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.

  • og bobby j

    perfect breakdown…i co sign heavy.

    C3 is ok…but it is missing a real powerful track like, for me, hustler musik was. But, it will get some spins. Nothing too great.

  • MSG Fiend

    I was with you to the point where you tried to compare Lil Wayne’s rhyme skills to Big Pun and Eminem’s. I dig Wayne’s passion and energy on the track but bar for bar he ain’t got it like that. Maybe the couple million people who get the Carter III will realize that and the hype will die down until he is appreciated for what he is, an OK rapper. But I guess compared to a lot of what gets radio play nowadays (artists like Soulja Boy and Shawty Lo and Jim Jones) he could be considered comparatively great.

  • P-Matik

    “Lyrically Wayne is a monster…”

    I still don’t understand how y’all think that. Overall, son is average at best and I’ve heard him say some unbelievably wack sh*t at times.

    I cosign this post though. Having a different producer on each track screws with album chemistry. Need to take it back to one or two producers, at least then they can catch the artist’s mood and energy.

    • DevilintheFlesh

      I co-sign the your view of his lyrics. There are so many tracks on this album that could have been done better by rappers such as (lupe, beanie, wale, game, etc. etc.)

      I actually like the differentiation of the production. It keeps the album sounding fresh. I just dont think wayne’s lyrics are up to par. He is a beast but he didnt show & prove in my opinion.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com the chancellor

    Jigga tore his ass up on that Mr. Carter track.

    Kanye stole the show on the Lollipop remix.

    This is who’s great right now?

    Wale (pronounced WAH-lay) The Mixtape About Nothing > Tha Carter 3

    • Penelope Rodriguez

      Oops.

      I’ve been pronouncing it “wail.”

      I lost.

      • Chaka

        @Penelope Rodriguez,
        Its not your fault.Its just where you at.We over here in Africa know the name Wale,as the chancellor pointed out,is pronounced WAH-lay.Its an Afican name[to be precise a Yoruba name].The rapper is using the name in its short form.In full the name could be either Adewale or Oluwale.The people who bear such names in Africa are mostly Nigerians.It will be no suprise to me,if in the future it is revealed that the rapper Wale is a Yoruba man from Nigeria[the country popularly know as the gaint of Africa].Peace an Hip Hop head in Africa wrote this.

  • Grenade

    I agree with your viewpoints on The Carter 3. Its a pretty good CD with Wayne doing his thing, but its not coherent (beat-wise). He shoulda slelcted less producers and made it more thematic, a perfect example is Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool album. I love Lil Wayne’s music, but this album didn’t live up to The Carter 1 and 2…maybe it will grow on me as I listen to it more and more…

  • http://www.seriousascrack.info/killakhalil the future

    Ok, I never been a hater so I won’t start now. C’mon though….Wayne a “lyrical beast”. Lets be serious all the major coasts have “serious lyricsts”, hit makers and peoples favorites. Lil Wayne is just a “peoples favorite”.
    Wayne is good on many levels, buut lyrically there are soooooo many cats he can’t touch.

    Pharohe Monch, Elzhi, Eminem, Lupe, Common, Phonte, Blu, Nas, Jay-z, Kanye, Talib, and a gang of other cats just to name some.

    I guess thats why when cats swear by him as the “greatest rapper alive”….I’m like did all them cats on my list die or something.

    Are Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane just irrelevent now….or has “Pop” music replaced what used to be “hip-hop”?

    Peace

  • jcityhustla617

    diz album would have been a classic if all dem songs didnt leak cuz trouble im me love me or hate me dr carter etc etc would have been on da same album it would have had a very lyrical n dark production undertone so whoeva leaked all dem songs fucked up a would be classic the carter 3 as it stands now is a shitty album compared 2 the block is hot n carter 2 but fuck it you kant take it back ill just wait for dat nas cuz he da nigga wit da most classic albums in his catalog in my opinion

  • G Off

    I read somewhere Baby saying that he and Slim picked which tracks would be on the album for Wayne. Now this could be bullshit, but it it is true, there in lies your problem. The one girl track, one NY track, one club track, one street track, etc. is why albums suck as cohesive pieces of art. This is why you have to give Kanye his respect- he actually cares about these things.

  • Nina

    Waynes constantly recording music so what u might think is “all over the place” is just Wayne making sure he doesn’t get bored or bore his audience. Thats why he works with so many different producers. He’ll jump on any track and just do Wayne.

