Let’s Face It, The Carter 3 Is Just “Ok”
I’ve been kind of avoiding writing about The Carter 3, mainly because I didn’t want to add to what is already becoming a Lil Wayne lovefest over here at XXLmag.com. But c’mon, this album is decent at best. If it was an album by some half-assed rapper like INSERT 99% OF CURRENT HIP-HOP ARTISTS NAMES HERE then this thing would be hailed as the greatest thing since the last greatest thing (up for debate what exactly that is). Instead, it’s just a hodge podge of disconnected songs that really have no relation to one another. And while I don’t think the songs are bad per se, they’re actually all pretty good, I think they could be a lot better if there was some sort of coherent sound or theme to the album.
I posted the rundown of the producers/engineers behind The Carter 3 the other day, and now there’s the feature with Fabian Marasciullo talking about the whole process of working with Wayne. And what I take away from both articles is that Wayne was all over the place with the recording of the project. He was here, he was there. This one was one it, this one wasn’t. They had to clear this, clear that, master this, master that. Sounds hectic, which for anyone who’s been involved with this sort of thing, they know it is.
It’s also the reason why the end product, the album, suffers. And if you want to signal a final blow to the album format as a means of delivering one complete idea, the Carter 3 is it. It’s too all over the place. By themselves, all the beats on the album are pretty fucking hot. But I’m trying to find the synergy between a song like “La La” and “Nothin On Me,” and in reality, there is none. I can’t help but feel like like Wayne could have benefited from just getting in the studio with one or two incredible producers- say a Dr. Dre, Kanye West, or even Mannie Fresh- guys who are capable of producing a hot street record just as quickly as they can produce a great club record, and hashing out a sonic idea that sort of gels in a cohesive way. Like how Graduation sounds like a true LP (long player). Something you can just turn on and leave on from beginning to end.
I know this album is going to sell a lot of copies, and honestly that’s sort of a gift and a curse. It’s a gift because it offers a glimmer of hope that hip-hop can still be profitable, and so people involved with hip-hop can continue making money, keep their jobs, and keep the whole thing going. At the same time it’s a curse because you’ve got a million people buying the record, and at least half of them are going to kick themselves for not just downloading the four or five truly great songs on the album.
Me personally, I was disappointed with the album. Lyrically Wayne is a monster, and I’m glad people are supporting a guy who is dedicated to his craft, who’s sole purpose is to keep impressing the listeners. The last artist I can think of who really rocked like that from a lyrical standpoint is Eminem, before him it was Big Pun. But production-wise, and it’s no fault of anyone who contributed to the album because this is just how the whole game works right now, it left a lot to be desired from the standpoint of listening to it as one complete album. Track by track, it’s not so bad.