Review Summary: A good album with great beats and much improved rhymes from Lil Wayne.
The first of Tha Carter trilogy, Lil Wayne in the past was arguably the gimmick rapper of Cash Money Record's super group The Hot Boys. He was the youngest member and was looked at by millions as a kid rapper with average mic skills. But on this album, he shows improvement in not only his rhymes, but the structure of his music all together.
Back then Cash Money only relied on one producer to grace the mcs with music that will not only move the crowd, but also keep them heads nodding. Mannie Fresh is a fine choice to choose when you're looking for a street banger and Lil Wayne used him for all of his abilities. This is where the album shines most, with fine production with a variety of flavors to show Lil Wayne's personality.
The first track is the usual intro just to get things moving but does show promise with Lil Wayne's rhymes and will give people a sign of relief for worrying if they wasted their hard earned money on an old Lil Wayne album. Things really get started with "Go DJ," probably Lil Wayne's first song to get attention from a more massive audience because of the great beat, the cool chorus, and the sense of humor that Lil Wayne shows on the song. It's not a sale out single like Lil Wayne's later work but that's not to say it's a bad thing.
The album continues with more average songs but stellar production cuts like "I Miss My Dawgs," "On My Own," and the kinda corny but irresistible "Tha Heat." The next song should be heard by EVERYBODY who even remotely like Hip Hop and the name is "Cash Money Millionaire." The title of the song might sound cliché but when you start to play it, the first thing that comes to mind is the awesome beat that Mannie Fresh has crafted because it has a futuristic feel to it and makes "A Milli" look like a cheap fraud when compared. Lil Wayne may talk about the same ol same ol on the song like women, cars, and drugs but it some how blends right with the slow beat that has a cool trumpet sequence in between.
The rest of the album is standard at best but never lags on production. This album should be remembered because this is the album where Lil Wayne was showing improvement in his raps. You can tell that he is growing up because instead of just bragging the whole time about what he has, he puts in a sense of humor and mixes it with fine production from Mannie Fresh. If you don't like Lil Wayne but love Mannie Fresh's production, this album shows great promise.
I'd also like to point out that this is the last album that Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh worked on. It would be cool to hear another song from the two together just because of Weezy's obvious improvement when it comes to rapping.