    Everytime a track leaked it was no longer a track that was making it on the Carter 3. Considering most of his tracks made it from the engineers he worked with right onto the next Empire mixtape, alot of amazing tracks were left off C3 because he knew the majority of his fans already were listening to it so why put it on the cd when he has other tacks or can just record another track and another and another. Personally I respect him for that.

    Wayne released enough tracks in the last yr to put together 2 great albums in the “album format” u and others might desire and I think if he did do it in that format then most fans and Wayne haters alike would be able to call it a good cd.

    Classic? Probably not but who cares. Let time tell it.

  • Nina

    I’m Me never made the Carter 3 and anyone I know who hears that joint LOVES it. Even old heads I know who can’t stand Wayne. I was shocked it didn’t made the album.

    “albums suck as cohesive pieces of art”
    True but if Kanye ever executive produces a Wayne album..forget about it!

    • Burnout

      Best recent Lil Wayne songs (my opinion)

      Hustler Musik
      Receipt
      Shooter (feat. Robin Thicke)
      I Feel Like Dyin’
      Did It Before
      World Of Fantasy (feat. Question)
      Zoo (feat. Mack Maine)
      I’m Me
      Lisa Marie
      Outstanding
      Shoot Me Down

      And this is coming from a motherfucker who’s favorite hip hop song is “Subway Theme” by Grand Wizard Theodore off the “Wildstyle” soundtrack.

    • Benny

      Your right Nina, very well said!

    • from Finland

      i bought the deluxe edition (i dont know if they even published in usa) . BUT its including IM ME and thats one fucking great track!

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    Great post! My sentiments exactly. And yeah, this site has totally become a Wayne lovefest.

    • Burnout

      So instead, how about we focus on a wider variety of artists here. Especially ones who aren’t so fucking egocentric and self-absorbed. MF Doom, anyone?

      • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

        yeah doom isnt self-absorbed at all. he only schedules concerts and has other people show up an d lip-synch for him.

  • Shawty J

    I thing Gooch summed this up perfectly. While I can understand Wayne’s interest in working with multiple producers, an album needs a certain direction, and Weezy basically gave us a mixtape with new beats, and a couple of great records (Mr. Carter, Dr. Carter, Tie My Hands, etc.).
    As we’ve seen from the interviews, other people are bringing Weezy concepts, and Weezy just knocks out. If he has a central producer, even if that producer didn’t produce the entire album, he could’ve had direction and would’ve delivered a good album.

  • honestly

    the cd is decent. i def wouldn’t call it a classic because of the lack of substance! he could of really done sumthin great wit this but he dropped da ball..the production was pretty good but he didn’t say much. the whole album was filled with hot punchlines and tight beats..anyone over 20 will probably get sick of dis album after a few weeks!

  • gooch

    Burnout… you don’t think MF Doom is egocentric and self-absorbed? Or were you being sarcastic? That guy is a fucking diva too

  • Ali

    no sorry I disagree u ain’t keepin’ it real enough…ur criticizing but still part of the “lovefest” u speak of

    Tha Carter III wasn’t ok….it sucked balls & itr was garbage….period

  • Drew

    Carter 3 Classic

  • JDizzel3000

    “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,”

    After that last line theirs Noo need to read the rest of what you wrote homey…..

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    I would assume that most of the people with less than stellar reviews of C3 are not from the south. So I can understand your confusion.

    But Wayne is a personality. An animated voice, with very abstract lyrics that sometimes seem disjointed. There’s not another one out there like him – at least not yet. I’m sure we’ll hear many new Weezy babies.

    I mean, come on. Gold in a day and Platinum in a week are not mistake numbers or just stan fever. The fact that the album leaked 2 weeks before the release date shows you that not only did people like what they heard early, but they still went and bought the authentic version.

    Whether people really like the album or think it’s overrated, the fact is that Wayne just changed the game.

    • Anti_Hate

      Wayne changed the game by selling a bunch of records?? It’s possible. But I’m from the South. Been living in ATL for 15 years and I think Wayne is a little bit above ass ie a litle better than Jeezy.

    • og

      Co-Sign

  • j

    I have to say that the album was not great at all. The media is the biggest promoter in the world. If they say alot you will believe it. I mean he really start writing and leave the drugs alone. He has titles to songs and some of the title don’t make sense to the lyrics. He is trying to make the best punchline verses. If you take the punchlines and add some visual to the song. He don’t paint pictures with words. For example biggie “Who the fuck is this paging me at 5:46 in the morning crack dawn, now I yarning”. You can picture this fat nigga waking up. Pac,Face,Jay,Big L/ these niggas made stories to there rhymes. He just putting words together just to match. 99% of this niggaz in the game is on that. No one is original, Look everyone is T-pain,yeah hr took too, but he brought it back now everyone is doing it. Like now everyone wants to be Wayne, I mean you got dudes sounding like him. Let get back to making hiphop.

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    Preshate it.

  • Live at the BBQ guy

    If you think “Weezy” is a nice MC,I cant help you.He’s a MC with a young following,BUt if we talk about youth nowadays your talikng about possible two generations of hiphop that have been “dumbdowned” by every system….even music.Weezy is what fill’s that “dumbedowned” HipHop following.Only in this space and time can you be stupid to compare Nas,Pac,Biggie,Jay,Pun to Weezy? Now seriously…take any one of those albums and compare it lyrically and structure wise to any mixtape bullshit and Album Weezy has put out.The Jury is out,youngins are dumb and they gotta have dumb music to listen to

  • futur

    look to all u haters out ther lil wayne is the best rapper alive other than 2 pac who is dead lil wayne has no competition in the rap game the carter 3 is to hot for any body else to even touch lil wayne is the king of rap point BLANK

    SO U HATERS OUT THERE JUST NEED TO FALL BACK
    AND LET WEEEZY STAY ON HIS GRIND

    Weezy f Baby but pleze say the baby

  • futur

    ok look some of the songs are not his best work but others like mr carter and got money are the best songs ever made on plant earth and i personal love this album i bought 3 to support weezy and if yall haters dont like it den yall just need to fall back cause weezy is hot right now and dosent need all u haters weighing him down

  • *ANDREA*

    I H0NESTLY D0NT THiNK LiL WAYNE PUT EFF0RT 0N CARTER 3. ITS MiSSING A TRACK THAT MAKES ME BE LiKE W0AH. HE PUSHED IT BACK S0 MUCH THAT PPL WAS ANTICIPATIN IT AND HE JUST DID 0K CUZ HE KNEW IT WAS G0NNA SELL REGARDLESS. WELL THATS MY PERS0NAL 0PiNi0N JUST HAD T0 PUT iT 0UT THERE.

  • http://www.finaldraftdesign.com VR

    Please school em!!!!!

    How come if we dont like something, its considered hating? I dont get it.

    Be real for a second, the Kid is WAY OVERRATED!!!
    Gillie and Pusha should have put him away when they had that chance!!!!

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    Neither of them have any type of charisma that goes beyond “drug dealer.” And drug dealers don’t buy albums, so there went Pusha-T and Gillie’s fanbase.

    This shit is sad. What the fuck were cats expecting? A cameo from Jesus?

  • Nina

    Live at the BBQ guy says:
    “If you think “Weezy” is a nice MC,I cant help you.He’s a MC with a young following”

    And if you think hes not nice I cant help u. Live at the BBQ? WOW, really? I’m not young but I’m also not living in the past and the days of Main Source. I loved it then and still love it but if Wayne spit the same verse Nas spit on BBQ you’d miss it or not be open minded enough to enjoy it or appreciate it or both.

    Listen to one Wayne track ..maybe Tha Mobb would be a good one for u to start with if your more about lyrically content than style and tell me if Nas spit that shit u wouldn’t eat it up. Dont even listen to it just read the lyrics and pretend its your favorite rapper spittin em.

    Smh at old heads thinkin only the youth are feelin Wayne. I cant help u and your missing out no one else.

  • http://www.finaldraftdesign.com VR

    See, Carter 2 was when he was nice. Mobb, Hustler Musik, etc. was good music. He was rappin then!

    With that said, I dont see growth as an MC. WHAT THE HELL IS HE SAYIN half the time!?

    He got lazy and started feelin himself too much!

    Say no to drugs! :)

  • $ykotic

    Good read. Co-sign the cohesive topic. Still a decent album.

    LIL WAYNE V BLACK THOUGHT

    The self proclaimed “King of Rap” against the most underrated emcee of our time.

    Who wins?

