With years of build-up and an escalating volley of subliminal shots between him and that one dude on the throne, all eyes are turned to Weezy F. Baby dropping the latest installment to the Carter series. Does he back his claims of producing a classic or create a pile of ‘meh’? The Brain Trust points their collective ears.
Khal (Rock The Dub)
I don’t hate Weezy. Do I think he’s anything close to the Best Rapper Alive? If niggas like Monch, Mos Def and MF Doom are still alive, he’s way off. And his penchant for the obvious “set up – pause – punchline” rhymes truly bores me. It can be witty, but when I can anticipate your punchline before you spit it, it’s pointless even going in. So what am I left with? Beats. And for the beginning of The Carter IV, I was open. I fucked with the intro, thought “Megaman” would be a dope mixtape track, and “6 Foot 7 Foot” still gets me open. “Nightmares Of The Bottom” dropped, and I realized I can’t even stomach when he’s not being predictable punchile Weezy over droning, bass-fueled beats. Weezy F Baby and I like when he’s familiar. How Tech9 and Andre3000 were allowed to merk that “Intro” beat on some shit Weezy isn’t even on? That’s the highlight of the entire disc. If C4 is anything, it’s spotty. Wayne has his moments (“She Will”, “President Carter”), but it’s hard to get excited for “How To Hate”, “How To Love” and the other times where he tries to be quirky/cute/abstract/a Rock hybrid god. Essentially, I’d rather have Weezy Familiar Baby do a grip of Drought mixtapes than have to listen to his album(s) and feel like he’s the best thing out there. I feel sorry for my son, who’s turning 5 and has to look up to a gremlin in jeggings. I’ll make sure I have a Best of BDP disc ready for his birthday party…
Lil Wayne can’t sing or play guitar very well. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way we can get down to talking about the Cartev IV. If you remember hearing 6 foot 7 and you’re anything like me, you never had high expectations for this album. But not surprisingly with an artist of Wanye’s caliber, it does have to high points. The second half of the album (from Interlude up to the bonus trakcs) is a quality effort but the Carter IV suffers from a turbulent takeoff and that ruins the whole trip. After the VMA’s I can report that while it is bearable and almost catchy on CD, How to Love should never been performed live.
Aaron J. McKrell
On his fourth go-round in his Carter series, Lil Wayne sticks to his sales-friendly formula of strings of disconnected, unimpressive metaphors, with an occasional clever remark thrown in. The result is theme-less songs, with Wayne at times going from pillow talk to threats to chest-thumping to dollar signs- all in the span of eight bars. Wayne is saying nothing new here- even for him- and an argument can be raised as to whether he’s saying anything at all. Most of his beats are dope, but his lyrics and worsened flow and delivery stifle their clout. There’s a few glimpses of the rapper he could be if he stayed focused, but they are fleeting, few and far between. It’s telling that Wayne is non-existent on the album’s two best tracks: “Interlude” by Tech N9ne and Andre 3000 and “Outro” by Bun B, NaS, Shyne and Busta Rhymes. Why he chose to remain absent from two songs on his own album is anyone’s guess, but it hardly matters. Tha Carter IV is further proof that the kid who got it poppin’ riding shotgun with Juvenile is no more. In his stead is a man who offers vague hints of what he is trying to convey in his songs, but seems to be on too much syrup to make solid sense.
Enigmatik (Boo Goo Doo Boom)
This installment of Tha Carter series isn’t much better than the last installment, and not better than the one before that and maybe not better than the first one. If you’re a fan of corny similes and nonsensical metaphors then you’ll be in hog heaven here. Ain’t no pork on my fork, though. Peep a few of the gems he dropped:
“All about the riches, my name should be Richard”
“She’s my honey bee (yeah)…buzz, buzz, and now I’m itchin’ to scratch her, that’s that love bug”
“When it Waynes, it pours”
“Those bullets travel, better hope I keep dribbling”
“I’m good, I’m 100 like a fastball”
“This sh!ts a game of chess, you n!ggas think it’s cleavage”
The best verses on the album don’t even come from the crusty lips of Baby’s baby. Clap for Tech N9ne, 3 Stacks, Nasir, Bun B, Cory Gunz and Officer Ricky. And don’t get me started on the love tap delivered on “It’s Good.” Son would only be the best rapper alive if every other rapper died.
Weezy has enlisted a slew of highly respectable emcees to framework his album as a classic, from Tech N9ne and Andre3000 to Nas, Bun B, Busta and, inexplicably present among this line-up, Shyne. They’re all there to underscore the gravity of the event, but two of them (Tech N9ne and 3 Stacks) actually manage to steal a big part of the limelight with one of the highpoints of the album. There are dope beats, and Weezy is funny and catchy at times, when not filtered through autotune, but there is no sense of focus or direction and the budget for beats seems the only factor setting this apart from his mixtapes. Carter IV tries to pass itself off as a gourmet meal, but for the most part is more like a take-out burger ‘n fries; enjoyable while it lasts, but failing to impress and instantly forgettable.