Lil Wayne is a legendary rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana. To celebrate the second anniversary of his highly anticipated 2018 LP Tha Carter V, Weezy is giving us ten more tracks from what he calls the “og” version of the record. With never before seen cuts from prime Wayne coming to surface, will the veteran MC be able to restore his status as one of the premier artists in the game?
For the most part, Lil Wayne brings back the fire that made him so beloved over a decade ago. Opening with the unofficial sequel to his classic “Mr. Carter” song, the “Life of Mr. Carter” applies its predecessor’s themes of relentless work and dedication to Wayne’s current life. The 37-year-old rappers pen game seems to have bounced back from his previous two albums as cuts like “Holy” and “Scottie”, show Weezy displaying some of his most creative and intricate wordplay in a while. On top of these lyrical exercises, Wayne’s introspective side is one of the records best qualities as songs like “Lost” are heartfelt anthems on this rappers perception of himself and the world nearly three decades after of being in stardom. The project’s definite standout is “More to the Story”, which features Wu-Tang Clan legend, Raekwon. Very similar to the 2018 versions “Mona Lisa”, Wayne and Rae paint out a vivid story about a drug dealer who ends up being brutally murdered due to his tracks being uncovered. In all of its glory, Tha Carter V Deluxe falls off hard after these points. Songs like “F Him Good” are no exception to this as Wayne tells a boring love story filled with some of the corniest lines he’s ever said like “I had the shrimp she had the pasta”. Even “Siri” with notorious collaborator 2 Chainz was a letdown as despite having its lyrical peaks, the tracks dense message plagues it. Besides these moments, previously released singles like “In This House” with Gucci Mane, the Post Malone covered “What About Me”, and the records closer “Hasta La Vista”, are solid, but don’t do enough to blow anyone out of the water. As a whole, Lil Wayne shows he still can achieve greatness but his desire to make club hits and sex songs ends up ruining his most personal series authenticity.
Sonically, there is a formidable soundtrack backing Weezy’s inconsistent performance. While barriers are not being broken by any means, the high-quality, versatile production is something all hip-hop fans can admire. From the menacing entrance “Life of Mr. Carter” to the hard-hitting “In This House”, the instrumentals are not afraid to go from playing with your heart to have you dancing on your feet. The angelic “Holy” was one of my favorite cuts as producer MonstaBeatz fuses a church choir’s vocals with a modern trap beat. The Cool N Dre produced “Scottie” was another standout as it utilizes two different drum patterns, as they fight with one another throughout the song to create an exciting dynamic. Even the warping synths on “F Him Good” will send you down memory lane as its beat feels like something straight out of prime Weezy’s playbook. Behind the boards, Tha Carter V Deluxe’s production does its best to cover up Lil Wayne’s low points while also making its peaks look like some of his best in years.
In conclusion, Tha Carter V Deluxe is a definite step up from Lil Wayne’s January release, Funeral, but I don’t think we will ever see him anywhere near his peak form again. While his lyricism, delivery, and flow were mostly on par, Wayne’s artistic ability has declined marginally as he struggled to keep the record focused and driven. As most of these songs were made nearly a decade ago, I only think Lil Wayne will continue to go down from here. Going forward, I hope Weezy F. Baby bounces back but as he continues to hit under his weight, I don’t think he ever will.