Special!! The Carter IV- Album Review (Deluxe Edition)

| August 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Lyrics B+ Beats B+ Flow B+ Originality B+ Overall B+


The Carter IV has finally arrived , and with great anticipation comes great expectations. The  Carter series previous installment, The Carter III, received an enormous amount of positive acclaim from all angles including 3 Grammy Awards; some viewed it as a hip hop classic. With that said, the bar was set even higher for hip hop’s most popular name.  Sadly, Lil Wayne hasn’t been that dedicated (pun intended) in meeting his new standards.

His last release Rebirth was considered a selfish experiment,  much to blame to his mental state at the time.  He admitted to being “addicted” to cough syrup and really had no reason to stop because everything he touched was gold up to that point. Despite the criticism, his rock album did just that selling 500,000 copies.  Further down the timeline, Wayne was sentenced to jail time at Rikers Island puttin a pause on the construction of The Carter 4. While in jail, Wayne released I am Not a Human Being, widely viewed as just  enough to keep his fans satisfied  until last month when he told them he was Sorry for the Wait. The wait unofficially ended when The Carter IV leaked online and claimed an estimated 300,000 downloads.  To Wayne’s advantage, the official release of the album has three different versions with 5 different bonus tracks depending on the respected retailer.  The Carter’s fourth edition resembles the format of the second Carter with 21 songs (including bonus tracks) complete with interludes.  Just by looking at the featured artist and producer credits, it’s evident that Wayne’s team put forth a legit effort in making this project.

Most expected Wayne to soar above his competition lyrically and production wise which is not the case.  Characteristics where other heavyweights thrive such as lyrical content have never been Wayne’s niche. Wayne thrives on punch lines, charisma, energy,  and flow.  This album has many pros and cons. The standout cons are Wayne’s lack of versatility in his metaphors, he uses “Life is like a“  followed by a elementary example on more than enough occasions.  His second mistake can be viewed in two lights. For one, he shared a beat with 6 other artists while performing arguably the worst verese.  On a positive side, he let fans hear some of the best in the game at their go bar for bar against “the best rapper alive”.  In comparison to the other albums in the Carter series this one ranks among the top. The Carter III was his most successful output, yet it lacks the longevity of The Carter II, when Wayne seemed to be at his best. On C2 he was confident enough to rap with the cocky attitude, as well as humble enough to give a 22 tracks with each one having heart and soul. When comparing the songs on C3 and C4, you will notice the changes Wayne made in his flow, his delivery and his topics. The Carter 4 is an acceptable blend between the previous 3 Carter’s  on Wayne’s part. On the production side,  the beats only complement Wayne versus setting trends like artist like Jay-Z, Kanye and Rick Ross.  There appears to be a split between professional tracks and mixtape excerpts.  After the “Interlude”, including all bonus tracks, C4 would be able to compete with the other albums this year.

1. “Intro”- Lil Wayne; produced by Willy Will

Wayne begins the album with his signature lightage of the greenery as he   updates us on his views on h****, money, cars, and jewelry and his status in hip hop by using a few of catchy punch lines. After a few listens, his confident yet dry flow along with the see-saw pattern of the horns are the reason the beat seems to just ride out despite its simplicity

2. Blunt Blowin’ – produced by Develop.  

This is the Wayne the fans want.  His confidence on this cut is similar to his old bangers “Cash Money Millionare” or ”Best Rapper Alive”.  Develop’s production is grand,  fitting Wayne’s style with perfection while riding every emotion he uses as he describes himself as a “Blunt Blowin, Polo Drawer Showin, I don’t give a lovely mu***f*** a** N****!”

3. “Megaman”- produced by Megaman

Megaman has no specific point. Wayne freestyles for 3:18 landing metaphors and punch lines at rates comparable to versus on his mix tapes over a catchy yet familiar beat. It’s almost evident Wayne is off the cough syrup because his delivery and flow correlate effectively with the producer titled head banging instrumental.

4. 6 foot 7 foot” featuring Corey Gunz produced by Bangladesh

The first single released for the album has been out nearly a year and will be stuck in your head with credit to the beat as well as Wayne and Corey’s punch lines.

