Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter V:” One of the most anticipated hip-hop albums of the decade lives up to the hype


Tha Carter V album cover

by Bailey Spore and Ryan Sheehy

Tha Carter V,released September 28, is made stronger by guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, XXXTentacion, Travis Scott, and more. Tha Carter V is an overall amazing album, and we recommend giving it a listen if you haven’t already.

The album opens with a hook from the late controversial Florida rapper XXXTentacion, Don’t Cry,” as Wayne took a pre-recorded verse before X’s death. In an interview with CRWN Magazine, Wayne said, “That was my brother Mac’s idea to have X featured on the album. He played me a verse from X and it was my first time hearing him. Right after that, I told him that we have to put X on the album.”

Travis Scott is a feature on the songLet it Fly. Scott released an album titled Astroworld which is easily one of the biggest hip-hop albums of the year. The song broke streaming charts and received many positive critical reception, so it makes sense why this was a track that fans were very much looking forward to.

This album not only captures the stellar production, amazing lyricism, and wordplay that made all the other “Tha Carter” albums great but also is a fantastic album that has its own unique vibe that is separate from the others. This album is definitely a flash from the past, as a lot of the songs sound like they were taken right out of the 90’s because of the beat arrangements and use of keyboard sounds like Dr. Dre. This is for sure a very old-school sounding album, which is in no way a flaw. It is the perfect blend of mainstream trap infused rap, and old-school hip-hop. No doubt this album is one of the best of the year.

The album was nearly a perfect album, and would’ve been perfect if Nicki Minaj was not featured on Dark Side of the Moon.” Nicki’s verse didn’t fit in with the rest of the album and seems like it was forced in.

“Tha Carter” franchise is a fundamental landmark in Wayne’s discography, as these albums have produced some of Weezy’s most popular songs including A Milli,” “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “Phone Home, and “LolliPop”. It has been nearly 7 years since the release of Tha Carter IV back in 2011, and fans have been consistently wondering when he will drop his next album. He has been teasing, releasing samples and mentioning in interviews that it will be coming. However, no one knew exactly when it would be released.

As a progression of albums beginning in the early 2000’s, each one portrays a different portrait of Wayne’s life, giving grim details of his youth. This is his most personal album he’s ever released. Wayne effortlessly transitions from straight bangers, to a very personal story of his childhood, and other moments of his life. The album never feels like it is being held down by the number of lyrics, as every song is catchy enough to grab your attention.  

It has been 4 years since Lil Wayne dropped I Am Not A Human Being II, which was a slight detour in terms of source material, as this album covered a dark, personal side of Wayne that fans have also never seen before. This album received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike.

Wayne has a very traumatic background. At the age of 12, he found his mom’s gun and attempted to kill himself with it, shooting himself in the chest. He dives deep into this subject on the final song on the album titled Let It All Work Out,”  featuring vocals from UK R&B artist Sampha.

Wayne raps,”I didn’t die, but as I was dying. God came to my side, and we talked about it. He sold me another life, and he made a prophet.”

This is definitely the most personal song on the album, as he opens up about something that he hasn’t ever talked about yet. Years later, Wayne is one of the most successful artists on the planet, with a net worth of over $150 million.

One of the most popular songs on the album is Mona Lisa” featuring veteran rapper Kendrick Lamar. Mona Lisa tells the story of a girl cheating on her boyfriend with rappers that have money, like Lamar and Wayne. Wayne and Lamar are two of the best in the rap game. The lyrical flow of these two is unmatched on its own, but on a song together, it is perfect.

In Kendrick’s verse, he raps “Woke up in the morning to The Great Gatsby”.

Inferring that he slept over at a girls house and woke up to her reading “The Great Gatsby”. Coincidentally, “The Great Gatsby” is a story of a lady cheating on her husband and having an affair with someone rich, just like the girl mentioned in the song. This ingeniousness of the hidden reference is just another reason why Wayne and Lamar are two of the greatest rappers in the modern day. Kendrick was meant to be on a song with Weezy. The story told by this song portrays a perfect image in your head. Wayne’s flow and Lamar’s voice changes as the story reaches a climax.

“Tha Carter V” had a very successful first week, selling 480,000 units in just one week. Wayne also became the first artist in history to debut two songs in the top 5 of The Hot 100. Those songs are “Mona Lisa” and “Don’t Cry”. “Tha Carter V” also had the second biggest streaming debut, with 433 million streams in the first week, falling behind Drake’s Scorpion with 746 million streams.

The album had such a big first week that other albums did not get as much publicity. Logic dropped YSIV and Kevin Gates dropped Luca Brasi 3. Both of these albums could have had bigger releases if they dropped any other weekend.

This year has been a year of viral internet videos. The viral In My Feelings challenge was inspired by Drake’s hit song In My Feelings. In this challenge, people would get out of a moving car and dance along to the song. Tha Carter V inspired another viral challenge. The Uproar challenge is inspired by Uproar. A song on the album with a beat that makes you want to dance, and that’s exactly what people do. Fans took to social media to post videos of them dancing along to the song.

Overall, Tha Carter V lived up to everyone’s expectations, as it brought back everything that made all the other Carter’s so groundbreaking, but also brings new source material and beats that he really has not handled before. We would give Tha Carter V a rating of 9.5 out of 10. This may not be Weezy’s best album, but it is definitely one of his best.