Retro Review: Tha Carter
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Retro Review: Tha Carter

The Carter album cover
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Tha Carter, by Lil Wayne

Last week, I mentioned a couple times about the introduction of Lil Wayne in my review of Juvenile’s “400 Degreez.” While “Tha Block is Hot” was his debut album, if anyone were to care about my opinion, I’d say that “Tha Carter” is my favorite Wayne album. Everything after this is when Wayne started saturating the market and wearing himself thin, but he really impressed me with this album.

  • Lyrics
  • Instrumentation
  • Production
  • Features
  • Longevity
  • Impact
  • Personal Preference
4.2
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Review

Lyrics
Tha Carter managed to find itself in Wayne‘s transition period when he was going between the common “bling, bling” stereotypical rap, and the punchline-heavy style he’s more known for now. It produced some actually memorable songs and showed that he was able to actually put attention to what he was saying. Now, I’m not saying that he’s the most lyrical artist ever, but as far as delivery goes, he almost had himself figured out by Tha Carter, and I’m not upset.
Instrumentation
Mannie Fresh always manages to come through with some amazing instrumentals. “I Miss My Dawgz”… Raj and Fresh made one of my favorite rap beats ever. The rest of the instrumentals on the album mesh well with each other, while still managing to be unique. As far as beats go, I can’t even say that any of them are just filler.
Production
This album is basically when Cash Money decided it was a good idea to spend their earnings on making the album sound better instead of renting cars for their videos, and it pays off. The audio quality is definitely a step above anything they had put out up to this time.
Features
Who the fuck ever thought it was a good idea to let Baby get behind a microphone? I’d give this album a zero on features if it weren’t for Mannie Fresh, Jazze Pha, and Reel. I’d better stop before I get shot for not putting “Respeck” on his name though.
Longevity
Not only is “Tha Carter” replayable, it’s still a good album compared to modern albums. This project still holds water 14 years later.
Impact
If you got tired of hearing Wayne after 2004, this is the album that got that started by giving him the momentum he needed. It would just be silly to deny that this album influenced the game for a decade plus, and even a little now in 2018.
Personal Preference
Now, “Tha Carter” won’t go down in history as the most insightful or anything like that, but I love it. It’s got a perfect blend of moods and touches on some personal stuff for Wayne, which is always more interesting than the generic stuff he was doing up to this point. If I were able to remove everything Birdman recorded for it, I’d rate this album a lot higher, and probably still listen to it pretty regularly. It was definitely nice to go back and revisit this one though.

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