  • northern california bay area

    i juss finished listenin to it

    some of tha beats were coo,

    but i have no plans on listenin to it again, unlike the carter I and II, where i listened to em a a couple times…

  • Jerod

    You didn’t feel any synergy listening to the CD straight through? Wow.

  • EffYou

    Maybe wayne’s album might’ve sounded a lil better if he didn’t recyle some verses from his mixtapes…some of his verses don’t even sound right on the beats

  • Maddolies

    Damn I Just Copped Tha Carter III Tday. The Shits bangin. Dat Track Wit Fab & Juelz Is Hot! And Even The Bonus Disc Is Bangin!

  • Cuban Link

    carter III sucks fuck that porchmonkey

  • MalakiDaGod

    YO THA CARTER 3 WAS DISSAPOINTING AND HOW DIDDY SAY THATS A CLASSIC AFTER BEING THE MAN WHO BRUNG BIGGIE OUT?

    THE GAMES CHANGED…IN A BAD WAY THE 1ST SONG ON THE ALBUM 3PEAT HAD ME CONFUSED WHY IS HE TALKING ABOUT SHOOTING MOTHERS & KIDNAPPING BABYS?
    THATS NOT FACT AT ALL I WANTED SOME REAL SHIT LIKE IF “REAL RAP” AKA “CRY OUT” WAS ON THE ALBUM IT WOULD OF BEEN SOME REALITY TO IT THE SONG “SOMETHING FORGOT” WITH THE SHOT TO THE HEART BEAT IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT WOULD OF BEEN HOT TOO. THERES A LOT OF LEAKS THAT WERE GOOD.
    THA C3 GETS LIKE 2 1/2-3 OUT A 5
    IT WAS OK BUT THAN AGAIN THE ALBUMS WACK AS FUCK TOO.
    THE BEATS WERE GOOD THO & “SHOOT ME DOWN” IS THE ONLY STAND OUT RECORD LYRICALLY I LOVED IT TALKING BOUT HES GONNA SIT HIS HIS THROWN WHILE HE STARES AT THE WORLD I COULD VISUALIZE THAT BUT THATS THE ONLY TRACK LOL…REAL TALK.
    JAY-Z KILLED WAYNE IN MR CARTER EXCEPT I WISH THEY WOULD TOOK IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL LYRICALLY JAY-Z WENT IN BUT MILD. IF THEY JUST WENT IN IT COULD OF BEEN A MORE REMEMBERED TRACK LIKE BIGGIE & JAY-Z “BROOKLYN’S FINEST” TRACK.
    THEM DAYS ARE OVER 96′ WAS A GOOD YEAR IN HIP HOP WELL NOT EVENT WISE BUT ALBUM WISE & LYRICALLY.
    WEEZY WILL BE KNOWN AS A GOOD RAPPER BUT M.C. IDK I LOVE KANYE & LUPE FOR CREATING SOME OF THE BEST ALBUMS I’VE HEARD IN A WHILE WHY LUPE DONT EVER GET A DISCUSSION LIKE THIS EVER? LUPE IS BETTER AND HE DESERVES TO BE TALKED ABOUT KANYE WEST’S GRADUATION WAS INSANE WAYNE WONT EVER CARVE THAT IMPACT (WELL ON ME) LYRICALLY BUT PROPS FOR SELLING ONE MILLION SOLD HIS FIRTST WEEK BUT PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO 75% OF THE ALBUM AND QUESTION WTF IS HE TALKING ABOUT REAL TALK.

  • Ranga superman Killa

    I do wish people would B easy wit it!
    Tha album a classic!!!!
    Don’t let ya hate get in the way B eassyy!!!

  • Anthony

    Correct Lil Wayne is talented and there are hot tracks but thw album could have been better

