Lil Wayne The Carter II

Lil Wayne has finally established himself as his own artist, independent of his Cash Money Records and bling-bling foundation, and even of his "Dirty South” rap peers who seem to quickly come and go. Many might not realise that The Carter II is Lil Wayne’s fifth album. Each of his albums have had some hits on them that might also have seemed to quickly come and go, but those albums have developed the swagger and confidence that Lil Wayne flaunts on The Carter II. The unexpected outweighs the expected on this album. Lil Weezy certainly gives what you’d expect on songs like "Money on My Mind,” the smoothed-out "Hustler Musik” and "Get Over.” In his signature raspy light baritone he raps about his relentless hustle, which stems from his upbringing in New Orleans, his experience with gunplay, being a self-made millionaire, and loved ones who’ve passed away. The unexpected element on this album is how much Lil Wayne has to say. Most of the beats on this album are sample heavy, Blueprint-era Jay-Z sounding, à la Just Blaze and Kanye. They’re about that good too. Twenty-two songs deep, light on skits, light on guests and almost completely devoid of the Cash Money Records sound, this is Lil Wayne’s best album by far, with production that is a multidimensional platform for his personal and tough narrative. After digesting all of this music from a rapper who began his career at 13 years old, its clear how much his career and his development mean to him. (Sound in Color)