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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | CM - Republic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | Young Money Records, Inc.

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"Still the motherfuckin' best rapper a-live," Lil Wayne offhandedly declares on "Dope New Gospel," a coasting track on which the unmistakable MC also insists that he's irreplaceable, even in death. Claiming supremacy while considering mortality has long been as natural as walking while chewing gum for Dwayne Carter, but there's a greater, grimmer sense across the long-anticipated Carter V that life is just a moment. Wayne's mother sets the tone with a spoken intro that verges on eulogistic, and through her tears somehow leaves the impression that even she is ever so slightly exasperated about the setbacks and protracted delays that plagued the fifth Carter after her son publicized its imminence in 2012. A multitude of personal and professional obstacles, occasionally poignant featured appearances, and mixtapes and intervening albums of diminishing quality, were packed into the six years that passed since the fifth Carter volume was promised. The series finale nonetheless arrives with an undue weight of expectation -- its maker already has a proven and immense catalog that includes ten Top Ten solo LPs -- and has some burdensome qualities itself. Almost 90 minutes in length, it's pieced together with material recorded from years to weeks ahead of release, and one cut goes back to resemble an early-2000s crossover bid, from its smoothly melodic Mannie Fresh production to its Ashanti hook. A greater portion forms a sluggish, indistinct mass. Moreover, Wayne is often in a mode of mechanical recklessness, dropping to the lowest point on "Open Safe," a felonious fantasy wherein the protagonist boasts of coaxing information from a woman by "stick[ing] her hands in the fan blades." Derogatory terms fly there and elsewhere, contradicting Wayne's proclamation of growth, whether he was referring to artistic or human development. Alternately, there are touching rhymes regarding parenthood, and the moments of romantic heartache and inner conflict -- especially the cathartic last verse of "Let It All Work Out," concerning his attempted childhood suicide -- have instant and lasting resonance. He's also still inspired enough to match wits with Kendrick Lamar (on the suspenseful, bewildering "Mona Lisa") and dash off cunning wordplay like "You a roughneck, I'm a cutthroat" (over a Swizz Beatz recycling of the Ez Elpee news-flash beat he joked about disliking the first time he used it). For all the excess and buildup, this exhibits Wayne on an upswing, lucid and invigorated. ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 31, 2020 | Young Money Records, Inc.

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Thankfully, the New Orleanian prodigy is still far from the retirement he announced a few years ago. Without any promo, and still on his Young Money label, Lil Wayne is back with Funeral, only two years after Tha Carter V which nearly never saw the light of day following some points of contention between Wayne and his mentor Birdman. Opting for a longer album with 24 tracks, different to the new standards but not straying from the Carter traditions, this record banks on features chosen by the artist. At 37 years old, of which twenty have been in the business, Lil Wayne knows more than anyone that innovation is key, but he won’t shift his modus operandi that easily (“I know that time change, I don’t think I’ll change” on Stop Playin With Me). He’s joined by Big Sean, Jay Rock, 2 Chainz, Takeoff, O.T. Genasis, his favourite of the moment Lil Baby and his departed-too-soon prodigy XXXTentacion on Get Outta My Head. Less sombre than it seems, this thirteenth chapter does however give more of an impression of a mixtape than an album reached full maturity. Of course, there is breakneck production galore, such as the deformed synths on Stop Playin With Me, the missives of Mama Mia or second track Mahogany: produced by Sarcastic Sounds and longtime collaborator Mannie Fresh, it recalls the A Milli-era Wayne and gives him the perfect platform to prove that he is “the best rapper alive”, an all-terrain rapper who manages to pull off far-fetched rhymes (“Mahogany dashboard, I do the dash, boy/I think in my backyard, I need an airport) and insert effective hooks. But the overkill (Piano Trap, Line Em Up) which relies on cheesy pop (Trust Nobody with Adam Levine) lets the record down somewhat. Weezy also employs some classic standards and makes sure we don’t forget where he’s from: Clap For Them features a Drag Rap sample from The Showboys (1986), a symbol of Bounce Music and the Dirty South. After mixtapes The Prefix, The Suffix, his 4 Sorry 4 The Waits, Rebirth (2010) and the iconic The Carter series, Funeral takes its logical place. “Even if my real funeral was tomorrow, this wouldn’t be my last album. We’ll keep an eye out for his reincarnation… © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | Young Money Records, Inc.

