“My name’s Dwayne Michael Carter, DMC’s back,” Lil Wayne famously spit on his 2008 track “Nina.” Those words rang true again last Friday (one day after Wayne’s birthday), appropriately dubbed #CarterVDay.
Weezy fans patiently waited seven years for a follow-up to 2011’s Tha Carter IV. While While Wayne kept up with other albums, mixtapes and guest appearances in the interim, it would take years of delays and an uphill legal battle with his label, Cash Money Records, before Wayne blessed us with Tha Carter V. It’s a good thing the album is well worth the wait.
Back in 2014, Wayne announced Tha Carter V was completed. It’s easy to wonder what that initial album might have sounded like. Yet 2018’s Carter V re-casts Wayne in a whole new light. The lead-up to the album’s release felt like a true celebration of Wayne and his influence on a generation of hip-hop artists. Indeed, Carter V opens with a heartfelt message from his mother in which she essentially sums up how fans were feeling: proud of Wayne’s accomplishments and excited to hear new music.
The album’s second track, “Don’t Cry,” features XXXTentacion and opens the door to the new Wayne. Contemplative and conflicted, Wayne takes us through the ups and downs he’s currently experiencing and the two opposing sides pulling at him. On “Mona Lisa,” Wayne teams up with Kendrick Lamar, who’s paid homage to Wayne many times over, going so far as to remix the majority of Wayne’s songs on Tha Carter III for Lamar’s mixtape C4. Throughout the track, the duo rap about a deceptively beautiful woman who sets them up. They offer two different perspective of the events in question, ready at every corner with witty wordplay and engaging storytelling.
After 20 years in the game, 12 studio albums, countless mixtapes, collaborations and movies, Lil Wayne silences any questions about whether or not he’s still a GOAT with Tha Carter V. It cements his legacy as a true pioneer of modern hip-hop, and thankfully, there are no signs of him slowing down from here.