Hip Hop DX- Lil Wayne is arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time, a multi-platinum megastar with numerous classic albums (and mixtapes), the respect of his peers and a trail of influence that can be felt on a whole generation of MCs.
But rewind to 2004 and a then-21-year-old Dwayne Carter was still vying to solidify himself as a solo star. His group, the Hot Boys, had disbanded following Juvenile, B.G. and Turk’s departure from Cash Money Records, while Lights Out and 500 Degreez struggled to eclipse his 1999 platinum debut Tha Block is Hot.
All that changed when he dropped Tha Carter that summer, though.
While celebrating the album’s 18th anniversary on Wednesday (June 29), Lil Wayne reflected on his mindset leading up to its release and admitted he was uncertain about the impact the project might make. (Let’s not forget, he scrapped an earlier version after falling out with his Sqad Up crew and the tepid reception to the lead single “Get Something.”) Deep down, though, Weezy remained confident in his craft.
Wayne's 4th studio album, "Tha Carter", marked the turning point in his career where he went from teenager with the squeaky voice and began turning the corner into becoming "the greatest rapper alive".
(It came on the heels of Jay-Z's "retirement" with The Black Album, and Wayne declaried himself the “best rapper alive, since the best rapper retired,” on “Bring It Back.”)
His voice had evolved into a more refined and self-assured delivery across the mostly Mannie Fresh-produced project, with improved wordplay and punchlines to boot. “Go DJ” became his first top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hit
while “BM J.R.” remains one of his finest lyrical performances.
Of course, Tha Carter also kickstarted Lil Wayne’s flagship series, peaking with 2008’s hotly-anticipated Tha Carter III, which sold over one million copies in its first week while earning Wayne his first No. 1 album. The series is still going strong almost two decades later; Tha Carter V arrived in 2018 while a sixth installment is currently in the works.
We were actually just discussing Wayne, and the tagline "greatest rapper alive" with one of the greatest rappers alive, Ice Cube, last week on our podcast "On The Guest List"
Cube called Wayne the greatest of all time. High praise coming from him.
Can't believe this album turned 18 today. Time is fucking FLYING by.