  • cjae

    ok now first off i mispell words when i type frequently cuz i get passionate about the words that i use during my explainationsbut lil wayne i cant say hes the ebst believe me i want to hes great hes one of the greats he needs to work on his perfection i do appreciate how he is diverse and hes very multi culural when it coems to music and i love every and i mean EVERY form of rapa nd music period and my dreams in life are becoming a rapper and all that good stuff and i rap to my friends and shit but enough about that lil wayne is a lyrical monster you can his deny it but his words the way he uses them are incredible when you hate on someone or judge doubt etc you should nto sjut analyze the flaws but the good if you register the good and throw away the bad and let the artist fix his flaws then you can let the music get better now im not sayign that you shouldnt speak your mind cuz you can ahve your opinion even though im sure thers very little who think this but you can come here saying soulja boy is the greatest rapper alive and say lil wayne needs to eat a dick that doesnt mean its true or its gonna happen and its bullshit that people hate jsut cuz they cant accomplish what the other man can and when failure happens then envy arises and thats a shame but while your hating that person is making money so istead of sitting on your ass or hating why dont you go and make some money why dont you go and rap or make other envious of you cause everyboyd has a star in them or a hidden talent its you who ahs to let the star shine and let the whole world see your hidden talent and use your potential and stop killing cuz all these gangster rappers are getting shot they aint killing and if you kill someone your not a man your a coward your a coward for being afraid to be a real man and settle the so called ”beef” die and real men are mature mature enough to handle there problems without havign to shoot niggas up on the block and stop hating on niggas jsut to jsutify the fatc that your to lazy + broke to get your ass up and go cop the album if thats why you ”hate” support the rappers the more support you give them mayeb theywont jsut be an ok or unbelievably whack shit stop hating you aint gon do shit you aint hard you just want ppl tot hink your street real men dont do that theyre gentlemen the ones who are actually gettin money are the ones who you hate thats whack thats the only gay shit i know about

  • REAl TALK 08

    The Carter 3= Lil’ Wayne goes Pop!..not a classic..just the album sales he should’ve got long ago…

  • http://www.xxlamg.com Decoy

    Tha carter 3 is like a Greatest hits record. The fact that every song has no relation to one another shows you how versatile Lil Wayne is. he has something for everyone. I dont see why you would say its just OK? Tha carter 3 is WAY better than Nas Illmatic..yes i said it BITCH!! STOP HATIN

    • Creala

      Decoy says The Carter 3 is way better than Nas Illmatic. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      is this nigga talking about. I think you should shoot your self for sayin some dumb shit like that. IMMEDIATELY!

  • reality5000

    i think what this album did is provide is a new avenue for rappers cos its not soft but also easy to listen too, wayne i feel for cos of the leak which took a few more hot tracks off the album for example (i feel like dying) which is a personal favorite of mine,it wont take as long to see another wayne album cos to me this was his first industry release thanks to hype yes bt also his development as an artist,he is 25 yrs old he’s got 15 yrs on hova and that is the reason a wont be persuaded of any other opinion exept he’s a work in progress and unlike big stars like eminem and 50 cent he has experimented at the early stages of his career rather than his prime years which for him have just begun long live wayne and i dont like him ha ha

  • Jesse

    Carter III was the smartest cd ever sold. That’s all it was meant to be. He already proved the nasty with Dedication/Carter II/Drought 3/Suffix/Guest verses. So everybody get off the real bandwagon which is the sources mic score of Illmatic. Shit like that pisses me off becuase if ya’ll really listen to rap you would understand that one great album is shit to wayne’s resume and nas verses can’t touch drought 3. If jay-z the god of hip-hop and he gave the game to wayne then all ya need to recognize who the fuckin boss is now. Young Money.

    • malakidagod

      WHAT DID “JESSE” JUST FUCKIN SAY???
      NAS’S ILLMATIC CANT FUCK WITH WAYNE VERSES OFF THE “DROUGHT 3″ OMG WTF IS THAT??
      KILL YOURSELF RIGHT NOW!!!!!! JUMP OFF A ROOF OR SHOOT UR FUCKIN HEAD OFF!!!! THATS THE MOST IGNORANT STATEMENT EVER MADE SINCE JESSE JACKSON SAID HE WANTS TO CUT BARACKS NUTS OFF & SOULJA BOY GIVIN PROPS TO SLAVE MASTERS!!!
      ILLMATIC IS A FUCKING ELITE LYRICAL ALBUM DONT EVER USE NAS NAME IN VEIN EVER AGAIN

  • Jesse

    Decoy speaks smarter words thn all ya acting like it’s cool to like Nas

  • LUKE

    3 million albums later…wayne laughin at ya’ll hatin ass niggas

  • TyNice

    What?!?!? Eminem and Pun? Negro please, Wayne is garbage. If he came out the way his music sounds now he wouldn’t be shit. C1 and C2, good albums but C3 is trash. He used to be a beast. LISTEN TO EMINEM’S “NO APOLOGIES” and say Wayne is on his level.