Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III

By: Dennis Cook

This is a maddening record, both pure commercial crapola and Kate Bush tinged loopy invention akin to Outkast.or Edan (with a much dirtier mouth). Starting by "shooting your grandmother up" and throwing "a million uppercuts," the platinum kid continues to show a level of ambition, creatively and fiscally, that most of his peers can only stare slackjawed at. That said, the soul sucking cameos from Babyface, T-Pain and a surprisingly lazy Jay-Z just come off as obvious (though successful) pandering to the mainstream. Even vaguely intriguing single "Lollipop" is just a Cameo vocoder slow jam taken down a half notch.

It's when Weezy moves away from the obvious "Between The Sheets" samples and thickheaded yes-y'all-ing that he takes off for Mars – where brotherman has been claiming he's from lately. "A Milli" is a stuttering bouncer, dancehall slapped around by raw ass electro while he buzzes around our heads like a gold plated gadfly. "Dr. Carter" is a primo hip-hop instructional along the lines of Blackalicious' "Rhymes For The Deaf, Dumb & Blind" or any number of early Masta Ace lessons. Oddly enough, of all the chart-courting cameos it's Robin Thicke's blue-eyed soul on "Tie My Hands" that works best with Wayne's jittery, all-over-the-fuckin-map style, adding some cream, if you will, to his strong, black coffee. "Shoot Me Down," with it's dark, heady atmosphere and sung hook from D. Smith suggests Wayne has heard a little MC 900 Ft Jesus. Again though, it's when he deviates from the main road, as on the outer space shout-out "Phone Home," the well weeded, Freestyle Fellowship-esque "La La" and the brilliantly remedial "Let The Beat Build" (where he holds off any sort of listener release so long with "just a snare and an 808" you'll want to bite him), that one gets that Lil Wayne could be a great artist, a visionary in his field, if only he wanted to fully commit to it. He doesn't and that's what ultimately makes this official release a pale shadow of the weird, frankly psychotic brilliance that flashes periodically on his many mix tapes.

Oh, everyone shouting about Weez's unique style should jump across the Atlantic (and back in time) to peep short-lived U.K. hip-hop act Earthling and 1995's Radar and 1996's Blood Music EP to hear how rapper Mau had this free-associative flow down cold (and often more intelligently) more than a decade before Lil Wayne hit upon it after his stint in boy-rapper sensation Hot Boys.

And one last gold star for putting a lengthy sample of Nina Simone's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" at the head of closer "Dongtgetit," a fine, mopey inward look and social diatribe worthy of Gil Scott-Heron. If just a few folks discover Simone through this touch he'll have done music some good, beyond his own varied but sometimes inspired contributions.

JamBase | Spaceways
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[Published on: 8/3/08]

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spate420 Sun 8/3/2008 08:46AM
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Instead of wasting our time with these worthless CD reviews, why don't you keep us posted on REAL music news.. like how Trey's performance from Newport Jazz is going to be broadcasted on NPR at 3:30 today!!!!!!!

Z.Love71 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/3/2008 11:33AM
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crusoe star Sun 8/3/2008 03:44PM
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I usually don't comment on how awful some music is but I can't even call what lil wayne does music let alone hip-hop or rap or whatever u want to call it. He blows chunks, has nothing to say, and the beats sound like they were made by a preschooler on crack. go away lil wayne

Roy G Biv starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/3/2008 06:52PM
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schofizzl Sun 8/3/2008 11:13PM
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well if that's the case he should be a poet... but i guess you can't afford flashy clothes and rims creating real art these days..

rjd999 Sun 8/3/2008 11:45PM
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man, i love hip hop music, and i have given wayne a chance. every now and then he is alright, but for the most part i cant get next to his stuff at all. his flow is like quintessential battle rapper style, spit half a bar, wait half a bar, follow with lame punchline. not into it man. lollipop is a joke, and congrats to weezy on his success on his new smash single with T-Payne, "Got Money". Classy shit bro.

LewisIsGood Mon 8/4/2008 12:30AM
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n-1 starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/4/2008 06:53AM
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this is nothing short of awesome seeing a little Wayne review on here, and i liked your article in the last issue of SoM dennis, got a copy at Vibes.

n-1 starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/4/2008 07:00AM
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It's a given that British rappers are more intelligent so to speak, then most commercial U.S hip hop, dumbed down sells. but to me the euros will always sound a little goofy when they rap. rap is urban African and American by nature. digg the freestyle fellowship reference, I agree can't expect anything too stellar though coming out of the majority of commercial hip hop these days, prolly why the mix tapes are better.

Matt Mon 8/4/2008 07:33AM
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Wayne is a joke he is more of a comedian than musician.

ascampan Mon 8/4/2008 08:45AM
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Lil Wayne is one of the most impressive rappers around today! like him or not, you have to respect over a million sold in the first week. i can't wait to see him at Voodoo this year!

njmaki Mon 8/4/2008 08:53AM
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Yea man, lil wayne is ridiculous. You rarely every get a seasoned veteran of rap that is still so hungry, he is going to be on top of the game for many years to come. Seeing him at Voodoo in New Orleans is going to be awesome.

KeepItRelevant Mon 8/4/2008 09:16AM
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jambase, stick to what you know. u have no business reviewing lil wayne. would u ever see a magazine like The Source review Mike Gordon's new tunes? nah, dog.

Roy G Biv Mon 8/4/2008 11:00AM
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Roy G Biv

schofizzl, what is your definition of art. Mine is the product of human creativity. I really don't know why you are hating on him so much, but he is doing what he loves, and doing a very good job at it.

zzdowz Mon 8/4/2008 01:42PM
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Lollipops, bitches, and money. Now that's poetry.

Muffinman1 Mon 8/4/2008 01:47PM
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What the Fuck?

O1Roggae Mon 8/4/2008 09:49PM
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listen to some real shit like De la Soul or Tribe or Pharcyde, anyone here Love J-dilla(r.i.p.) as well as Big L(r.i.p.) J-5. MF DOOM, DJ Quik, Talib Kweli, Common, Anything WU-Tang, or anyone here underground enough to know who Brotha Lynch is? refuse to lose is a sick track- this guy raps about some crazy ass shit. C'mon lets put out some real articles on some more underground hip-hop artists not about the ones on MTv and on the radio.

Atlien Mon 8/4/2008 10:04PM
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Lil Wayne is a great freestyler, but below average songwriter. I've been a fan of hip-hop my whole life and I like LW's cameos on a lot of other people's songs, but I deleted this album off of my hard drive a few days after downloading it. Total shite. Rap is so starved for the next superstar, that every magazine on the planet has jumped on this dude's dick, but it's completely undeserved no matter how many songs he gives away on the internet. You think if Outkast was still putting out groundbreaking albums this guy would be anymore than a b-lister? You want to listen to a crazy ass spaced out brotha who can rhyme circles around this dude...listen to Kool Keith. Don't believe the hype!

rjd999 Tue 8/5/2008 12:26AM
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hell yeah roggae. brotha lynch has the SICCNESS! haha that dude is uber-violent but entertaining as hell, '24 Gone' was my jam back in the day. and i feel you on dilla, all of his work is so smooth, so jazzy. all of the stuff he did with slum village is outstanding. i cant dig lil got money weezy. he's better than heads like shawty lo and fitty and (insert lame ass commercial rapper here), but that doesnt make him some gift to hip hop. i cant believe hova has given him the seal of approval, but whatever. but yeah man, support independent music, not this bullshit of the ringtone generation. and forget his beats too, they all have that same wack ass snare roll anyways, its so predictable and just typical by now. brother ali for president.

uncljohnsband5 Tue 8/5/2008 07:01AM
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Lil Wayne does not jam so why write about him on

uncljohnsband5 Tue 8/5/2008 07:04AM
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this scene needs the reemergence of lyrics from such groups as N.W.A. put rap back in its place, im tired of these pussy ass lyrics

Matis Tue 8/5/2008 09:48AM
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a milli a milli a milli a milli.....

