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Released in 2004, "Tha Carter" is the first of what is now a triolgy of album releases by Lil' Wayne, from which came his mainstream success "Tha Carter III" from earlier on in the year. It is his fourth solo release and has him coming with the first of many attempts to break into the the larger rap audience, rather than simply the Dirty South market, seeing that he is a New Orleans, Louisiana native.
1. "Walk In" (Intro)
2. "Go DJ" (feat. Mannie Fresh)
Over in America, this was seen as Weezy's breakthrough single. However over here I doubt that anyone would have heard this track by him as it saw no attention without being known prior to this. Lil' Wayne managed to come through with this club-suited tune which has him work closely with another big New Orleans name, Mannie Fresh, who gives the rapper some good beats and additional vocals to hype up the atmosphere. This tune got to #14 in the Billboards, and he didn't receive this much success again until 2007 with "Lollipop".
3. "This Is The Carter" (feat. Mannie Fresh)
I found that this tune would have worked very well as an introduction to the album, much more so than "Walk In", which isn't needed. Lil' Wayne comes with a tune to simply explain who he is and what this album is going to do. Although I have to say that the beats and rhymes were a strong attraction, at times I was annoyed by how when he loses his flow, he reverts back to saying "This this this this this this is the Carter", obviously wasting bars on pointless words.
4. "BM J.R."
In case you were unable to work out from the title, on this one you have Lil' Wayne rap about how he is the Birdman Jr. As the son of one the biggest New Orleans rappers, Birdman (a.k.a. Baby), he shows us how at 18, he has managed to take on this role with ease, and he displays so many sings of being influenced by his father.
5. "On The Block #1" (Skit)
6. "I Miss My Dawgs" (feat. Reel)
Lil' Wayne goes into something more emotionally-charged for this tune, making a change from the general soudn of this album release. He goes into some emotive things as he tlaks on how he misses all of his friends who have died whilst trying to live this difficult rap game and aided him along the way.
7. "We Don't" (feat. Birdman)
Leslie Brathwaite takes over on the production game, and comes with some very suitable beats to match the flow of the album and what Weezy is typically known for doing. It also works as Birdman comes to colloaborate with him once again as the pair tlak together about how they receive so much disrespect for doing what they do.
8. "On My Own" (feat. Reel)
Although this record does have Lil' Wayne talkign about his relationship to Birdman, and how this has aided him in getting up up the rap game, here he shows us how independant he has become as he comes with some rhymes which explain how he recognises these thingas, and how he is now changing after turning 18 and taking on the role as "Prince", just behind Birdman.
9. "Tha Heat"
Here for me is the strongest track off the album and it has Lil' Wayne perform some ruthless Gangsta Rap, the type which you only get from the Dirty South, in cities such as Memphis, Houston and New Orleans where sadistic performers such as Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG and the Geto Boys come with the most hardcore form of explaining what actions they are going to carry out on their enemies.
10. "Cash Money Millionaires"
Here you have Lil' Wayne doing a tune to represent his crew, Cash Money, and he does it in a big way as he gets Mannie Fresh to do the beats for him once again, and with such a talent taking control of productions, you know that you won't be disappointed by what is done. This introduction to the crew is welcomed, but the various references to it in later tracks shows some repetition in his raps, showing that he's getting a little limited for potential themes in his raps.
11. "Inside" (Lude)
12. "Bring It Back" (feat. Mannie Fresh)
Weezy takes i to the clubs for this tune as he does one for the girls. So many artists have done tunes like this and the whole "backing it up" thing is extremely played-out, even back here in 2004. Although I enjoyed listening to it, he could have been more original with the chorus as he uses his hometown to his adavantage by integrating it into the raps.
13. "Who Wanna"
You have Lil' Wayne calling out all his haters in this one, and he does so by listening out all the things which he has to aid him, in contrast to whoever he is addressing. I expect that many will see the negatives in this,. one but you can't really complain about it when Mannie Fresh gives you so much Bounce Music in his production.
14. On The Block #2 (Skit)
15. "Get Down" (feat. Birdman)
Similar to what you get in "BM Jr", here you have Lil%u2019 Wayne collaborate with his father, Birdman on a track and together they rap about how they both live, and how extravagant their spending is. I thought that it was a strong tune and you really get to hear how the pair differs from most rappers in the way in which they go about rapping, and phrasing the way that they show off their income.
I was rather confused by this one as you have Lil' Wayne taking on some exciting Mannie Fresh beats, however the subject matter of this one contrasted greatly from this as he comes with some raps where he talls on his annoyance for 'snitches' and how he deals with such people. Although it faced this strange mix, the overall sound was strong.
17. "Hoes" (feat. Mannie Fresh)
Weezy shows where he stands over the whoel misogney issue in rap msuic with this tune, however unlike some he isn't just referring to girls in genreal with his raps, the "Hoes" are actual prostitutes and he talks about the relationship which he has had with them in the past. He commens on how he is a "Pimp", despite his age and is running that game as well as with rap.
18. "Only Way" (feat. Birdman)
Baby joins Weezy again for thisd tune and you have the pair coming together on a more lively beat by Mannie Fresh, and with him having so much experience with southern artists, my mangages to come with another great piece for Lil' Wayne to work with, playing up to the strengths of both performers with the Bounce sound, which is slightly adapted to suit the Gangsta Rap aspect which they are known for.
19. "Shine" (feat. Jazze Pha)
You immediately realise a change when this tune coems into play as you have Lil' Wayne take on some Jazzy Pha production, and at the time Phizzle was known for some very funky stuff, and instead of this, he provides some playful, clean beats which fit in with the subject matter here.
20. "Ain't That A B***h"
I thoroughly enjoyed this track as Lil' Wayne talks on all the annoying things in life which you are unable to control. The things he talk about mix between being genreal issues which many can relate to, to then coming to tlak about how annoying snitches are when going into subjects which only true Gangstas can understand.
21. "Walk Out" (Outro)
To be honest, I did't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, as Weezy as only 18 at the time, I really thought that this would sound very broken with little pockets of quality. however it was a very concsitant recorid with Mannie Fresh keeping things in check by doing the majority of the beats. Lil' wayne doesn't deserve the hate which he receives, and altough some will discredit the statement coming from someone who the music is directed towards, a fan of Gangsta Rap I also enjoy more intellectual rap and Conscious Hip Hop, so I have gone deep into the various sub-genres of Hip Hop, and I have to say that this varied release has Lil' Wayne do what he wants to do to great effect.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Walk In
2 Go DJ
3 This Is The Carter
4 BM J.R.
5 On The Block #1
6 I Miss My Dawgs
7 We Don't
8 On My Own
10 Cash Money Millionaires
12 Bring It Back
13 Who Wanna
14 On The Block #2
15 Get Down
18 Only Way
20 Ain't That A Bitch
21 Walk Out