Album Review: Lil Wayne’s ‘Tha Carter V’

It’s impossible to separate Lil Wayne’s long-delayed “Tha Carter V” from the tortured story behind it: The seemingly endless legal battle with Birdman, his mentor and Cash Money’s label boss (a family feud which the rapper finally won in June); the five years of release dates missed and rescheduled; even the chart race with Kanye West’s “Yandhi” that popped up over the past few days. There have been plenty of sightings and sound-offs from Wayne since 2011’s “Carter IV”: collaboration albums with 2 Chainz (2016’s “ColleGrove”) and T-Pain (2017’s “T-Wayne”), promethazine-addled solo albums like “I Am Not a Human Being II” (2013) and Rich Gang’s self-titled debut (2013), and several mixtapes. But none of them had the lyrical bite, rhythmic rumble and sonic tautness of Wayne’s “Tha Carter” series.

With the unfulfilled promise of “V” looming over all of those releases, it has pretty much sucked being a hardcore Weezy fan since 2011. After all, Like Vin Diesel and “Fast & Furious,” “Tha Carter” franchise is where Wayne is truly home: Loose but tight, haughtily caustic and grimy but also comic, and cutting straight to the bone.

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