5. “Nightmares of the Bottom” produced by Sneezy & Kenoe

Wayne finally snags a topic for the albums 5th slot over a descending piano chopped up by some claps. Desperate for depth and substance, this track begins to settle the listener while Wayne gives some perspective.

6. “She Will” featuring Drake produced by T-Minus

The production holds its own ground while the talent of Young Money is showcased.  Drake provides a provocative hook while Wayne goes into vivid detail describing the topic off the albums fourth single.

7. “How To Hate” featuring T-Pain produced by Yung Fyre

The  dry delivery from Wayne is assisted by  the typical T-Pain voice with  a feel good beat with some feel bad lyrics. The relevant topic is opposite another track off of the album, which was a much needed positive showing creativity while lacking other traits.

8. “Interlude” featuring Tech Nine produced by Willy Will

This interlude saves the album. Wayne is absent lending the intro beat to veteran Tech Nine who spits arguably the best flow of the year. A surprise guest hip hop legend ends the track kissing the listener on the forehead putting the beat to sleep.

9. “John” featuring Rick Ross produced by Polow da Don

Still in shock from the Interlude the listener is brought back to reality as Wayne and Ross team up for the album’s second single.  Polow’s intoxicating  bass line on this track makes this the club banger the album was due for.

10. “Abortion” produced by Streetrunners

This contains light substance while Wayne says he ashes in his Grammy award as well being “in the belly of the beast and she is thinking about abortion”. The beat along with the lyrics fit the albums new direction

11. “So Special” featuring John Legend produced by  Cool and Dre

With three heavy weights on one track it meets all expectations. The production, the hook, and the verses all complement the mood.  One of Wayne’s best concept songs in a while.

12. “How to Love” produced by Detail

The third single is the opposite mentioned previously,   displaying Wayne’s feelings on a sensitive subject behind a catchy guitar revealing the Andre three-stacks in him (pun intended).

13. “President Carter “ produced  by Infamous

Wayne displays poetry while proving a point over a Jimmy Carter sample. The most creative and intriguing track on the album.

14. “Its Good” featuring Jadakiss, Drake produced by Young Ladd & Cool and Dre

The three man attack this album rightfully needed includes a beat that each artist uses to their advantage. Jadakiss hasn’t lost a step, and  Drake uses his only verse on the album to lay the  red carpet down for Wayne to end the song with an edgy message.

15. “The Outro” featuring Bun-B, Nas, Shyne, Busta Rhymes produced by Willy Will

Wayne gives the beat away one last time for the finale. Nas, Bun,  and Busta rap it out for the stand out verse while Shyne’s flow and lyrics are on point yet he hasn’t got his delivery back yet.

 Bonus Tracks

16. “I like the View”  produced by Cool and Dre

Wayne is not outmatched by his favorite producer’s incredible sound effects as he lends a flow to this beat that is perfect for a plane ride.

17. “Mirror” featuring Bruno Mars produced by The Smeezingtons

Wayne falls short to Bruno pound for pound over a magical themed backdrop. Although the concept may relate to a number of listeners after a few spins, a bonus track is a good position for this one.

18. “Two Shots” produced by Diplo

Wayne is the only southern rapper to collaborate with the  international giant Diplo. This is a Kanye move yet Wayne puts his own spin on this nightlife anthem.  The topic floats between all different types of shots, liquid as well as solid.

19. “Up Up Up and Away”  produced by Timbaland

Timbaland doesn’t really get into the drums like he usually does, though he chops the beat up nicely while Wayne gives a typical effort.  The background vocals from a British accent make it easy to visualize this song.

20. “Novacane” featuring Kevin Rudolf produced Emile Haynie

An old friend of Wayne’s receives a explanation of his departure from the relationship. This song takes a dive into Wayne’s personal issues, something the album lacked surprisingly.

21. “I Got some Money on Me” featuring Birdman produced by Drew Money

Wayne knocks this beat out with ease. The production nothing spectacular yet the drum pattern will easily for provoke rear end movement.


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