Tha Carter V is here. Production credits are with Mannie Fresh, Swizz Beatz, Metro Boomin, Ben Billions and more. Lil Wayne starts the album off with a heartfelt, touching message from his mom, just so listeners know who the project is for. The next song features the late Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy or his more widely known stage name, XXXTENTATION.
After odes to his mother and the late rapper, “Dedicate” jumps into Tunechi’s recognizable flow with rhyme schemes that bounce like drums. He credits himself as the guy who started the face tattoo trend, reminding those who might have forgot about Wayne, after seven years since the album’s predecessor. The song ends with Barack Obama praising the rap icon next to the likes of LeBron James.
Wayne takes the high energy down a notch on “Let It Fly,” the first feature track. It’s with Travis Scott and touts the ASTROWORLD creators’ melodic, ambient soundscape while giving Weezy room to roll towards the end.
“Dark Side of the Moon” has Wayne’s singing, R&B side, featuring his attributed discovery and the lyrical hall-of-fame bound, Nicki Minaj. The track shows a softer side to Minaj as well.
“Mona Lisa” follows, featuring another lyrical trendsetter, Kendrick Lamar. Lamar’s verse is a Mona Lisa of verses, practically guaranteeing the song’s success right from the starting gate. “What About Me” features Wiz Khalifa‘s Taylor Gang signee, Sosamann and flaunts a laid-back, auto-tuned atmosphere with no rush. It’s a bit of a break from Lamar’s last tirade.
“Open Letter” is a declamation to anyone listening. Discussing about the rappers’ internal struggles with lines such as, “What’s the life expectancy if you don’t expect it.” The track is riddled with lines like this as an open letter to life. He gives a shout-out to the readers, which in this metaphor are the listeners.
“Famous” features Lil Wayne’s daughter Reginae Carter on the hook. It’s about being famous, something Birdman Jr. has become accustomed to since the young age of 14.
Snoop Dogg lends recognizable melodies to his collaboration on Tha Carter V. This one again has the makings of a hit as well, as Wayne fluidly bounces along Broadus Jr.’s guitar.
Lil Wayne uses his mother’s vocals as a transition in “Took His Time,” which has a similar timbre to an artist Wayne was the first to sign to his Young Money Entertainment label, Drake. The next track, “Open Safe,” has that clap-clap-clap-clap atmosphere.
“Start This Shit Off Right” features Ashanti and Young Money Entertainment signee, Mack Maine. Ashanti brings those 2000 vocals back into the frame, proving Lil Wayne and R&B should hang out more.
Wayne gets soulful on “Demon,” showcasing his lyrical prowess with a contrast into soul. “Mess” is another blissfully melodic and vocally deliberate track.”Dope New Gospel” features Nivea, who was nominated for a Grammy for her collaboration with YoungbloodZ & Lil’ Jon‘s “Okay.”
“Used 2,” toward the end of the Carter V album, is an late Easter egg for those fending more poetry in modern rap. Another transition featuring his mother leads into Wayne’s final song, which starts off with sparking what one could presume to be a blunt.
Tha Carter V was meant to be enjoyed, according to Lil Wayne’s announcement of the drop earlier this week. After seven years of material, targeted features, and a nostalgic flow; it’s hard not to enjoy and feel some type of way.
“With this album… I’m giving you more than me,” the rapper said in his announcement earlier this week. “You gotta always remember that. This is four, five, six years of work that you’ll be listening to, and I hope you enjoy it. You don’t have to love it, you don’t even have to like it. Just hope you enjoy every time you put it on.”
Happy birthday, Dwayne.