After three years of ongoing legal battles between Lil Wayne and his former record label co-owner Birdman about the release of the fifth installment in Wayne’s Tha Carter series, the album has finally arrived, shifting 400,000 copies in the first week. And Wayne doesn’t disappoint. This album proves a return to form for Wayne; across the hour-and-a-half run time he demonstrates a versatility through his flow and delivery which makes every verse compelling.
The album opens with a voicemail from Wayne’s mother which sets the tone for an increasingly emotional album. This is followed by the cut ‘Don’t Cry’ which features recently deceased rapper XXXtentacion, but Wayne utilises him in a unique way as XXX sings the hook which haunts the song, and compliments Wayne’s darker opening bars.[pullquote]the cinematic production paves the way for Wayne to tell a brutal yet vivid story of a scam he used to run with his gang.[/pullquote]
In a similar fashion, Nicki Minaj’s feature on ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ sees her harmonise with Wayne; instead of her trademark harsh flow her singing provides something different and beautiful on the track. The features throughout are well used, as they compliment Wayne, without ever overshadowing him on his own project but creating that variety throughout the length of the album.
Yet Wayne comes into his own on the cut ‘Mona Lisa’: the cinematic production paves the way for Wayne to tell a brutal yet vivid story of a scam he used to run with his gang. Through the five minute cut there are no hooks or chorus, but Wayne captivates through his story telling. Kendrick Lamar features on the track - a throwback to Good Kid era Kendrick with a faster, more aggressive flow, which despite his best efforts pales in comparison to Wayne’s verses. Tha Carter V continues an impressive run of form in Tha Carter series which sees Wayne return as one of the greats in the hip hop industry.