Let us be real about one thing: there is only one real ‘lil’ and that is Lil Wayne. And all you mumble rappers called A$AP can also do one. More importantly Tunechi is back, after 2015’s Free Weezy Album, the world was eagerly awaiting the return of Wayne with the Tha Carter V record, the pentalogy of the Tha Carter albums.
Unfortunately Tha Carter V was put on hold for almost four years due to a long-running contractual dispute between Wayne and his mentor Birdman. After suing the shit out of each other, the duo finally settled their dispute this summer. And after becoming the sole owner of Young Money Entertainment, Wayne was finally ready and actually able to bring out Tha Carter V.
To be honest I was hoping to find a few more bass-thumping-speaker-breaking tunes like ‘blunt blowing’, ‘a milli’, ‘6 foot 7 foot’ and ‘bill gates’. Unfortunately that is not the case on Tha Carter V, but what Tunechi does to make up for that is opening up to the world in a way that is unprecedented for Lil Wayne standards.
The New Orleans born rapper talks at great length about his difficult youth, his struggles with contemplating suicide, shooting himself as a kid and self-hatred. This really comes to life on the track ‘Open Letter’ which really brings the human out of him. This is like a breath of fresh air on a long 23 track record, which I have to admit is nice to see compared to most 10-15 track records nowadays.
Wayne really expresses his emotions, demons and feelings as portrayed on the track ‘Can’t Be Broken’ where Tunechi let’s loose on his haters and telling them to put it where the sun don’t shine. Re-emphasizing that he definitely was not broken and done for, as so many uttered publicly.
In between we find a few proper Wayne-esque type songs like ‘Used 2’ which is one major rapping onslaught full of beautifully construed lyrics that just flow. Real saucy. Combine that with a really catchy melodic tune I would consider this one of his most memorable tracks on Tha Carter V. Additionally the song ‘Dedicate’ assisted by a hook from 2Chainz follows this lyrical hyperflow. On the song ‘Let If Fly’ featuring Travis Scott, Wayne manages to fill a whole verse with the word ‘line’ and everything that rhymes with ‘line’, quite majestic if you can appreciate a lyricist at work.
On his previous album the song ‘I’m that nigga’ already featured the word n*gga so often that the KKK radar was glowing red on full alert. Tunechi goes down a similar road with the track ‘Open Safe’, where 90% consists of the same n-word. Personally I consider it a lack of creativity and intellect if a rapper has to fill his songs this way, so that is a bit disappointing in my opinion.
Quite to the contrary of most songs is the tune ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ featuring Nicki Minaj, which is actually a nicely sung tune about an apocalypse on earth and how Nicki and Wayne stay true to each other through the love for each other. To my positive surprise Nicki actually sings here, which makes me wonder why she doesn’t sing more in general, we know she has a big mouth as a rapper, but I still believe her true strength is her singing voice.
One slight downer on this album is the song ‘Start This Sh*t Right Off’ featuring Ashanti & Mack Maine. Yes sir you read correct, that is (Ja-Rule/Fat Joe groupie) Ashanti. The semi-failed actress features on this track with her epitomising incessant wailing that makes you wonder whether your speakers are out of tune or Cher’s autotune stopped working. Please go back to acting Ashanti.
To finish the album I can only suggest listening to the song ‘Mona Lisa’ featuring the legendary lyricist Kendrick Lamar. Tunechi shifts to overdrive and especially Kendrick goes absolutely bonkers near the end with about 5 voice changes, a rapping speed that would make the average Premier League footballer doing 150mph on the A1 look slow.
Lil Wayne covers women, riches and smoking but with the added flavour of emotions, self-reflection and some surprising humility makes Tha Carter V the typical Lil Wayne-esque record that proves all the haters that he is not yet broken or ready to retire.