Lil Wayne Shows Growth On Tha Carter V

Marvin Villanueva, Senior

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After years of teasing its release, Lil Wayne finally releases the newest installment to his Carter series, Tha Carter V.

Originally announced in 2012, Wayne explained to MTV that Tha Carter V would be his last album. But due to legal trouble between himself, former collaborator Birdman, and Universal Music Group over unpaid advances in the Young Money label, Tha Carter V was delayed for six years. After the lawsuit, Universal and Wayne came to a settlement and Birdman’s forty-nine percent of Young Money was granted to Wayne, making him the sole owner and allowing him to release the long-awaited album.

Tha Carter V proves to be worth waiting for.

Throughout this entire anthology of music, Lil Wayne has made every single release count. Tha Carter I proved Weezy’s prowess in the rap game while Tha Carter II solidified his status; even though Tha Carter IV disappointed, Tha Carter III shone as a gleaming reminder of excellence though its craft. With the Tha Carter V however, Wayne tackles unseen territory.

Getting deeply personal, the album begins with a teary open word interlude by Wayne’s mother stating her pride for her son and her appreciation for him in her life. This vulnerability sets the tone for the entire record.

Songs like the serious “Can’t Be Broken,” emulate this same tone. Here, Weezy structures a beautiful piano piece that’s instrumentation cascades with its autotune chorus in such a beautiful form. Rapping about his relationships and bonds with people, Wayne explains its strength stating: “When all of the lights, they get low/And all of the curtains, they close/You cannot break down what can’t be broken.”

Relationships seem to be the central theme across Tha Carter V, and its exquisite features demonstrate this. With the exception of XXXTentacion, every feature on the record shows their chemistry with Wayne and their power to stand on the same pedestal. In the atmospheric “Dark Side of The Moon,” both Wayne and Nicki Minaj display an intimate ode to their friendship, and on the introspective “Mona Lisa,” Kendrick Lamar shows, once again, that he can tell a story no one else can.

Although it contains many high points, Tha Carter V does show disappointing flaws through its hour and a half run. This is shown on the dreadfully forgettable “What About Me” and the generically static, “Open Safe.” All in all, however, even if Tha Carter V truly is Lil Wayne’s last record, Weezy is leaving on his own terms with a self-assured braggadocious bang.

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