Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., otherwise known as Lil Wayne, has released his fifth installment to “Tha Carter” series this weekend. Now 36 years old, Wayne’s growth and ability to explore various avenues and subgenres within rap has given him the well-deserved title of a rap icon and led him to over 26 successful years in the industry. Living almost his entire youth and all of his adult life as a rapper, Wayne has built an outstanding fan base that has remained loyal and patient throughout the years.
Patience is key for Lil Wayne fans being as though “Tha Carter V” album was seven years in the making. Despite the overly long wait, Wayne is grateful for his outstanding fans that have remained solid through Wayne’s ups and downs, thanking them with various mixtapes like “Dedication 4”, 5, and 6, as well as “No Ceilings 2”, “Sorry 4 the Wait 2”, and “T-Wayne”. Wayne also released two solo albums, two compilation albums, and one EP since “Tha Carter IV” which released in 2011.
While the wait was long and tons of music was released in the process, Wayne was able to compose 87 original minutes of his best work to date. Many listeners have voiced their discretion on the length of the album, becoming nostalgic to the old school ten track template that is rarely used anymore. Despite getting much grief by listeners for having well over an hour of content (1 Hour, 27 Minutes), the question that does arise is how does one sum up seven years of their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and emotions into ten to twelve four-minute long tracks? Well, they most likely can not.
On September 25th, Wayne took to youtube to clear up some confusion on his album release date. While walking through his studio with a camera in tow Wayne gave his fans an intimate message; “With this album, I always give y’all all of me, but this album I’m giving you more than me” said Wayne.
Wayne went on to say, “You gotta always remember that this is, years of work. This is four, five, six years of work that hopefully you’ll be listening to, and I hope you enjoy it. You don’t have to love it, you don’t even have to like it, I just hope you enjoy it everytime you put it on…”
“Tha Carter V” is just that; an enjoyable and lovable album that is easy to listen to. Although Wayne didn’t go outside of the box on this installment, he did combine the multiple personalities of himself. Many of the tracks flow on the slower side as Wayne takes his time on each beat. “Open Letter” and “Open Safe” are two favorites that go harder on the beat, but some of Wayne’s best songs recruit classic and unusual features.
“Start this Shit Off Right” features an old-school collaboration with Mack Maine and Ashanti while another track adds his daughter Regina Carter on a pop hit called “Famous”. Kendrick Lamar drops an outstanding verse on “Mona Lisa”. New age icon Travis Scott and longtime teammate Nicki Minaj make their own individual appearances as well. Wayne reached out to the legendary Snoop Dog for “Dope N****Z” and even the late XXXTentacion on the opening track “Don’t Cry”.
This album will not be one that adds more fans to the Wayne capsule, but it will entertain the many that have stood by in the long hall. Lil Wayne has catered this album to those individuals, but he, unfortunately, didn’t accomplish anything new in the seven years it took him to produce this piece of work.
It is possible that Wayne gets a pass for not challenging himself because he has given so much over the years already, but regardless it is great to see him back with an album that can be enjoyed; which was his only goal in itself.