Tha Carter IV (Cash Money/Universal)
Originally published at Las Vegas City Life
A prison stint, an awful rock album and a lackluster mixtape couldn’t quell the anticipation for Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, given the reception for the third Carter album. And for the most part, Mr. Carter’s sixth official solo release doesn’t disappoint. The experimental aspects of some of Wayne’s earlier efforts are blended with minimal hiccups throughout. The “Intro,” “Interlude” and “Outro” turn into one giant — albeit chopped up — posse cut with Wayne helming the intro; Tech N9ne and Andre 3000 murdering the interlude; and Bun B, Shyne, Nas and Busta Rhymes capping the album. Weezy F. heaves a not-so-subtle shot at Jay-Z on the Drake- and Jadakiss-assisted “It’s Good,” a track sure to keep gossip blogs buzzing for the remainder of the summer.
In a truly surprising moment, “How To Love” emerges as a sleeper hit of the album. Tackling the subject of the good-girl-going-bad with a sensitivity not often found on hip-hop tracks shows Wayne’s versatility as a songwriter. His singing leaves much to be desired, but it’s a solid track nonetheless. It’s either an indication of how far rap has fallen, a testament to how good Wayne has gotten or that the album doesn’t contain anything that will have listeners rushing for the forward button. At the end of the day, Tha Carter IV is a reliable release that will stand out in a sea of subpar releases. ANTHONY SPRINGER, JR.