Rapper Lil Wayne's massively anticipated "Tha Carter IV" is a stylistic departure sure to leave fans divided.
The album starts on a shallow, stereotypical Wayne note. The first two lines of the CD are "Man, f--- them bitches. AND them hoes." The intro and the catchy but forgettable "Blunt Blowin" talk about the usual themes of money, weed and sex in simple and mildly clever rhyme schemes.
On "MegaMan," the album's third and most entertaining track, Wayne launches into the quick punchline-filled flows fans were expecting. "6 Foot 7 Foot" is more of the same - a bouncing, heavy-hitting fun beat with clever and catchy lyrics.
The album's next three tracks delve into more seriousness as Wayne gives fans a closer look into some of the deeper ponderings on his mind. The musings are most noticeable in "How to Hate," in which Wayne expresses disappointment in a woman who "used to always say f--- my n---as, and when I went to jail she f---ed my n---as."
A well-timed interlude delivered by the relentlessly hard-hitting Tech N9ne lets listeners know the album hasn't completely turned into soft songs. "John," frequently referred to as "If I Die Today," is the next track, and Rick Ross's grittiness underscores the unapologetic thuggishness that is still Wayne's best feature.
"Abortion" is another fun, quick-moving song full of bragging and bravado, and a nice transition between the roughness of "John" and the tenderness and caring in "So Special," which features John Legend on the chorus.
"How to Love," which was an atrociously clumsy single, is actually one of the best songs on "Carter IV" because of how well it works in its place on the album. The following track, "President Carter" creatively uses audio from Jimmy Carter's inauguration speech and builds up to the aggressive tone of "It's Good."
The outro track, which uses the same beat as the introduction and interlude, adds a nice closing touch to the album. The hauntingly introspective bonus track "Mirror," featuring Bruno Mars, is by far the album's best song, but the rest of the bonus tracks are average at best.
Although the singles on "Tha Carter IV" aren't as great as some of the hit songs from previous "Carter" albums, the less impressive songs on "Carter IV" are much better than the worst songs on Wayne's other albums. As a whole, "Tha Carter IV" is the most complete and well-rounded album Lil Wayne has created to date.