Tha Carter III–Lil Wayne 

(Cash Money/Universal/Motown)

Lil Wayne may well be the "greatest rapper alive," but he's never made a wholly undeniable album, and that includes this 77-minute career-best. Wayne's records are short on the kind of idea-man concepts that have animated some of hip-hop's best album artists from Run-DMC and Public Enemy to Outkast and Kanye West. He's in the pure MC tradition of Rakim and Jay-Z, and his daring stream-of-consciousness flow is rhyme-for-rhyme's sake, full of playful vocal detours, jokes, and unexpected juxtapositions. Vocally, Wayne is Al Green to Jay-Z's Sinatra, a contrast that comes through sharply when the two heavyweights pair up on "Mr. Carter." Jay-Z is strong, supple, confidant. Wayne is idiosyncratic, obscure, versatile.

But just because his oddball rhymes don't always cohere into focused songs doesn't mean Wayne has nothing to say or that his force of personality doesn't shine through: The object of his sexual fantasies is a female cop) not because he's got kinky tastes but because it allows him to make a Geto Boys reference while dropping a "fuck the police" joke. He practices laconic, sarcastic surgery on sucker MCs, and his Katrina verse (on "Tie My Hands") is both funny and righteous. ("Mr. Carter," "Tie My Hands," "Mrs. Officer," "Let That Beat Build") — CH

Grade: A-

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies announce 2016 preseason schedule

News Blog

State Official Lauds City's New Financial Direction

Hungry Memphis

Relevant Roasters To Become French Truck Coffee

News Blog

Bike Share Demos Happening This Week

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Frenchie

From My Seat

Politics = Sports = Politics

Politics Beat Blog

Al Franken Addresses the Tennessee Delegation: DNC 2016

Fly On The Wall Blog

Donald the Great

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Herrington

  • Last Words

    In "Enough Said," James Gandolfini makes his last lead film role his best.
    • Sep 26, 2013
  • Hayes Carll at the Hi-Tone

    • Sep 19, 2013
  • Masters of Sound

    New albums from two of Memphis’ most distinctive stylists.
    • Sep 19, 2013
  • More »
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2016

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation