Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tha Carter III (Or How I Learned To Stop Caring And Listen To Kool Keith)

Usually I don't do reviews, unless its a case where the artist is someone I like but am constantly infuriated by or disappointed in, which makes for a more interesting read than "OMG, Converge RULEZ!!!". And so, to put a nail in the coffin of any more mention of Lil' Wayne on here, Tha Carter III track by track.

"3 Peat"- There's a plague in this decade of people trying to manufacture what they think emotion is, both in inflection (the scourge known as whisper-rapping) and production. So its always faux-melodrama and bad string synths because most rappers are full of shit and can't really put across like feeling, say, Ghostface. And then of late they've been heaping on the production to mask rappers' deficiencies to the point that all you need is an impressive sounding voice (Yung Joc, Jeezy, Shawty Lo) and you can get by on being awful. Wayne isn't really awful at all, but a lot of his album beats in the past have been, residing in that place of stale pretend melodrama that I'd hope people over 17 could see as bullshit. This intro track is better than all the "Fly In/Out" shit from Tha Carter II, but its still pretty "stock", to quote Lars Ulrich. And for a rapper who is split between lyrically great and impotent , its a bad move to have your conceptually dramatic and regal opening track be this stale.

"Mr. Carter"- People have been making these songs since Blueprint, so listening to this is more cute than anything. As a 16-year-old I'd probably be really impressed by this, and this will definitely be played in cars and on blocks for a minute. But more than "Hello Brooklyn 2.0", which was apparently a cut and paste job, this shows the lineage between Jay and Wayne and the differences, being Jay became boring whereas Wayne's whole selling point is being weird and entertaining. Also, is Wayne what a high Jay-Z would sound like if Jay really fell off a lot, or is Jay what Lil' Wayne would eventually evolve into if he improved his lyrics? I feel its the latter when hearing Jay say pretty much nothing of semblance on the song, but making it sound ten times better than Dwayne. Although, I can't help but hear some Wayne-biting on Jay's part, flow-wise. Hm.

"A Milli"- The mixtape version is better since this version has excised all the fantastically fucked up parts, including the random mention of "the almighty power of Allah". And, this is sort of representative of why Lil' Wayne probably won't be able to put together a good album for a while but can shit good mixtapes for days. "A Milli" would work on an album only as a mass posse track, like "Scenario", although that's giving it credit because "Scenario" had a hook to keep everything together. That's going to be the common thread to all of this, it feels like a well-produced, DJ-less mixtape and not an album. But kids these days don't know shit and don't care about albums so I'm sure it won't bother a lot of people.

Seriously. Fuck this generation.

"Got Money" Feat T-Pain- Fucking awful. And I'm sure I've heard the synth line in another song before. This is the most unnecessary thing he could've put on this.

"Comfortable"- The most unnerving thing on here, just because there's no transition between this timeless sounding old man Rap&Bullshit and the previous T-Pain ass-baby. Its a pretty beat, for sure, but the only good thing Wayne says on here is the opening line, "To the left to the left/if you wanna leave be my guest you can step/feeling "Irreplacable" listening to Beyonce/That's okay I'll put you out on your B'day". Its weird because at the heart of it all, when he isn't spazzing out he's addressing pretty mundane topics, which makes him perfect for the time we live in, I guess. Dude is the Family Guy of rap.

"Phone Home"- I listened to this again last night and it always makes me laugh from how ridiculous it is. Not to beat a dead horse, but I like to compare this to "Nutmeg" by Ghostface, "Sex Style" by Kool Keith and "Rollin Wit You" by ODB. And by far, no one will ever do this shit as good as ODB. Ever.

LOL @ Nicki Minaj's Rosie Perez-ass voice talking about "Planet Weezy" and some guy purposely yelling "Phone Home" with a retard's inflection.

A Retard's Inflection would be the best title for a Weezy anthology.

Honestly, there's schoolkids across the US who are having their mind's blown right now because they've never heard any rap album or non-mainstream record made before 2003.

"Dr. Carter"- I sense a pattern. I can't wait for him to rap over ye-ye and call it "Misseur Carter". Decent enough beat, although this is some old cool urban jazz soundtrack shit I've heard before and it doesn't actually amount to anything. I'd say the beats are wasted on Wayne, but the beats aren't that spectacular in the first place. Just sort of good and enjoyable.

"Tie My Hands"- I used to really like Robin Thicke. But then again I used to claim allegiance to artists based on hearing one good song by them, only to be disappointed with weedplate albums. This is another rare political addressing of Katrina by Wayne, which is a shame because the song is boring. Would it be fucked up to suggest that Katrina was great for Wayne's career?

"Shoot Me Down"- Unlike Devin The Dude's last album, this is the type of beat where recontextualizing something corny through a hip-hop lens doesn't make it good. ::Delete::

"Playin' With Fire"- You can see what he's going for, but a better rapper would've succeeded in milking all the drama and legitimate fire the sample and the hook break actually have. Wayne starts his verses weak and doesn't really rise above that. And also, is the umpteenth track to have awful simile's. "I get better with time like a watch". Actually that only applies to wood instruments and wine. Everything gets worse. Speaking of guitar, I would've actually loved a solo Weezy guitar track on here. Why didn't he think of that? Go all in, man.

"Lollipop"- I hated this song almost as much as Roger Ebert hated "North". And then two weeks later, it kind of bloomed in my head. The verses on this song actually seem brilliant and well-written in comparison to the rest of the record, which is a goddamn shame. The best song on the album, no homo.

"La La"- David Banner, after "Rubberband Man" got popular quickly realized that those little kid major key melody beats would sell like hotcakes, so I feel like he's got a whole Raffi album's worth of shit in the vault somewhere, considering how sporadically he gets beats out. Again, despite an interesting 00's "serious" Busta Rhymes verse (Side note: Busta Rhymes is a faggot and should get suppurated. Not because he's actually gay, though one can hope, but because he's an fucking asshole of "Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down" status and my schadenfreude knows no bounds.) the track goes nowhere.

"Nothin' On Me"- Would be cool on a Dipset album or something. This reeks of "second-tier radio track", something decent but not serious enough to release with a video but you release it to Hot 97 or whatever to play anyway. And I'd like to see Juelz shot in the mouth. Not through the mouth, but in a way to fuck up his jaw and let him have recovery time, so maybe his bullshit will be more tolerable if he comes back with a different sound for those garbage lyrics. Hey, worked for 50.

"Let The Beat Build"- A minute too long and Wayne is not the rapper to have on this track. Or anyone, at that. Its kind of dumb, now that I've listened to it too much. ::Delete::

"Mrs. Officer"- Everything Bobby Valentino touches sucks ass. This song is no exception. As Brandon previously opined, dude's trying to be everything for maximum commercial saturation and he ends up just sucking in the end. Also, this story seems to clash with what I've learned from his condom ads. Strange.

"Misunderstood"- One of few tracks I don't instinctively fast-forward through. Solely for his batshit ballsy 6 minute political monologue towards the end, which wouldn't matter if, say, Dead prez, El-P, or Immortal Technique said it. But when a high-as-fuck Lil' "Wobbedly Wobbedly Drop it Like I'ma Eat A Star" Wayne starts dropping some intro to PoliSci talking points, its simultaneously jarring, funny, and endearing, solely for being a guy whose calling card and career is built on dumb-ass shit like spending 6 albums rapping about the same shit everyone else raps about but in a shallower, more disingenuous way. And in this regard, Wayne is like Pac. But I can't wait for Al Sharpton to catch wind of this from his grand-nephew or whoever. Especially since Wayne isn't wrong about disliking Al Sharpton, who does more harm than good in pretending to represent black America. The only addicting thing on this album, really.

"Lollipop Remix"- Hahahahahahaha. Right.

So basically, I will definitely never listen to this album in its entirety again. 7/8'th of it is going right to the recycle bin right now and I'm in the process of downloading last year's leaked Tha Carter III for a comparison and to mix-and-match like everyone else is doing.

So overall, the shit is like a 5 out of 10. A 10 being ...Cuban Linx, a 1 being Da Musicianz.

The leak of the previous incarnation of the album definitely fucked things up for this version of the album and its a shame that Wayne OD'ed on material because, though a cliche, the stuff he released for free had enough great shit where if he had someone helping him cull and do quality control, this album could've easily been something like an 8 or so.

Well, I hope Tha Carter IV at least has a Tracy Chapman cover.


Trey Stone said...

damn, the misanthropy about "this generation's" killing me. not to say you don't have a point though

i hear you on the whole manufacturing emotion deal. i always find it difficult to articulate what exactly i don't like about certain conscious rap or token "introspective" mainstream rap songs but that's a big part of it, the "feeling" comes off as too calculated. 'Ye's one of the few rappers right now who i think consistently pulls it off, more due to the overall vibe of his music than any specific lines.

Christopher said...

Ha, yeah it was kind of extra for me to go in on my peers like that again.

Its the curse of the "whisper rappers", basically.

Darrell Chane said...


Darrell Chane said...

as a follow up - this is one of the better reviews for The Carter 3 that i have read - on par snort-laughwise with the DJ Khaled video deconstructions on Smoking Section

Christopher said...

Darrell- Thanks!