr. Carter, I kissed the daughter / of the deads forehead I killed the father / Spilled the heart of a mildew hater / I will put them body on chill like glaciers.” Classic.
He goes from bad to worse in “A Milli,” featuring the same weak lack of lyricism with awkward rhythmic inflection. Dr Carter is the first redeeming song on the album. In fact, it's the first song that made me think he actually put at least some effort into the album. Let the Beat Build, Mrs. Officer and Phone Home are three more songs that follow suit with refreshingly original concepts that help breathe life into a dying Carter III; however, they are simply fun to listen to. They are not substantive solid songs that will be going down in the history books, at least not from a lyrical stand point.
Baby Face's song, Comfortable, has a catchy hook and comparatively better lyrics, (“Yea, let me catch my breath / You talking bout leave baby you aint gone yet / and if you leave, leave correct / and imma send a jet to pick up the next.”). Robin Thicke, however, falls flat. The expectations were set high for the next Thicke/Wayne collaboration after Shooter dropped. For some reason, they chose to go in the opposite direction here with a ballad-esque tune about his hometown New Orleans. The song is a great idea and carries an uplifting positive message, but the album would have greatly benefited from something bigger from this duo.
I am not saying this is a bad album. The production is incredible from front to back, and there are at least a few songs that are simply fun to listen to. But unfortunately, had he released the mix tapes in place of the album, the title of classic would have been well within reach. Lil Wayne is not at the point in his career where he should be putting out albums that are just “fun to listen to,” it's really time for him to step his game up and get a classic under his belt. As we wait for Kobe's return to the finals in 2009, so too will we wait for a classic in Tha Carter IV. -Jake Simon