By: Abyan Nery, Contributing Writer
Featured image courtesy of Entertainment Voice
I know many didn’t believe this moment would come, but ladies and gentlemen, it is really happening. The Avatar has woken up and left the iceberg after his prolonged sleep. “Tha Carter V” has finally been released. There is no way to talk about this album without first mentioning the hurdles legendary rapper Lil Wayne had to first overcome. This album was worked on from 2012 through 2018, and was teased for release from 2013 until a few months ago when a tumultuous lawsuit between him and Cash Money CEO Birdman was settled that gave him full control of his future musically. As such, this album has a very unique sound, as each song is essentially a time capsule of a different era musically for Wayne.
Some songs sound as if they were added to the album a few months before release, having contemporary production and lyrics, while others sound as if they were made long ago in 2012, serving as sonic throwbacks to a simpler time in rap. For example, some of the best features on this album come from Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott, but have their earlier sounds on songs like “Mona Lisa” and “Let It Fly,”respectively. With such a patchwork of different songs recorded at very different times in Wayne’s life and career, this album serves as a reflection of his near 27 years in the rap music industry.
A common criticism I have heard about this album is that there is no single track that can truly be called a banger in the style of earlier hits in Wayne’s career. However, that is the point of “Carter V.” Wayne has said multiple times that “Carter V” would be his last album, and that is something that is very clearly seen on this album. Wayne is at his most personal on this album, not afraid to peel back the layers of the persona he’s created; he paints us a picture of a man who can’t stand the fame and lifestyle he is in but at the same time, can’t live without it. He put it best when he says “I ruined relationships before I ruin my image.”
This album has a long runtime of nearly 90 minutes and in that time, the listener is able to finally understand a man who most of us have grown up listening to. It is almost impossible to write about Wayne and not talk about his legacy, as there is not a single rapper in the game that was not influenced by him in some form. His DNA is forever ingrained in Hip Hop. However, unlike the other entries in the Carter series of albums, “Carter V” is different. The “greatest rapper alive” has given the world his curtain call. All we can do now is clap.