Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne

Tha Carter III is beyond sprawling, but its lack of discipline is also its point. It's a pop showcase for Dwayne Carter, the very peculiar cough syrup-swilling New Orleans rapper who swears he improvises all of his rhymes. Whether he really does is anybody's guess, but amid all the Auto-Tuned vocals and effects — no rapper enjoys hearing his own voice distorted more — are shrewd commercial choices (the No. 1 hit "Lollipop," the Jay-Z duet "Mr. Carter") and extended periods of verse that take rap back to its essence: talking. On "DontGetIt," over a sample of Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," Wayne tells a 10-minute life story that meanders into an indictment of drug laws and an out-of-nowhere slam of Al Sharpton. The words are smart, but the delivery — just behind the beat, in a voice that sounds like Miles Davis lecturing on Robitussin — is hypnotic.

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