A Mini-Retrospective on @LilTunechi’s Tha Carter II

When Tha Carter II released, we were in the middle of “Weezy Season,” that epic time in which the Louisianimal could do absolutely no wrong. Some people argue that tapes like his Drought tapes were the zenith of this era. I’d have to say that, while the mixtapes were great, the second installment of the Carter series was paramount to exposing Lil Wayne to the masses again and presenting him as, quite possibly, the greatest rapper alive since the greatest rapper retired.

With a combination of non sequitur punchlines, multis out the ass, and a mix between gangsta Weezy (seen in songs like “Tha Mobb”), joking-but-still-serious Weezy (as seen in “Fireman”), and reflective Weezy (seen in songs like “Receipt”), it’s the perfect presentation of who Lil’ Wayne was at one of the highest points in his career. We got to witness, through this album, the evolution of Wayne from a bounce rapper who would also do more gritty tracks to a more complete artist. 

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.”

Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on speedonthebeat.com. Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

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