Music by August Prum June 29, 2017
13 years ago today, Lil Wayne dropped Tha Carter and music hasn’t been the same since.
Tha Carter was then-21-year-old Lil Wayne’s fourth studio album and the first in his Carter series.
Listening to Tha Carter now feels like finding a time capsule, one chock full of Weezy puns and Mannie Fresh beats.
One of the most startling things about looking back at Tha Carter now is the constant presence of Birdman (‘Baby’ at the time). Weezy is always shouting out Baby and he pops up on numerous tracks.
Birdman put Weezy on to the game as a kid, even acting as a father figure for the New Orleans rapper, but their relationship has become nothing short of tragic.
The Young Money CEO has held Tha Carter V, and in turn Wayne himself, hostage and concentrated on promoting new YMCMB protege, Young Thug instead.
Thug stole the ‘Carter’ theme with Barter 6, a slap in the face to Weezy. Birdman’s treatment of artists was recently the subject of a beef track by Rick Ross “Idols Become Rivals.”
But despite the now-weird presence of Birdman throughout, Tha Carter was the unofficial beginning of Lil Wayne’s dominance of the rap game. No one was touching Weezy in the mid-2000’s.
Some highlights from Tha Carter:
“Go DJ” is up there with the most seminal songs of my childhood. Lil Wayne absolutely torches a bouncy-ass Mannie Fresh beat. Previous to hearing “Go DJ” I just knew Lil Wayne as the short kid rapping on “Bling Bling.”
Weezy’s pointed delivery and punchy flow was just unlike anything I’d ever heard. “Go DJ” has to be up there with the greatest hip-hop songs of the 2000’s.
One of Lil Wayne’s greatest talents is his ability to seamlessly flow on any kind of beat. During his peak, Weezy would just take the most popular beats across hip-hop, even pop music, and destroy them with his own style.
“This Is The Carter” is the ultimate representation of Weezy’s versatility. The production on “Go DJ” and “This Is The Carter” couldn’t be much more different, yet Weezy is able to bring the heat like only he can. I mean, dude said, “Flow sicker than a third floor in hospitals.” He was the best.
Completing the ultimate Wayne versatility tour, “Snitch” is a song about not informing over a groovy 80’s synth-pop beat (shoutout Mannie Fresh again).
Wayne is rapping about not talking to five-O or there will be violence against you, but if you didn’t listen to the actual words out of the song… you’d think it was a love song made for the club.
Weezy was simply the greatest. We hope to hear Carter V at some point in this life…