Image via Bleacher Report
Among the many qualities that don’t make sense for a basic white girl growing up in suburban New England, my passion for hip hop music is close to the top of the list. The first CD my parents allowed me to purchase with their money was Ma$e’s Harlem World (edited version) and despite a short but intense emo stage, hip hop has always been in my blood. I didn’t get in trouble much as a kid–but when my dad used my car in high school and Splash Waterfalls starting blaring through the speakers, there was general concern for my future.
I hate to out myself as a grandma but rap music today is a disgrace. There’s a very easy way to determine if you are an intelligent person or not. Your answer to “who is the greatest rapper alive?” tells me everything I need to know about you. There may be a lot of Lil’s around, but if you answer anything other than Lil Wayne, Weezy F Baby, Tunechi, or Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., you are unequivocally wrong.
I don’t want to be dramatic but Wayne changed my life. I never thought anyone named Wayne would have such an impact on me but if you told me you can only choose one artist’s discography for the rest of my life, see one performer for the rest of my life, there’s no question my answer is Lil Wayne.
I have almost as many Lil Wayne shirts as I do Patriots ones. In fact, Lil Wayne is partly responsible for why I feel acceptable as a Patriots, Lakers, Yankees fan (Wayne is a Lakers, Red Sox, Packers fan). There was the Halloween I went as just myself, a Lil Wayne fan. Don’t worry though, no promethazine in my purple cup, only cheap beer.
And if you haven’t seen Wayne live, well frankly I feel sorry for you. I have Lil Wayne’s MTV Unplugged permanently saved to my DVR. I went to the Drake vs. Lil Wayne concert directly from a red eye flight on no sleep and it was the best night of my entire life. I even waited 3 hours for a Wayne concert during his rock phase where he just slapped a guitar for an hour into an autotuned mic and had the time of my life. He is the best live performer of our generation. There is no greater high in life than being in the crowd during an A Milli performance.
So I’m being fully transparent that my opinions and thoughts on Carter V are completely biased. That doesn’t change the fact that Carter V deserves at least 12 Grammy’s. All my Wayne fans know what these past few years have been like waiting for this album to drop. Treacherous, insufferable, frustrating, demoralizing are some of the words I would use. We thought about putting on our best “can I speak to a manager” face and going directly to Birdman’s house. GIVE US THE CARTER V. We got features on No Problems, I’m The One, Only, Rich Sex, and the always timeless Truffle Butter. But the people wanted a full Wayne creation–and boy did we get it.
Carter V is a complete album. No more mixtapes or Wayne rapping over someone else’s songs. If you wanted a compilation of club bangers and singles, you didn’t get 23 of them, sorry. What we got was a journey. Not some poopity scoop raps about being rich and fucking girls. Well, of course we got some of that, but opening up with an emotional recording of Mrs. Lil Wayne and then a song feat the recently deceased XXXTentacion called “Don’t Cry”, I knew we were on an artistic rollercoaster.
It took me over 2 hours on Thursday night/Friday morning to get through the entire track list. I listened to all the songs in order and when Dedicate started I couldn’t stop smiling. PS did anyone else realize that’s 2 Chainz with the voiceover? The Wayne/2 Chainz friendship (Wayne was the best man at his wedding) is so touching. If you’re under 25 you were probably offended, but he put all today’s rappers in a bodybag. Oh you think you guys started face tattoos and driving Bugatti’s? Try again bitch, Wayne woke up in a new Bugatti.
Uproar was the first banger everyone on Twitter freaked out over. Haters were complaining that it was just the Special Delivery beat that made it so fire, but I was just comparing it to Dedication 4’s Green Ranger ft. J Cole. It’s hysterical because Wayne specifically says how much he hates the beat on that track, so I wonder if he was just trying to redeem himself. I never wanted to say it but Cole outshined him on that one. Not anymore.
Let It Fly is pretty much just Wayne on a Travis Scott song. I really love what he did with the features on this album though. It must be hard to challenge yourself when you already know you’re the best rapper alive. So Wayne wanted to prove he could beast these rappers when they are in their own element. You think Travis Scott or Kendrick Lamar are the best rappers right now? Think again. Even Stormi can’t make Astroworld #1 this week.
That being said, it took me so long to get through this album because once I got to Mona Lisa, I listened to it at least 5 times. My apartment almost caught fire. I made that face like something smelled like a rotting corpse for so long that I was afraid it might get stuck like that. The permanent Lil Wayne/Kendrick Lamar face. I find it hard to get into Kendrick Lamar but once you Weezy-ify it, it’s disgusting (in a good way).
