A couple of weeks ago, I approached Laydie Fluent about writing an album review segment for BossFluent's very popular magazine, The MAG. With a little persistence from myself, she agreed to the idea and gave me a timeline of a week to do it. Of course I procrastinated and it is now past that week but like my grandmother used to say, "Pressure either bursts pipes or makes diamonds." While searching for an album to review, I battled with the option to review a new release or an old release. So I decided to go back to the first rap album that I ever remember buying with my own money (that was previously my mother's money lol!) and decided to review Lil' Wayne's "Tha Carter II". So this is MY Take, sit back and enjoy!!
In order for me to fully review this, I would have to give proper context. Now, imagine its 2005 and "106 & Park" along with "MTV" and the radio is at it's highest influence. You probably have
a phone and and chances are it has a ringtone from a song you heard from one of those mediums. The name Lil' Wayne is relatively still unknown to the mainstream world and at this point is known for his "Carter 1" single "Go DJ" or him being a part of the Hot Boys. The reason why "Tha Carter II" is such a big milestone in Wayne's career, is because it's a defining moment for him. It distinguishes him from his counterparts such as Young Jeezy and T.I. "Tha Carter" was a big step into Wayne's World but "Tha Carter II" was him finally understanding the world he was creating.
This album was the first project by him that had no production by Mannie Fresh which previously he complimented very well. The first track was a Heatmakerz bombshell that was titled 'Tha Mobb' which contained the lyrics "Cash money young money motherf**k the otherside!" A powerful statement that at the time held so much truth considering the circumstances that Wayne was now the only member on Cash Money Records after all of his label mates jumped ship. These lyrics set the tone to the album very well. Proceeded was Wayne's infamous "Fly in" intro that was present previously on "Tha Carter" and is sprinkled throughout the whole album along with some colorful and humorous skits. One specifically titled "On the Block". I'm not a fan of skits on albums but I can say that I did enjoy my introduction to them because these were great. They didn't take away from the album and acted as a breather when the songs got too heavy. One of the songs that stood out for me as a kid was the song "Money On My Mind". Lyrics like "In the heart of the summer we need a snowplow, coke transactions on the phone we call them blowj*bs". That line said now wouldn't get much of a second look but at the time that was pretty dope. This project had a lot of those clever little witty lines. For example with lyrics such as, "All I have in this world is a pistol and a fistful of dollars and a list full of problems, I address em like P.O. Boxes" along with the braggadocio and flexing records like "Weezy Baby" and "I'm a Dboy", you have a lot of introspective tracks that the later Carter's lack on here, like "Receipt" where talks about his marriage with his first wife Toya and the blossom into a woman of his daughter Regine and him going down memory lane of his past relationships. "Feel Me" is literally a song with him being interviewed. I do have to say, after revisiting this project, the creativity on here is subtle but doesn't take away from the greatness of the music and adds to it in multiple ways.
The singles of this project were "Fireman", "Hustler Musik" and "Shooter". In today's standards, that would be considered non traditional and even then still was. This album for me can be compared to Vol.2 Hard Knock Life by Jay-Z. The moment when a rapper finally understands who they are and what they can do. With this knowledge, it lead to comfortability which lead to more confidence in how he approached music. This was a Prince before becoming a King.
Posted by: Laydie Fluent
Written by: Jeffrey Loving
Audio Director and Producer of WFLU-DB FluentRadio Station
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