Album Reviews: Tha Carter II by Lil WayneNew Orleans rapper Lil Wayne returns with Tha Carter II. His latest effort provides a mixture of club bangers ("Fireman", "Hit Em Up"), true-life tales ("Fly In"," Get Over") and tracks that serve as a memorial for New Orleans and the victims of Hurricane Katrina. On virtually every song, Lil Wayne praises his homestead. On "Feel Me," Wayne takes his praise a step further when he proclaims, "I gotta bring that love back after Katrina." Without a doubt this southern MC has his heart in the right place. His mind...well, that is another issue.
Like most rappers, Lil Wayne claims that he is the "Best Rapper Alive," but on Tha Carter II, he never comes close to justifying it. His rhyme and flow are at their best on tracks like "Fly In," "Grown Man" and "Hustler Musik," where the songs are story driven. Elsewhere, his efforts behind the mic are all too predictable, and often get lost behind the bouncy, fast paced, and soulful production. This is one of those albums where the production clearly outshines the rapper.
Despite his limitations, Lil Wayne displays a growth in his work by varying the subject matter and expanding his storytelling. At times, Tha Carter II provides a glimpse of the man who someday may actually be one of the "best rappers alive." The high point comes on "Shooter," on which Lil Wayne lashes out against radio for its regional favoritism: "Stop being region haters...this is Southern, face it...if we too simple, then y'all don't get the basics." With a solid mixture of club oriented tracks and street-driven songs, Lil Wayne provides a good sequel that promises to be a great foundation for future projects. - Jason Kordich
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