Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV
    • WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2011

    • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

    It's been a long wait for Tha Carter IV, ever since our brash review first mentioned the assumed LP, and dismissed the third installment of the Carter series as less than a classic (I'd disagree with that sentiment...it sold over a million copies first week,). One of the 'criticisms' was listenability over lyricism, and Wayne's ability to create true Hip-pop with his constructions in ways other rappers couldn't, through a combination of his unique timbre, humorous wordplay, and hook-happy beats. It was a magical combination, well worth a lesser emphasis on true lyrical genius—Wayne had a masterpiece and a crown-jewel for his 'best rapper alive' placard based on sales alone. But jail time, lingering thoughts of retirement, and a few loose forays into adjacent genres have left Wayne a caricature of his own background noise, and Tha Carter IV is a collection of Wayne's friends outshining his entire collection of jabs with one or two verses a pop.

    When Tech N9ne takes the mic on "Interlude", Wayne's painfully slow cadence becomes apparent. Andre 3000's uncredited addition doesn't help either. And "Outro" with its star-studded roster of wrap-up verses just puts Wayne's to shame. It makes sense to be another rapper and to want to bring 110% to a single verse on a Wayne album. But too many ace verses surrounded by mediocrity just isn't a good look for Weezy.

    Again, Tha Carter proves to be an enjoyable outing. All of them are, in their own way. Unfortunately, on IV there is almost no "aha" moment, no truly mind-numbing beats or spits from the main attraction, and the most thematic elements of the record (the "Intro"/"Interlude"/"Outro", "How To Love"/"How To Hate") only serve to highlight what others can do better than Wayne himself.

    None of the songs stand out as immediately as those on Tha Carter III, and none are initially as fun. Wayne's obsessions with absolutes like love and hate aren't as interesting or chewy as his obsessions with sex and drugs, let's face it. Wayne's also run out of ways to talk about wanting to be rich, which is totally cool, because he already is. But now might be the time to let the "Outro" be Wayne's passing of the mantle to more blistering tongues, leaving his signature rasp for guest spots and commands to his Cash Money underlings. But we doubt it. Wayne's varied interests are so scattered, he's not ready to give up unless he's known for a few other efforts beyond his rap game. And he's finally free to do so. We'll see if, truly "when it Waynes/It Pours".

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