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Lil Wayne :: Tha Carter III

Cash Money/Universal

Reviewed on Tuesday, June 03, 2008 by Brandon Perkins

The long-awaited release of Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III begins, quite aptly, with an echoed and resoundingly syrupy "yezzzir." It really doesn't get any simpler than that--a confident affirmation of Wayne's arrival. But it's drenched in the New Orleans MC's unapproachably alien swagger. Snarled from the back of the recording booth (presumably located inside a space ship or styrofoam cup), Weezy slowly steps towards the microphone before delivering his opening darts filled with magic dick jokes ("Abracadabra/I'm up like Viagra" and Sports Center references. Produced by Maestro, "3 Peat" is the urgent stream of consciousness that Wayne has built his modern reputation upon: bizarre word associations and fuck-you repetitions that can only make sense (or at least sound dope) coming from one man's mouth. Pause.

Urgency is a strong point of reference for Wayne. On his best tracks, it powers those steam-rolled raps like the alternative would cease his existence. Sometimes it's coldly calculating ("Get 'Em" from Dedication 2), sometimes it's dizzyingly intense ("Knuck If You Buck Freestyle" from some mixtape), sometimes it's lethargically removed from reality ("Outstanding" from some other mixtape), but it's always driving. While all three of these personalities make appearances on Tha Carter III, it's the urgency to deliver a classic album that is pushing Wayne's strange cart for this go around.

I have no qualms with putting Dedication 2 and Da Drought 3 in my own pantheon of rap classics, but the lack of a properly released full-length that stands the test of time among critics and fans is the backbone for all arguments that Wayne is not, as he says, the best rapper alive. Added to the two and half year anticipation since the release of Tha Carter II--despite the countless songs and guest appearances that dominated rap's dialogue during the span--there's a pressured desire from Wayne to make something that transcends. Even the much-maligned cover art falls in line with baby-adorned certified classics like Illmatic and Ready to Die.

As a sum of its parts, Tha Carter III does not transcend, but a good number of those parts are otherworldly enough. "Dr. Carter" has already been dissected quite studiously, but its mid-'90s backpack rap stance on wack MCs is in a class of its own. No other rapper could pull off a seemingly silly concept with the voracious attitude that Wayne uses to deliver his prescription to hip-hop--not just in 2008--but throughout its history, breaking down exactly what it is that he does right. And like Jay-Z's "22 Two's," it's the mere act of audacity in attempting and succeeding in this concept that matters most. Just as thankfully, that's the last real concept record on Wayne's new album (unless you count the "Fuck the Police" love affair twist of "Mrs. Officer").

The rest of Tha Carter III's highlights are of the minimalistic drug-induced haze variety. Taking a step back towards hip-hop from "I Feel Like Dying", tracks like "Shoot Me Down" allow the musicality of Weezy's voice in metered spoken word to take center stage. One of the homies called Kanye West's production here "spaghetti millitaristic" and its sparse plodding reaches an epic height of terseness without overreaching for a crescendo that just isn't needed. (Lines like: "I ain't kinda hot/I'm sauna/I sweat money/And the bank is my shower"...don't hurt either.) "Misunderstood," the album's closer, begins with a gorgeously solemn sample of familiar refrain before ending with a six-plus minute rant on the state of being black in America (topics include crack vs. cocaine laws, sex offenders, the media and a big fuck you to Al Sharpton). It's the type of transparent attempt at transcendence that only concludes albums made to be remembered, but because Wayne is swimming through codeine and weed smoke and not left-wing talking points, it actually works.

Tha Carter 3 is not a classic, but its collection of classic moments and even more classic missteps are worthy of remembrance. There's the typical T-Pain play for radio play that may just get me dancing one day, but feels like a sore thumb among more minimal fare. The swirling Babyface-assisted and Kanye-produced "Comfortable" never attains any sort of emotional resonance (like Carter II's "Receipt" or "Hustler Muzik") and falls flat like the similarly-themed Common songs that this beat recalls. "Nothin On Me"--despite the most decadent Weezy-like punchilne not spat by Weezy (Juelz's "I get money out the ass/That's some expensive shit")--fails to achieve anything other than the boiler-plate NYC grind track it's supposed to be.

