Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lil Wayne Lives Up to the Hype

After a few listens, I'm ready to say that Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne's newest album, is better than my wildest expectations, and is a huge step forward for him as an artist, miles beyond any album he's released before. He's done exactly what I'd always hoped, but didn't dare to believe he'd do: he's largely stepped out of the gangster, crack dealer posturing that has always made it impossible for me to make it through an entire Lil Wayne album in one sitting, and has created a complicated, inventive, nuanced pop masterpiece.

For longtime fans of his misogyny and mindnumbing violence, he throws a few bones here and there, and there is of course the incredibly irritating "Lollipop" song, but most of the album goes places Wayne has never gone before: a vulnerable and heartfelt ode to his hometown of New Orleans, a couple of shockingly inoffensive and entertaining love songs, inventive concept songs about such things as being a hip-hop doctor, a space alien, and lusting after a lady cop, all backed by awesome, r&b based beats from Kanye West and others.

Wayne is "Lil" for a reason: he's been recording since he was a kid, and is still a very young artist, only 25 years old now. I hope that this album bodes well for a long, fascinating career from an artist who looks as though he's no longer content to throw away his immense talents on the same tired nihilistic themes gangsta rappers have been beating into the ground for years.


Eric said...

For serious, I just came to this page with the conscious thought, "I wonder if Q has weighed in on the new Lil Wayne album." It's been getting good reviews and is set to be the biggest selling album in however long, so I was curious if it lived up to the hype. Interesting to hear that it actually might!

drischord said...

I was totally ready to write off your endorsement until a certain Pitchfork writer with a Google Alert on his name (let's call him R.D.) chimed in with his own praise. This validated Lil' Wayne as officially great.

Quinapalus said...

Well, a broken clock is right twice a day. I don't think Wayne approaches the kind of artistic insight of groups the The Roots--Rising Down may be my favorite album of the year so far--but as a pop musician, he's crafted something pretty irresistible here.