"Still the motherfuckin' best rapper a-live," Lil Wayne offhandedly declares on "Dope New Gospel," a coasting track on which the unmistakable MC also insists that he's irreplaceable, even in death. Claiming supremacy while considering mortality has long been as natural as walking while chewing gum for Dwayne Carter, but there's a greater, grimmer sense across the long-anticipated Carter V that life is just a moment. Wayne's mother sets the tone with a spoken intro that verges on eulogistic, and through her tears somehow leaves the impression that even she is ever so slightly exasperated about the setbacks and protracted delays that plagued the fifth Carter after her son publicized its imminence in 2012. A multitude of personal and professional obstacles, occasionally poignant featured appearances, and mixtapes and intervening albums of diminishing quality, were packed into the six years that passed since the fifth Carter volume was promised. The series finale nonetheless arrives with an undue weight of expectation -- its maker already has a proven and immense catalog that includes ten Top Ten solo LPs -- and has some burdensome qualities itself. Almost 90 minutes in length, it's pieced together with material recorded from years to weeks ahead of release, and one cut goes back to resemble an early-2000s crossover bid, from its smoothly melodic Mannie Fresh production to its Ashanti hook. A greater portion forms a sluggish, indistinct mass. Moreover, Wayne is often in a mode of mechanical recklessness, dropping to the lowest point on "Open Safe," a felonious fantasy wherein the protagonist boasts of coaxing information from a woman by "stick[ing] her hands in the fan blades." Derogatory terms fly there and elsewhere, contradicting Wayne's proclamation of growth, whether he was referring to artistic or human development. Alternately, there are touching rhymes regarding parenthood, and the moments of romantic heartache and inner conflict -- especially the cathartic last verse of "Let It All Work Out," concerning his attempted childhood suicide -- have instant and lasting resonance. He's also still inspired enough to match wits with Kendrick Lamar (on the suspenseful, bewildering "Mona Lisa") and dash off cunning wordplay like "You a roughneck, I'm a cutthroat" (over a Swizz Beatz recycling of the Ez Elpee news-flash beat he joked about disliking the first time he used it). For all the excess and buildup, this exhibits Wayne on an upswing, lucid and invigorated. ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 6, 2005 | CM - Republic

An appropriately titled album, Tha Carter II builds on the Lil Wayne of the first Carter, the Lil Wayne who was not only cocky, but also truly confident, confident enough to loosen up his rhymes and create a winning mixture of slick baller posturing and slippery flippancy. If the first Carter found him somewhere between a crazed Silkk the Shocker and a thuggish Devin the Dude, the excellent follow-up finds him more toward the latter. Take "Money on My Mind," a track that covers the usual "get money" territory but this time with scatological whimsy and off-the-wall rhymes that would make Tracy Morgan proud. This uninhibited style is also the reason the many hookless, freestyle-ish tracks work, and while these hardcore, mixtape-sounding numbers may alienate those who don't appreciate dirty street music, they balance the slicker club singles. Recalling the gutter hits of the Hot Boys -- the crew where Lil Wayne spent his teen years -- the stomping "Fireman" was rightfully lighting up the request lines at the album's release, but the rest of the radio-worthy polish -- "Grown Man," "Hustler Music," and "Get Over" -- is much more soulful, with smooth R&B in its heart rather than tacked-on to land it on the play list. For longtime fans of Lil Wayne or the Cash Money label, the absence of regular producer Mannie Fresh is worth noting, but the Heatmakerz along with Tmix & Batman offer plenty of brilliant grime and glitter while two newcomers deliver the curveballs. Producer Yonny loops a reggae bounce and makes the smoking song "Mo Fire" drip out of the speakers like the dankest sticky-icky while Thicke -- as in Alan Thicke's son -- reprises his slinkiest number from his overlooked 2003 album Beautiful World for "Shooter," arguably the most adventurous and stylish Lil Wayne song yet. Lyrical triumphs like the epic "Tha Mobb" and the pimp-hand-showing "Receipt" seal the deal, leaving only the short, ignorable skits and the black-on-red printing in the liner notes to complain about (the latter is hell on the eyeballs). The sturdy Carter II caps off a year when the man was appointed president of Cash Money by founders Birdman and Ronald "Slim" Williams, then watched his 17th Ward, New Orleans, neighborhood destroyed by hurricane Katrina -- something bitterly touched upon during "Feel Me"'s FEMA dis, but most likely too late for press time for most tracks. The well-rounded, risk-taking, but true-to-its-roots album suggests he can weather the highs and lows like a champion and that Birdman and Slim knew something everyone else didn't when they bet the farm on the formerly "raw talent," now "fully formed" Lil Wayne. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 31, 2020 | Young Money Records, Inc.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 29, 2004 | CM - Republic

It would be easy to read too much into the title of Lil Wayne's fourth album, especially in light of a mixtape (cunningly titled The Prefix) that preceded this, which featured the MC over a handful of tracks off Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter's Black Album. The title actually refers to Lil Wayne's actual last name (hint: it isn't Wayne), in addition to referencing the apartments run by Wesley Snipes' character in New Jack City. Although much has been made about Wayne's growth and new world view, there's about as much change as you'd expect from a Southern rap star who has been in the public eye from his late teens to his twenties. Mannie Fresh's stout production is in effect as ever, and to the MC's credit, the rhymes are less measured and are all the better for it. To beat that dead horse one more time, the album is far too long and not concerned enough with the quality control, despite including more than enough bright spots to keep the followers following. At just over 79 minutes in length, it's made evident that the length would actually be just over 89 minutes if a CD could hold 90 minutes' worth of music. ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2013 | CM - Republic