But then there's the Jay-Z collaboration, "Mr. Carter." Wayne intros the song by saying that it makes him feel big (not fat, but like "colossal") and such a sentiment is totally apt. A direct nod at the direction that kicked off this whole Weezy craze, its healthily chipmunked soul sample and bouncing piano balances out the strained urgency of Wayne's voice, taking the edge off his anxiety just enough. And maybe that's how we need to view this record--a little less anxious in our anticipation and balanced out with a little more enjoyment. Then, it just might be a classic.

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Comments:

Perkins is so muthafuckin' on point. He is a decorated music journalist that has covered Weezy Baybee for years, and doesn't disappoint in his astute analysis of this latest masterpiece. Yezzzir.

Posted Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 04:01 by ThuggNasty

This album was poor. "They cant stop me, Even if they stopped me (insert syrup induced laugh)".

Those were the first 9 lines of this album. Say it with me 'lyricism', oh, I forgot he don't write rhymes cause he aint got the time.

Well maybe he should take the hand he holds the cup with, and in place of 2 Styrofoam silo cups, insert bic pen. And on the table he undoubtedly snorted coke off of he could place a tablet of paper. And then in an ingenious approach of time and effort, Dwayne Carter could take out some time in his hectic schedule to 'craft' a decent song.

'Mr.Carter' was good (Because of Shawn Carter).

'Lollipop' makes women dance SO men like 'Lollipop'.

Little Wayne recorded and album full of the same sub par clever shit you could get on any mixtape his dropped in say the past 2 years.

Substance over Stupidity.

Posted Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 04:47 by Mr.G

BP does it again.

A luminous review to match his devastating good looks.

I'll balance HIM out with a little more enjoyment, mmmph!

Posted Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 06:00 by AphidWrangler

Brandon Perkins is to journalism what Lil' Wayne is to hip hop, so necessary.

Posted Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 06:07 by dc homie

BP is my man, but TC3 is seriously wack. There are maybe 3-4 hot tracks (and they're seriously hottt), but the rest is straight garbage. Believe.

Posted Wednesday, June 04, 2008 @ 01:59 by jordan catalano

You are reading a post that has nothing to do with the review above or the postings below. You will never get these few seconds back that I just stole from you.

"The dance of the cosmos shows
The stitches of space that slowly come and go
The dance of the cosmos shows, as above, so below"

Suck it.

Posted Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 08:30 by RCA of the band STD

Be for real, 4-1/2 stars? What a joke.

Two-and-half stars from me, and that's be generous.

Posted Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 02:16 by ?

This album leaves Ready To Die and Illmatic in the dust. Weezy left no prisoners on this one...11/10

Posted Friday, June 06, 2008 @ 02:09 by The Truth

weezy has potential... but he's smellin' himself a little too soon. TC3 is NOT a classic. its a good album. but NOT a CLASSIC. wat was he doing this whole time? nvm. the cups and the weed and the pills answer that one. TC3 = a Lil Wayne Mixtape for 13 bucks.

Posted Friday, June 06, 2008 @ 02:04 by jon.C

Weezy needs to do better than this to get a classic. Also people you can not tell me I am going to do a classic and it becomes a classic so Weezy even jacked up from that angel. No classic has ever been expected, most of the time it hits us out of the blue which makes it that much more classic and incredible and usual defines an artists entire career going forward. I beleive weezy had his classic moment without the album because rappers no longer do anything near realavant in any great numbers. Welcome to todays rap world.

Posted Saturday, June 07, 2008 @ 10:02 by Avenger XL

None of you know what your talking about. Weezy can spit, and the things he says makes sense. The only bad track he might have is "phone home"(just because its not normal). This CD will be a classic in the eyes of people who understand Lil Wayne.

