Review Summary: A disappointing release that could use a general theme, better production and more effort.
Tha Carter IV was one of the most anticipated hip-hop albums of the year, and can also be labeled as one of the most disappointing. Wayne's ridiculousness and ignorance about the concept of maturing as an artist was already apparent with the release of Rebirth, but Tha Carter IV still attempts to scratch its fingernails on multiple genres, failing each and every time.
IV is not completely terrible. It has great moments that really do a great job of showcasing Wayne's still considerable talents. First of all, the writing is for the most part tolerable, but some lines prove that Wayne's detractors are correct.
"Jumped on the celly, called Makaveli/He say he was gravy, I say I was jelly"
"Cause she my honey bee, yeah, buzz buzz/And now I’m itching and scratching, that’s that love bug."
“Don’t fuck with Wayne, cuz when it Wayne’s it pours”
"All about my riches, my name should be Richard..."
"I beat the beat up, call it self defense, swear man/ I be seeing through theses niggas like sequins..."
"To my niggas in the game, keep the game fair/Players play, coaches coach and cheerleaders cheer..."
Every other track seems to be riddled with problems, whether it be with bad production, delivery, unnecessary guest spots, or uninspired writing. When fans had to be patient after what seemed like months of setbacks, they shouldn't be given filler masquerading as quality material. After Wayne's eight month sentence, it would be assumed that he had time to write real and substantial classics. What else would he do with his time?
Although its scattered across the tracklist, there is some quality production to be found here. "MegaMan" is created entirely from samples of the video game. "6 Foot 7 Foot" contains an extremely cleverly used sample from Harry Belefonte's "Day-O (Banana Boat)". John is a remixed space styled version of "I'm Not a Star" the intro track of Rick Ross' Teflon Don. However, "Intro", "Interlude" and "Outro" use the exact beat, and it is really uninteresting. Seriously, the beat isn't anything special, so why use it on three tracks? "Blunt Blowin'" "She Will" and "Abortion" are similarly lazy. It's as if Wayne was obligated to use certain pieces of production in a track on this album, and had to build his lyrics and flow as an afterthought.
The collaborations save nothing. Andre 3000, Nas, Tech9ne and Drake, are, as to be expected, wasted potential. Wayne doesn't even bother to make himself stand out, he's more content with other people doing his work. Unfortunately, these artists are aware they're on a Lil' Wayne album and might as well just have phoned in their raps while doing their taxes. That's how bored they sound.
The main problem with this album is a complete lack of consistency. Sometimes Wayne sounds hungry as he has ever been, while at other times he sounds bored and lazy. Some tracks are meant for the rap fans, some are meant for the pop fans, and some are meant for the rock fans. If Tha Carter IV had stuck to a single unifying theme or feel, everything would have been much more focused and all the better for it. The closest thing to any kind of unification here is the Intro beat, which appears at the beginning, middle and end.
Despite great moments, this is an average release that disappoints Lil' Wayne fans. Those who predicted it would be revolutionary will be surprised to find out it isn't even evolutionary.