Review Summary: "Tha Carter III" isn't a bad album, but fans who followed his older work will be disappointed.
Lil Wayne's name has been brought up a lot when it comes to the best rapper alive. Maybe its just me, but Weezy is FAR from it, despite the many "intelligent" people on YouTube who tend to disagree. Also, he has had his fair share of competition against the music industry's hardest rappers, mainly Lupe Fiasco. How did this best rapper alive trend start? Simply put, from himself. And what "Tha Carter III" is attempting to do is further prove this statement with vocoders, cheesy lyrics and star features.
Before I jump into an in-depth review, I must criticize on the album cover. Its cute, thats all I gotta say, which is a picture of Wayne in his baby days wearing a Scarface suit. Very creative, but a little uninspired? (note Nas' album cover for "Illmatic"). Moving on, TC3 kicks off with a short intro then onto "Mr. Carter", one of the more clever tracks Weezy could come up with. One thing that caught my mind on this song is its breakdown during the first verse of the repeated words "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice...". I wish I could've understood a bit more of what he was trying to indicate...
Kanye West begins to soar in with terrific production work, mainly on "Let The Beat Build" which is an impressive build up of the beat (no pun intended) over Wayne's well-written lyrics. "Tie My Hands" is the next Kanye-produced piece featuring Robin Thicke, which points out a strong message about Hurricane Katrina and the damage left in New Orleans. A lot of people tend to rebuild their lives, but deep inside they know they can't because all inspiration was lost, as Wayne metaphorically speaks on the track. "Phone Home", although not produced by West, is another highlight. The E.T. reference works well, and tells us that Wayne was still mind-filled with original concept. Apart from these few songs, the rest of the album is typical mainstream hip-hop. Lollipops, Money and cars? What has happened to the hardened Weezy of back in the day?
While the songs on here are incredibly well produced, some fail miserably as far as content goes. For example, "A Milli" has a powerful beat, but the lyrics could've been a bit more advanced and meaningful. There are terribly catchy punchlines, though....
"Im a Young Money Millie in aire, tougher than Nigerian hair,
My criteria compared to your career just isnt fair,
Ima venereal disease like a menstrual bleed..."
The rest of the track flows well, but I felt it had potential to be more. "Got Money" features T-Pain, whom you all know by now was used like a condom by mainstream artists, Unfortunately, Lil Wayne hesitated too long to make the collaboration work and it stands out as no different to other T-Pain music.
"Got money (yeah)
And you know it
Take it out your pocket and show it (then)
Throw it (fly)
This a way (fly)
Thata way (fly)
This a way (fly)"
Not exactly the most incredible lyrics...
Long time fans of Wayne will know what his real music sounds like, and suffice to say this ain't it. What is he exactly trying to prove? That he got more money than before? A lot of the hype was built upon the mixtapes that were released between the periods of TC2 and TC3. People were expecting something with more class, and Lil Wayne's class is somewhat above average. He went almost unheard under the microscope of hip-hop until now, but this is a good thing that Weezy is finally getting the attention he deserves? Let me put it simple in one word; "Lollipop".
From hearing the word alone, thoughts will rush through your head on what the subject matter is. Yeah, you guessed it right, lollipops, whether it being dirty or not it still depicts the same meaning. Good things about the leading single is its beat, produced by Jim Deezle and features Static Major (R.I.P.). The chorus lyrics are far from perfect, albeit slightly fuzzed out, but its the tone that keeps the track mellow and catchy. Not one of his better songs, but definitely has its place on the charts.
Conclude, "Tha Carter III" isn't a bad album for newcomers, but Wayne fans who followed his previous work will be disappointed with this one. It has its moments in the spotlight, and moments when the SKIP button becomes your best friend. Every listener should find his or her ideal song out of the 16. Wayne's choice of producers is excellent, they really pulled out some new freshness and added flavour. Would I recommend buying this immediately? No. Lil Wayne's rap style is very unappealing to some, and at times be irritating and unnecessary.
1. "A Milli"
2. "Tie My Hands"