Posted Sunday, June 08, 2008 @ 03:14 by T-mo

Wow! Those "who understand lil' Wayne" huh? Sounds like you be off the syrup and pills too! This album is seriously wack, and I really like Weezy but they tryin to call that a classic?! Nah homie, advice for anybody thinkin about coppin that shit from the store...keep them duckets and download that wack shit.You'll thank me later.

Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 @ 12:17 by sb.genius

The best rapper alive. fuck yall.
his goal was to smoke greefer and make bank bitches and he accomplished way more

Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 @ 07:21 by The Guy

The album is sub-par at best. Honestly I think it's trash. I grew up to Hip Hop in the 80's and 90's so my STANDARDS are higher than most of you kids calling Lil' Wayne the best rapper alive. What a joke!

Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 @ 08:01 by Trey Dee

get your old ass outta hear, "Tey Dee" this is a new era and he is the best rapper alive. name another....

Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 @ 09:09 by The Guy

weezy is tha best rapper alive, may be over rated but no one can spit like him nor make any remixes to any other niggas songs. yall would understand once you went to a concert. TH3 JUne 10 if you think its weak see me ill beat your ass

Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 @ 09:15 by DB ARAB

I agree with "the guy". You see, your living in the past "gay dee". Just to quote the best rapper alive, " your like 44. I got a 44. Im 24. I can merk you and come home when im 44!". So go back and listen to "the chronic" and leave this rap game to the new age folk. Su-wu!

Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 @ 09:59 by T-mo

Weezy is a great rapper, he has the makings of a best rapper of all time but he is not. This album has some good tracks such as Dr. Carter and Mr. Carter, but this is not his best work, its alot less then i expected from him considering i have alot of his mixtapes. i geuss your all with me when i say, its not gunna sell 1 million copies.

Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 11:02 by BadBoy

Pretty good review...all i gotta say is weezys hip-hop is different from the hip-hop we know, his lyrics are not like nas or black thought but people still think his shit dope as hell..his charisma and slick metaphors puts him in his own category. His music is infectious.

Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 11:04 by Scarlae

You people dont get it do you? Wayne for the past 2 plus years has murderedd the underground. Every mutha fucka that aint white knows who he is. This album is just the icing on the cake. This is the mainstream takeover and no one even see's it coming. Everyone who hasnt heard of weezy after this will. Worldwide impact and domination...game over.

Im Ghost,

Aaron

Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 08:36 by www.krankdatwhitegirl.com

An amazing album, Wayne does it again,this shit is over the top, and, and its amazing to heare jay pass the crown on "mr carter " now not even he can deny wayne is the best in the game , anyway , its worth every penny , there might not be tracks like "fly in,fly out ,hustler musik " , but sure is a lyrical master peice and all worth

Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 10:52 by Amazingalbum

BEST RAPPER ALIVE

Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 05:05 by PTP

lil wayne kills any track dis album sets him up for even greater than he already acomplished and he will, if he is not already, b da greatest mc alive. Dis album will probably b da best of da year and any who disagree r haterz and havent com 2 turms that Weezy iz the best out right now .

Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 07:07 by Angel

Herd bits and pieces so I cant so much but what I can say about the dude is he's the voice of the youth right now and for some time to come... Ole heads jus'have to take it knowing there's better out there but this is jus'what it is Right Now! Its like what they say about the league "its a young mans game" And even tho MJ is Thee Best of All time similar to Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas when it comes to Hip-Hop Weezy is the young one in charge but I would love to see a Lupe/Weezy joint together.

Posted Thursday, June 12, 2008 @ 06:12 by Brotha Malcolm

notice that the wayne haters seem to have stopped commenting since June 10, the actual release of the Carter 3!! he's gonna sell a Millie,A mille, A mille!!!

Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 @ 11:03 by jc

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