With the flick of a lighter and Wayne’s signature pot-head giggle, Tha Carter IV kicks off like the distinctive whistle of an atomic bomb in a high speed plunge toward earth. In less than fifteen seconds, the self-proclaimed “King of Hip-Hop” will have you cowering beneath your kitchen table with your head between your knees in tumultuous anticipation of the lyrical explosion that is undoubtedly on it’s way to fuck up your world…
Unfortunately, the record begins not so much with a bang, but with a whimper.
Tha Carter IV’s hackneyed inaugural track “Intro” is a rigid, mid-tempo washout from the moment Weezy starts into his indolently written verse, until he finally puts the track out of it’s misery. Had he simply scrapped Intro all together and started off with the album’s second track Blunt Blowin’ Tha Carter IV would have had the volatile, momentous launch that is the God-given right of any release from the Young Money war chest. After all, Intro, Blunt Blowin’, and ten more of the record’s other eighteen songs start off with the exact same ‘lighter click, inhale’ combo anyway.
Despite the negative picture I’ve painted thus far, Lil’ Wayne quickly redeems himself, with an album whose track list is not only lyrically substantial but fearsomely catchy and addictive. Creative and original cuts like the chilling, pseudo-political President Carter and evocatively emotional Mirrors add humanity, depth, and dimension. Songs like How to Hate bring humor and edge, while its sister track How to Love provides us with a rare and momentary glimpse of the more sensitive side of the hip-hop powerhouse. If nothing else, Tha Carter IV is unquestionably, an album of layers and refreshing complexity.
So, once again I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum from my music reviewing peers, who have unexplainably been foaming at the mouth, spitting licentious vitriol all over Tha Carter IV. In this writers humble opinion, Tha Carter IV, as a whole, is a much needed return to form for Weezy, especially after the half-witted rap-rock monstrosity that preceded it, Rebirth. If you can work your way passed its bumbling, snooze-worthy beginnings, and a few irritatingly repetitive and ridiculous production decisions.
Tha Carter IV is a great album.