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Compared to the albums he's released under the name Tha Carter, Lil Wayne's I Am Not a Human Being series is noticeably looser. The quality control is certainly above mixtape or street-release level, but stray tracks and Carter leftovers are given their homes here, while the overall album flow is allowed to be reckless. Here, Weezy's wisecracking rebel songs get bunched together, coming off as redundant blasts of evil genius narcisswagger, where flaccid penises are "sleeping giants," codeine, promithazene, and weed are the recommended vitamins, and spending your birthday in jail ain't no biggie because the Playboy Mansion can always reschedule. In other words, he lives on this earth but this stopgap release's title is apt, and also believable, since Wayne's real world bio plays more like a comic book origin story, being raised by surrogate father Birdman in the halls of Cash Money. Bundle that background with stunning talent, true wit, and a John Holmes level of cocksure, and it doesn't matter that the bedroom-bragging "Curtains" is next to the conquest-listing "Days and Days," because the first has a rock-solid hook and pop-rap craftsmanship, while the second has a 2 Chainz feature and "You know I'm on that grass/Don't turn on the sprinkles" amongst its many quotables. 2 Chainz is back for more boasting on "Rich as Fuck," a winner with an enticing and eerie beat from T-Minus. Producer Mike WILL Made-It offers a posh and radio-friendly version of the traditional swagger track, covering the "good kush and alcohol" number "Love Me" in sounds so buttery smooth that hitmakers Drake and Future sound wonderfully couch-locked and comfortable. Brilliant single "My Homies Still" is only on the Deluxe version, in frustrating "it's not really an official, official album" fashion, and yet all this redundancy and the scattershot complaints become minor when the album breaks character and gives up surprising diversions like power-baller "Back to You" (rap-rock that really works), the raw, Dirty South winner "Wowzers" (diva Trina wants sex "till' daybreak, then you can go skate"), and the quite good political commentary sketchbook dubbed "God Bless Amerika" ("I saw a butterfly in hell" might not read well, but the way it's dropped in the song is superb). This is an indulgent jumble of a sideline release, but that doesn't mean Wayne isn't in fine form. He is, and anyone with four Carters already on their shelves will certainly want this one. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2010 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | Young Money Records, Inc.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 22, 2013 | CM - Republic

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 8, 2015 | Goudeau Records

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2009 | CM - Republic

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CD$17.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | Young Money Records, Inc.

CD$17.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 31, 2020 | Young Money Records, Inc.

Thankfully, the New Orleanian prodigy is still far from the retirement he announced a few years ago. Without any promo, and still on his Young Money label, Lil Wayne is back with Funeral, only two years after Tha Carter V which nearly never saw the light of day following some points of contention between Wayne and his mentor Birdman. Opting for a longer album with 24 tracks, different to the new standards but not straying from the Carter traditions, this record banks on features chosen by the artist. At 37 years old, of which twenty have been in the business, Lil Wayne knows more than anyone that innovation is key, but he won’t shift his modus operandi that easily (“I know that time change, I don’t think I’ll change” on Stop Playin With Me). He’s joined by Big Sean, Jay Rock, 2 Chainz, Takeoff, O.T. Genasis, his favourite of the moment Lil Baby and his departed-too-soon prodigy XXXTentacion on Get Outta My Head. Less sombre than it seems, this thirteenth chapter does however give more of an impression of a mixtape than an album reached full maturity. Of course, there is breakneck production galore, such as the deformed synths on Stop Playin With Me, the missives of Mama Mia or second track Mahogany: produced by Sarcastic Sounds and longtime collaborator Mannie Fresh, it recalls the A Milli-era Wayne and gives him the perfect platform to prove that he is “the best rapper alive”, an all-terrain rapper who manages to pull off far-fetched rhymes (“Mahogany dashboard, I do the dash, boy/I think in my backyard, I need an airport) and insert effective hooks. But the overkill (Piano Trap, Line Em Up) which relies on cheesy pop (Trust Nobody with Adam Levine) lets the record down somewhat. Weezy also employs some classic standards and makes sure we don’t forget where he’s from: Clap For Them features a Drag Rap sample from The Showboys (1986), a symbol of Bounce Music and the Dirty South. After mixtapes The Prefix, The Suffix, his 4 Sorry 4 The Waits, Rebirth (2010) and the iconic The Carter series, Funeral takes its logical place. “Even if my real funeral was tomorrow, this wouldn’t be my last album. We’ll keep an eye out for his reincarnation… © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz