Lil Wayne puts on his graduation cap and marches into stores with Tha Carter IV, the follow-up to 2008’s multi-platinum Tha Carter III. The Young Money captain unleashes his long-awaited ninth album with help from Drake, Rick Ross, André 3000, John Legend, Nas, and more, who fill out the 15 tracks on the standard edition. After years of anticipation and several delays, did C4 live up to the hype or fall short? The reviews are in.
USA Today: But now that it’s finally here, Weezy has packed the lineup with more than enough repeat-worthy tunes to make it worth the delays. … He comes armed with a steady stream of punch lines (“When it Waynes, it pours”) over banging beats. 3.5/4
Rolling Stone: Weezy doesn’t have the same speed-demon intensity he had five years ago—and he’s just as casual and sloppy about his approach to official album releases. … The best parts of Tha Carter IV range from “President Carter,” an anti-war rant over a spooky harp loop, to the spaced-out Rick Ross duet “John,” where Wayne says, “If I die today, remember me like John Lennon.” 3.5/5
The Washington Post: Nothing else on Tha Carter IV comes within miles of [“6 Foot 7 Foot”]—and Wayne seems to know it. He already sounds fatigued on the second track, “Blunt Blowin’,” which mutates Aerosmith’s “Dream On” into a club-friendly shape.
The Boston Globe: Wayne makes no attempt to be inventive. “Megaman” sounds like “Ransom,” a three-year-old throwaway that was used more to introduce the world to Drake than anything else. Drake, by the way, offers up a ridiculous hook for “She Will,” but the song sounds like it was split at birth with T.I.’s “Poppin’ Bottles.”
Chicago Tribune: The years-in-the-making Tha Carter IV is designed to restore Lil Wayne’s reputation, but it falls short. At his best, Wayne was positively psychedelic in his wordplay, capable of creating entire alternative worlds out of a few surrealist metaphors. But he sounds slower, more methodical, less unhinged on Tha Carter IV. 2/4
SPIN: We won’t hold Tha Carter IV against Lil Wayne. He remains a compelling artist and a standard-bearer for a generation of endlessly productive rappers. But nothing lasts forever. Weezy is dead. Long live Weezy. 6/10
The Village Voice: Looking for the truly bizarre references and star-eating tendencies of Wayne’s best work? They’re absent on C4, replaced by an apparent interest in being America’s most proficient Blood (“Blunt Blowin'”) who is also an ace cunnilingus performer (“So Special”) and frequent sober strip club denizen (“She Will”).
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “Nightmares of the Bottom,” “She Will,” “So Special”