MutilatedLips Tue 8/5/2008 10:15AM
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I had listened to lil' wayne back when the hotboys got popular when I was in highschool, but i feel like i have long since grown out of superficial hiphop. i admit that he is a cleaver lyricist, but its just mass produced music with negative energy. as far as hiphop goes for me i stick with blackalicious, company flow, zion-i, murs, sage francis, defjux, rhymesayers. rdj999, 01roggae are right, if you want to hear some good hardcore dark rap, brotha lynch hung, c-bo, and alot of other underground older westcoast stuff is way more creative and interesting in my opinion than lil'wayne or anyone else who's big today.

cuttyfives Tue 8/5/2008 08:16PM
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MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks Wed 8/6/2008 10:55AM
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This fool couldnt hold Aesop Rock's Jock.

dontpanic56 Wed 8/6/2008 11:20PM
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random shit is not so upset right not i thought jambase was for me to get away from people like this

Danimal Thu 8/7/2008 04:12AM
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Lil Wayne is a waste of space. Read an interview with him. He doesn't even know what he is saying half the time. He might have a unique flow or whatever, but he really says nothing. Just like every other mainstream rapper. Get the new Roots.

NittyGritty Thu 8/7/2008 09:02AM
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music is music and lil wayne is definitely a talented artists, and the best rapper alive...he says it himself....rock on wayne....let that beat build bitch

sbruce44 starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/7/2008 10:23AM
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Yeah, maaaaaan. Little Wayne is so commercial. Yeah, fuck MTV and the man, and the corporations and the mainstreams and the Little Wayne mainstream corporation maaaaaaaan. Do you see my shirt? It's tie dye. That means I'm totally not mainstream. Only people who hang around off the beaten path at incredibly popular and financially successful tours and festivals wear un-commercial clothes like me. People like me only listen to hip hop that not as many people like, such as MF Doom, Aesop Rock, Brotha Lynch... there's plenty of other rappers I can pretend I listen to so that you all might not see through me for the disingenuous, close-minded, poser prick that I am...

sbruce44 starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/7/2008 10:26AM
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Ha. Everytime Weezy is mentioned, most of the commenters in the forum do a fantastic job of showing how ill equipped they are to evaluate his work. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the number of people in here who can appreciate this MUSICIAN's prowess. But still there are plenty of dinosaurs in here who can't get with the program and give the man his due, because liking something so "mainstream" would hurt their image. tsk, tsk.

mvekob starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/7/2008 11:37AM
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I find lil wayne to be something refreshing to rap. bringing in great rhymes mixed with colorful comedy. IF you can't get over lil wayne is really big now and just enjoy his music there is something wrong with you. Just because he can sell millions of albums now doesn't mean he is any less good he is just finally getting the exposure he deserves.

ftfunkj Sat 8/9/2008 07:11PM
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hey it might not be music, it might not be rap or hip hop, but it is entertainment, the dude is relatively original and creative it's comedy and better than most mainstream crap

DeadStickLanding star Fri 8/15/2008 12:42PM
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What instrument does he play again? I did like him in that Usher song. Yay-aahh!! Just say no to Top 40. What's next, Katie Homes' new hair style?

rjeptha3 starstarstarstar Fri 8/15/2008 04:32PM
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i think wayne is a very accomplished hip-hopper. first, sure some of his songs are a bit juvenile and are undoubtedly there to sell the record. however, when you listen...i mean really listen, you'll find wayne to be very creative lyrically even if it sometimes means dipping into the 'pun pool' a little to often. lupe fiasco's the cool is actually a better album though.

pushedbyboredom1 Mon 8/18/2008 07:54AM
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Well, for anyone who does like Lil Wayne or would like to get some actual good rap, dont buy his studio albums. This cd is pretty bad. However, he does have cds he puts out for free in between his big selling CDS, called "The Drought." I have "The Drought 3" and I gotta say it is pretty damn good. I think there are 4 or 5 of them. The Carter 2 had some cool songs, and i suggest anyone who likes good music to download "Shooter." featuring Robin Thicke. Anyways, this CD has one or two good songs tops.

Kindskatz Tue 8/26/2008 11:26AM
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Weezy flows sick.

But this album is WEAK.

Go get the Carter II instead.

Or either of the Dedication mixtapes, or Da Drought 3.

Very creative word play and flow.