Monday, 9 June 2008

Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III

I have been struggling to find good hip-hop this year, which made me sad so I decided to plunge head long into the massively hyped Lil’ Wayne album Tha Carter III to see if mainstream rap wasn’t all bad. I was surprised to find it is all right, bonus. So Lil Wayne A.K.A. Weezy, A.K.A Weezy F Baby, A.K.A. Birdman Junior, A.K.A. Lil’ Weezy, A.K.A. The Pussy Monster, which just makes me laugh, is a self-proclaimed biggest rap start ever in the entire world, and he hails from New Orleans. His ego is freakin’ massive, so big in-fact that I keep thinking he is a cartoon in places. This is what you want from your mainstream rap stars though extreme confidence based on their own hype and bullshit, brilliant. I first heard about Lil’ Wayne when I heard he was trying to get a beef going with Clipse, probably because he had a record coming out and wanted some attention. Lil’ Wayne sounds like a kids name and man he reminds me of an attention seeking kid, its not really a bad thing though, in-fact he is pretty fun in places. So Weezy has been prolific for a massive dope headed cough medicine drinking freak, he has a truck load of mix tapes, albums and is on pretty much all pop, r&b singles ever. I read an interview with him in the Guardian recently, which is a mad place to hear about Lil’ Wayne but who cares, he came across as eccentric or maybe like a wacky zany office worker type who loves to keep reminding you how crazy he is. The Pussy Monster also loves the sizzurp, which is a combination of cough syrup and sprit, its big in the southern rap circuit I think with people like DJ Screw making it into a whole style of hip-hop down in Houston, by slowing down records so much as you are so screwed on sizzurp and weed that you can’t be doing with the fast beats. Anyway I digress what I’m saying is, he was all over the place, his thought jumping all over the place and this is reflected in his records too. So on with the show…

Tha Carter III is a hit’n’miss rap record but I expected no less from such a deranged artist. But when he is on form he is damn good. I like it when he goes for the more dark and minimal beats and his lazy flow has room to wonder all over it like a woozy ooze. This works especial well on Dr. Carter, which reminds me of Del Tha Funky Homosapian from Deltron 3030 in some ways in its beats and horn progression. Phone Home smacks of Lil’ Wayne showing us how wacky he is and ripping of Outkast in the process, or playing tribute to their ATLeans album with spacey beats. He often name checks Outkast and André 3000 specifically so I aren’t surprised he pays homage here. The album just seems to be a general mash-up of tracks there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive flow to it that I can pin point. The slow jamz are pretty hit’n’miss to, but Tie My Hands comes off well, as its not to cheesy it echoes Outkast again mind. Weezy isn’t to original even I can see that with my limited rap knowledge. Another highlight is A Milli, which is just the right side of annoying, just, with a phat electro beat and a repeated vocal loop as a bed. This has been done miles better by Clips on Keys from Hell Hath No Furry, with its keys open doors loop. A Milli is still enjoyable though, that’s Lil’ Wayne over all for me enjoyable and defiantly at the good end of the mainstream rap spectrum. Shoot Me Down sounds a little like he is trying to be Outkast again with some cowboy style bass and a bit of atmosphere going on, oh yeah and the guitar stuff too, it’s a good track on here mind. La La is a good track featuring David Banner who I have a little fondness for after DJ Shadow showcased him on his latest album. It’s a sparse number with 808 sounding drum machine and not much else. You Aint Got Nothin’ sounds like a Tim Westwood endorsed club banger to me with digital synths and freaky vocal manipulation. Which brings me onto the real duff tunes on Tha Carter III, these are the ones that annoy the shit out of me and are well worth skipping Lolliepop is super cheese with a shit pitched up and down, auto tuned vocal treatment that is maybe meant to convey his spazzed out syrup state of mind but just comes across as annoying and a little like Cher. His flow is really weak on Let The Beat Build that one is truly embarrassing. The Jay-Z collaboration is pretty whack in my opinion the beats are all right but its just lazy and generic like they don’t really care what they are doing as they are two rap stars who are massive and the tune will get hyped what ever they put down.

Tha Carter III is a scattered album that varies widely in quality and a little less so in style, there are only really four types of song here, the sparse beat tracks, the atmospheric numbers, the r&b sex pest slow jamz and the generic mainstream rap club bangers. Saying Lil’ Wayne is the greatest rapper ever is pretty funny but hell I wouldn’t argue with his he would probably talk shit at you for days on end then collapse on you stinking of cowpol six plus if you confronted him. The hype loving rap community with love this for a while until the next thing comes along and why not Tha Carter III is enjoyable but I doubt it will be massive. Hell us music lovers all like to get excited by the hype thing, only time will tell if this sticks around. For a rapper that pride them selves on word play I struggle to find a quote that sticks out as brilliant, which is a real shame, I maybe need to live with it more. Lil’ Wayne is an interesting character which makes a nice change for a mainstream artist. Its out today I think so check it out, you might find something you like, I surprised myself and found bits I liked.

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