It’s what you all been waiting for ain’t it? What people pay paper for ain’t it? For some the anticipation has been too much to bear. Because Dwayne Carter has elevated his status to where fans, fanatics, and of course, critics eagerly await his next move. Let’s face it: the kid generates buzz. And not the kind that will fade when the cameras go off. We’re talking the type of hoopla where his cameos on a hook generate more attention than the actual song. His tenacious work effort over the last couple of years has successfully produced an audience who swear allegiance to his every verse, forgettable or not. So with the release of the oft-delayed Carter III finally here, it’s all eyes on Weezy to see if he can hit a home run at the height of his stardom.
With the likes of Kanye West and Swizz Beatz among others rounding out the A-list producer cast, Wayne puts on a show, live from the most eccentric parts of his brain, proving he’s one of Hip-Hop’s most entertaining artists. But still manages to cast large shadows of barrenness while basking in his own light.
If there’s anything Wayne can do however, it’s rhyme. He allows listeners to journey into his codeine filled psyche on expeditions of intricate verses of madness. His strengths are greatly highlighted over simple yet abrasive mounds of drums and bass on the Bangladesh produced “A Milli.” It’s moments like this when paired with the right production, Wayne is able to claim victory. Shawn and Dwayne go for round two over a dynamic crescendo of piano melodies on “Mr. Carter,” which functions as an album highlight. D. Smith slows down the tempo on “Shoot Me Down” where Wayne pleads to be allowed time to soar beyond the stars, and is met with mellowness once more on “Tie My Hands” to give the pain caused from Hurricane Katrina some closure as Robin Thicke smooths out the chorus. And there’s no limit to Young Money’s confidence and cockiness as he pulls off a record named “Lollipop” over an alluring R&B gem without having to rap, rather effectively.
Still Weezy can’t seem the grasp the concept of a concept. He rose to prominence running wild on mixtapes but when it comes down to crafting albums, he still finds difficulty differentiating the two. As fate would have it, he ironically gets plagued with the same illness he diagnosed some of the patients with on “Dr. Carter.” All too often do the songs shift into tangential frolics of boastfulness that go nowhere. It’s practices like this that result in Fabolous and Juelz Santana popping up on “You Ain’t Got Nuthin”–to accomplish nothing, and tracks like “Phone Home,” “Playing With Fire” and “Let The Beat Build” merely serving as filler.
Much to the album cover’s discredit, Carter III doesn’t delve beneath the surface to reveal any candid signs of artistic worth, save for possibly the aforementioned “Tie My Hands.” Whether it’s Wayne getting a little to caught up in the “Best Rapper Alive” campaign or the constant leaking of songs forcing him to restructure the album, the lack of topical focal points hinder the album’s replay value. Sure, Weezy takes pride in being “misunderstood” on the album’s finale “DontGetIt,” but by failing to outline his quarrels with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the rest of the world with lyrics instead of a lengthy outro, questions are sure to be raised about the legitimacy of his candidacy for the coveted throne in Hip-Hop.
Lil’ Wayne has come a long way from his days as the whiny voiced youngster in the Hot Boys crew but shows he still has groundwork ahead of him as the album falls short of it’s monumental billing. Over a decade deep in the game, Wayne has demonstrated with irrefutable evidence that he has completely mastered his flow and the ability to ride the wavelength of any beat in his vicinity. His next challenge: cooking up lyrics that will stick to your ribs in the long run.