Lil Wayne / Tha Carter IV / Universal
Dextrous. Genuine. Exhilarating. Those three words were used to describe the New Orleans artist’s three previous Tha Carter creations in the studio and the average skeptic would assume all three would depict the fourth installment. Alternatively, Lil Wayne’s latest breath of afflicting hip hop, Tha Carter IV, can be sketched with the word raw. Not because the 28-year-old unravels like a carnivorous reptile shedding skin and accelerates into a series of melodic rap prose that’s so appealing it carves the inner ear (“Megaman”), but more because the album isn’t an over polished glass. With anticipation having wreaked havoc for x amount of months, it should be. “How To Hate” with its guest spot from T-Pain and the jazzed up “John” act in that manner and though similarities dotted throughout Tha Carter IV are hard to neglect, the remnants wolf down your attention. Why? When Lil Wayne catches fire, he’s hard to stifle.
Radio grind beats get swallowed by tenacity (“6 Foot 7 Foot”), symphonic twists showcase a slick growl (“Nightmares Of The Bottom”) and sample hooks blaze with realism (“President Carter”) pushing Wayne to be plain (“Yesterday just died, tomorrow never cried”). Even when he’s out of character, with guitar and love in hand (“How To Love”) or tackling melodrama (“She Will”), he never ceases to resist from speaking with an inventive tongue. That in itself differentiates Tha Carter IV from its siblings; while Wayne found himself drawing up a personality and an imposing style when caught in the zone, he’s now completely focused on conceiving endless ways to subdue his last written piece of work with more numbing wordplay. The mentality has always been in his heart and blood since 1993 but now he treats the craft like natural selection and though this recorded effort may not be another David, it is lucidly his Pietà, and that’s a picture most won’t get unless the flash is on.
Download: “She Will (ft. Drake)”, “President Carter”, “Outro”
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