Lil Wayne Tha Carter III track-by-track review

The tracks have been trickling out as singles for months, but now it's finally here all in one piece, and

The Carter III

does not disappoint. As an album, it's a five-star stunna, the hip hop equivalent of

Sgt. Peppers

. But how do the tracks fare in head-to-head comparison? Here's my review:

Track 1: 3 Peat **** This is trademark, standard-issue Weezy in all his bizarre metaphor-spouting glory. "You can't get on my level / you would need a space shuttle or a ladder that's forever." From sex metaphor to deathbed conversion, Weezy is the New Orleans nightmare and he has just announced the next evolution of the Cash Money era. Memo to hangers-on looking to cash in: "No sittin' at the table if you ain't bringing nothin' to it."

Track 2: Mr. Carter ***** How can you go wrong with Weezy and Jay-Z on the same track? The two Carters trade verses on one of the best team-ups ever. Wayne's all over the map here--from Beetlejuice to Stevie Wonder--and at his froggy-voiced best when he explains that he's too hot for summer and too cold for winter, "I'm being hated by the seasons/so fuck y'all for hating for no reason."

Track 3: A Milli *** Boring and monotonous, this song seems to exist only as a vehicle for Lil Wayne to prove that he doesn't need a hook--he is the hook. While that may be true, a hook would help here, and this song sounds particularly weak in context with an album full of Lil Wayne at his best with good beats.

Track 4: Got Money ***** This is the single they held back for the album release. Two geniuses have a meeting of the vocoders, with T-Pain offering proof that he's still the Kenobi in this partnership. Weezy, however, also offers the benefit of tongue-twisting lyricship and the weirdest line that will ever get lodged in your head: "Young Wayne on them hos/AKA Mr. Make-it-rain-on-them-hos"

Track 5: Comfortable **** The sunny vocalizing disguises a surprisingly frank relationship anthem. This is probably as close as Wayne will ever get to Female Empowerment.

Track 6: Dr. Carter *** This song represents the inevitable convergence of Lil Wayne and Kool Keith, with Weezy trying on the clothes of Dr. Octogynocolegist. It's a clever little dittie, but we've seen this act before, and it's not gonna get stuck in anybody's head, what with the "chorus" being a series of skits.

Track 7: Phone Home ** Lil Wayne confesses, "We are not the same, I am a martian," which explains everything. One gets the feeling that Wayne's World is chemically-saturated.

Track 8: Tie My Hands **** This might be the best song anybody has ever written about the tragedy of New Orleans. Weezy spells out the government's failure in chapter and verse. "Take away the football team the basketball team/now all we got is me to represent New Orleans." He's certainly giving it his best effort on this track.

Track 9: Mrs. Officer **** Talk about fucking the police: Weezy lives out his bizarre Lady in Uniform fetish in this come-on with a sing-songy siren for a chorus. And you know what? Wayne makes it work.

Track 10: Let the Beat Build *** The biggest boast track on the album, this song does just what it says it will but nothing more. Best line: "I am legend and I am Will Smith."

Track 11: Shoot Me Down **** This dark banger is reminscent of "Help" and "I Feel Like Dying" with a chorus that has the soaring quality of U2 at its best. Weezy elevates to dizzying new tongue-twisting heights, displaying the dexterity of an acrobat. "My picture should be in the dictionary next to the definition of definition." I'm a believer.

Track 12: Lollipop ***** This none-too-subtle ode to oral sex (both giving and receiving) still feels like this year's "In Da Club" months after its release. "Shortie want a thug/bottles in the club." Whoever introduced Wayne to the vocoder deserves a Grammy or something. Wrapper/rapper is genius.

Track 13: Lala ** With so much talent on hand, you'd think this would be a guaranteed hit, but they're crippled with an annoying, Sesame Street beat which makes for a dull, boring cousin of the mixtape hit "La La La." David Banner can't muscle this one through; Busta is wasted.

Track 14: Playing With Fire **** Weezy meets Meatloaf in this James Bond-esque opera. They don't call him the Fireman for nothing: "You can't blame me if I set this stage on fire!" Warning to haters: Those tears are for real.

Track 15: You Ain't Got Nuthin' **** Juelz Santana and Fabolous do the heavy lifting on this shot across 50 Cent's bow. "C'mon Kermit, you better look before you leap." Ticking off the names of the Wayans brothers as a veiled threat is genius. Wayne delivers the best line of the album: "You don't want my problems/I be wildin' like Capital One/What is in your wallet?" Damn.

Track 16: Don'tGetIt ** Like golf is a good walk spoiled, this is a good song ruined by the attention-expanding qualities of weed. Weezy talks for 10 minutes about everything from Al Sharpton to Sex Offender Laws. Like a drunk driving home at night, Wayne occasionally veers close to the truth, but he's too bleary eyed to do anything but lunge at it. But maybe I misunderstood.

iTunes Bonus Tracks:

Track 17: Lollipop Remix ***** When you have Kanye West in the mix and a vocoder, you can't lose. Mr. West makes Doritos sound sexy. A totally new spin on a not-so-old favorite.

Track 18: Prostitute 2 *** Wayne dives into the hooker-with-a-vocoder-of-gold genre with this sensitive vocal workout. Wayne with a guitar is full of win. For free, I'll take it. Like Darth Vader's breathing at the end of Phantom Menace, Weezy waits till the end to toss a "G-Unot!" at Fiddy.

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