Lil Wayne’s long awaited 12th studio album, Tha Carter V, has finally released. For Wayne, the road to this album release has been one filled with turmoil that has on multiple occasions caused concern for the artist. In the time since the last album release from Tha Carter series, Wayne has been in a highly publicized legal dispute with Cash Money Records’ co-founder Birdman that has only recently been settled, with Wayne winning the dispute. But at the same time, Wayne has battled with his health as he’s suffered multiple hospitalizations over the past few years. With each year and delay, Carter V has most likely undergone various revisions. The mix between new and old work is almost unnoticeable during the 90 minute run of this project.
The album starts off with a heartfelt message from Wayne’s mother, in which she fondly expresses the love and gratitude she has for Wayne, and seemingly like everyone else, she also notes her eagerness to hear Wayne’s new work.
There’s moments on Tha Carter V where Wayne has a somber yet reassured tone. On “Don’t Cry”, which features a melancholy contribution from the late XXXTENTACION, Wayne addresses some of the hardships he’s had to deal with including the long delay to the album saying, “Don’t call it a comeback/It was dark, now the sun back/Hit me hard but I punched back”. Wayne did have to struggle to take back his musical agency from his former label. Keeping with the dim, luminous theme, Nicki Minaj contributes her part on “Dark Side of the Moon”, where her and Wayne deliver an atmospheric message to the person they love. In what may be one of the most terrifying moments that could ever occur, an apocalypse, Wayne and Nicki would both maintain their feelings for their person in the hypothetical situation saying, “I’ll be waiting for you/On the dark side of the moon”.
Key points that set a standard for this project are the Travis Scott featured track “Let it Fly”, and the Swizz Beatz produced track “Uproar”, where there’s a blend between the new and classic Wayne, and sonically it flows well. In one of the standout tracks, “Mona Lisa”, Wayne and Kendrick Lamar put on a theatrical performance where an opportune Wayne drives a jealous Lamar mad, all while they both maintain a ruthless delivery.
On Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne opens up on an emotional path. Perhaps the album’s delay played a major part in this. Perhaps, Wayne has reached a point where he realizes where his legacy stands amongst listeners, and what drives him now is his freedom and his family. Wayne’s mom, Jacida Carter, who Wayne stated played an important part in the making of this project, along with his daughter, Reginae Carter, who is featured on the track “Famous”, may be where his passion lies now. Or perhaps it’s Wayne’s new comfort with being able to reveal more as he does on the closing track “Let it All Work Out”, where he raps “It’s mine, I didn’t die, but I was dying/God came to my side and we talked about it/ He sold me another life and he made me a prophet”. One thing’s for sure, on his 36th birthday, Lil Wayne was able to deliver us all a present like no other.
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Lil Wayne: ‘Tha Carter V’ Album Review. Featured Image Credit: Young Money/Republic/Universal