Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV

The self-proclaimed king of hip hop has finally released his post-prison album, but does it live up to the high expectations of the fans and press?

Unfortunately the answer is no, as the album well and truly disappoints in more ways than one and is by far the weakest iteration in the Carter quadrilogy.

On returning to society after his stint in Rikers, you’d expect a sense of personal growth or added perspective. Instead, we’re left with uninspired, generic braggadocio that rarely engages with the listener, which suggests that the album was made largely before Wayne’s incarceration. Maybe it’s his new found sobriety, but it feels as if Weezy is merely going through motions, which is frustrating considering the rapper has hinted this could be his last album.

As a result of ensuring the album caters to a wider audience, it regrettably lacks cohesion and the content is noticeably hit-and-miss. For every memorable track – Interlude, President Carter and the infectious 6 Foot 7 Foot – there’s something stale or hackneyed to balance it out – How to Hate and How to Love.

On the upside, there are some captivating guest appearances across the span of the record, with the most memorable being that of Andre 3000 and Tech N9ne on Interlude. The juxtaposition of N9ne’s fast pace flow and Andre’s southern drawl is entrancing in the absence of the Young Money figurehead, who does not actually feature. This is perhaps a glaring indictment of the disappointment that is Tha Carter IV, as Wayne doesn’t even appear on the strongest track of his own album.

However not all of the cameos are welcome additions to the album. Shyne is one such example on Outro, as his contribution pales in comparison to that of Nas and Bun B’s on the same track. Furthermore, the inclusion of Bruno Mars is a poor choice on Wayne’s behalf. I don’t understand what the current obsession with the teeny bopper hearth-rob on hip hop albums is, but it detracts from the aesthetic and credibility of the record and needs to stop.

Standout Tracks: Interlude, President Carter, 6 Foot 7 Foot

Summary: All in all its been an underwhelming few weeks in the world of hip hop as arguably its biggest names have failed to live up to the hype. However, unlike Jay-Z and Kanye, you get the feeling that Lil’ Wayne may have reached the ceiling of his career and his shortcomings on this unbalanced and uninspired album will do nothing to quell the cries of illusions of grandeur.

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