I can’t wait until my kids are old enough that I can play Mona Lisa in the car for them and have them be completely blown away by who their mom is. HEY KIDS YOU HEAR THAT LIGHTER FLICK?!?! That’s how mom got pregnant with you.
I also want to remind you that Lil Wayne doesn’t write any of this shit ahead of time. I know he told ya’ll on A Milli but even with a lot of time, he still raps all of these lyrics off the top of his head. Mona Lisa felt like Weezy’s A Story to Tell moment and I really hope the Grammy committee is paying attention.
On Carter V, Wayne out XXXTentaticion’d XXXTentacion, he out Travis Scott’d Travis Scott, out Kendrick Lamar’d Kendrick Lamar, out Nicki Minaj’d Nicki Minaj on Dark Side of the Moon. But on What About Me, Wayne took on the people’s champ, Drake. I’m not shy in saying that one of my favorite Lil Wayne tracks of all time is I’m Single. For years my Twitter, Tinder, probably my LinkedIn bio was “I’m chillin, but my swag on full attack”. Weezy has always known how to talk to us ladies (see: How To Love). I don’t want to piss anyone off here but What About Me is top 5 on Carter 5. I love romantic Wayne. Personally would have loved that track to feature Drake just so he could have bodied him doing Drake’s specialty. Though to be honest if I could have put Drake on any track it would have been Open Safe.
The minute the album came out I looked through the track listing to see what features on there. There were a lot of rumors about Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Big Sean, and Justin Timberlake being on Carter V. What I didn’t see coming was an Ashanti feature. I just want to say, good for Ashanti. In my day, Ashanti features were always guaranteed classic BOPS, and Start This Shit Off Right is the ultimate bop. Already can’t wait for Summer 2019 because this one is going to be in rotation for a while.
It’s been 2 days and my top 10 tracks so far are:
- Mona Lisa
- What About Me
- Start This Shit Off Right
- Can’t Be Broken
- Took His Time
- Dope N*
- Let It All Work Out
What do you think about my list?
I want to end this completely biased review with Let It All Work Out. In the 7 years since Carter IV came out, we thought we might never get Carter V because we thought Wayne himself might not make it to its’ release. There were emergency landings from seizures definitely not attributed to the aforementioned lean that he is addicted to…people had death pools trying to pinpoint when he might die.
But as much as I try not to believe it, there are certain instances that make it hard to deny that things happen for a reason. At 12 years old, literally little Lil Wayne ‘accidentally’ picked up a handgun and shot himself in the chest, missing his heart by just 2 inches. 2 inches in the other direction and the Butterfly Effect of the whole world is different. 2 inches, one police officer and a whole lot of fate.
At least that’s the story we’ve always heard from Weezy.
After the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, Lil Wayne opened up about the real story, the suicide attempt at age 12. If it weren’t for the HEAT on the rest of this album, this would be the #1 story coming out of Carter V. It’s the perfect way to end the album and it proves that there is undeniably some higher power keeping Weezy with us.
In a recent interview with Billboard Magazine, Wayne’s BFF Mack Maine told us why it was finally time to open up. It makes the release of Carter V on Weezy’s birthday make so much more sense.
He just told me one day that he was ready to address it now. Just being an adult, reaching a level of maturity and comfort where it’s like, ‘I want to talk about this because I know a lot of people out here might be going through that.
The 3rd verse of Let It All Work Out is pure poetry. It’s brave, it’s honest, and it hopefully will help a lot of people. Something I never thought I’d say about a Lil Wayne song, but at the same time is the least surprising thing ever.
Tunechi, you a monster
Looked in the mirror, but you wasn’t there, I couldn’t find ya
I’m lookin’ for that big old smile, full of diamonds
Instead, I found this letter you ain’t finished writin’
It read, “I’m sorry for even apologizing”
I tried, compromising and went kamikaze
I found my momma’s pistol where she always hide it
I cry, put it to my head and thought about it
Nobody was home to stop me, so I called my auntie
Hung up, then put the gun up to my heart and pondered
Too much was on my conscience to be smart about it
Too torn apart about it, I aim where my heart was pounding
I shot it, and I woke up with blood all around me
It’s mine, 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
So when I hear the echoes of my parents telling me how bad this rap music is, or that it’s just a fad I’ll grow out of, I’m just so thankful that I live in the Lil Wayne era. Now please excuse me for the next 60 years I’ll be listening to the Carter V on repeat.