I don’t remember the first Lil Wayne song I heard. I’m pretty sure it was something off Tha Carter III. “A Milli” and “Lollipop” were on the airwaves. To 9-year-old me, putting two of the world’s biggest rappers — Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. and Shawn Carter — on the same song and calling it “Mr. Carter” was wizardry.
When Tha Carter IV dropped three years later, it was laced with mind-boggling metaphors, four-minute verses with no hooks and the makings of a 5-foot-5 giant. Wayne constantly said he was not from Earth, and I was prone to believe him.
Now, as a young adult who can fully comprehend and appreciate all the -isms of Lil Wayne, I have the pleasure of listening to Tha Carter V. And it’s clear that at 36, he’s still orbiting around us in his spaceship.
1. “I go Marvel movie on some marvelous shit/ In the spotlight too long should be darker than this/ And this ‘The Carter’ lil’ bitch” (“Dedicate”)
Get Stan Lee on the phone.
2. “Billion-dollar smile, I sell myself short if I grin” (“Dedicate”)
This one came quick, and I almost missed it. But I didn’t, and I thank myself.
3. “Yellow diamonds up close, catch a sun stroke” (“Uproar”)
Self-explanatory… and beautiful.
4. “‘Cause I facilitate a mil’ a day for like a million days/ At least the bills are paid, the children safe” (“Can’t Be Broken”)
Wayne’s mother, Jacida Carter, makes a few appearances on the album, making it clear on the emotional opener “I Love Dwayne” that he has always been a selfless family man.
5. “She say ‘What’s wrong?’ He say ‘Nothing, keep resting’/ She say ‘What’s missing?’ ‘How you know something missing?’/ He scratch his head, she say, ‘Get back in bed'” (“Mona Lisa”)
The fall of a tragic hero in a few lines, equipped with dialogue and stage direction. Shakespeare is shaking.
6. “‘Cause if we could buy time, every store would sell it/ If you want me to read your mind, need correct spelling/ I keep it real, n—-s better keep it copacetic” (“Open Letter”)
I had to look up the definition of “copacetic.” Only Lil Wayne lyrics demand this.
7. “My hand in the psychic’s hand, she see righteous plans/ I see business plans, then I lose my mind and my attention span” (“Problems”)
8. “Should I get off my high horse to get on my flying horses?” (“Problems”)
I’m assuming by flying horses, he means a car with strong horsepower.
9. “Check me out or just be quiet in the library n—-/ Or the flowers on your grave gon’ be dyin’ every winter” (“Dope N—-z”)
The only time you would really speak in a library is if you’re checking something out. Who else is making metaphors like Wayne?
10. “And they say ‘You don’t need to be with us, stay on the road, n—-‘/ That way I wouldn’t come to the end of the road with ’em” (“Dope N—-z”)
Maybe he’s alluding to a certain someone (*cough* Birdman) trying to block his blessings.
11. “And they just wait for the word, this shit like ‘Wheel of Fortune’/ Goddamn, these snitches nosy, goddamn, these snitches nosy/ N—- I’m a ass with that semi, call me semicolon” (“Hittas”)
I think it’d be best for you to just soak this one in. I don’t want to ruin it.
12. “I got shooters on pharmaceuticals, they armed and brutal/ Armed intruders, ’cause we don’t doodle, we draw conclusions” (“Hittas”)
Art Theory 101
13. “I’m speedin’ past in the newest, soft top like the Jewish” (“Took His Time”)
As in a yarmulke.
14. “If you don’t know I’m the answer, you should kill who you been askin'” (“Took His Time”)
Because clearly you’re asking the wrong person.
15. “96 Dom P, I have that with Corn Flakes/ And I never been intrigued by the patterns on snakes” (“Open Safe”)
The cheapest bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne I could find starts at $130, and the price increases from there.
16. “Bullets jumping off your ass like they shock absorbant/ Rock your bells, LL, n—-, locked and loaded” (“Used 2”)
One of LL Cool J’s first hits was “Rock the Bells.” Phenomenal.
And to round it out, on “Dope New Gospel,” Wayne says, “Thank God Weezy back/ Order is restored, all is right with the world/ Last time become lost time, no free time, ’til I bought time/ No tea time, no off time, no me time, on y’all time.” We should all be grateful Weezy’s back.