On a personal level, I always rank Tha Carter II higher than any other album Wayne’s put out. While Carter III had more radio-friendly singles (hi “Lollipop” and “Got Money”) and Carter IV had some of my favorite moments, Carter II seemed more cohesive. The project itself had bars for days, some of which I still find myself quoting eleven years later. Additionally, the album possessed classic Wayne tracks such as “Best Rapper Alive” and “Hustler Musik,” songs that combined all three of the aforementioned dimensions of Lil’ Wayne. They showcased what Wayne was capable of putting out. While this album also has a heavy Baby/Wayne influence, it encapsulates who Wayne was and who Wayne was destined to become: a legend.
Overall, the album still manages to hold up eleven years later, as its subject matter, punchlines, and lyrics are borderline timeless. The beats have a classic feel to them, even down to songs like “Money on My Mind.” There wasn’t much filler on this album, so it is allowed to hit you right in the sternum, as Wayne says on “Hustler Muzik.” So, if you need a respite from the onslaught of new music today, revisit the album I feel is his best overall. Or, at least, play “Fireman” and “Best Rapper Alive.”