Today in Hip Hop History: August 29, 2011
Young Money/Cash Money Records phenom Lil Wayne released his highly anticipated 9th studio album Tha Carter IV in 2011 after 3 whole years of recording the album. The album was executively produced by Wayne himself, in addition to Cortez Bryant, Ronald “Slim” Williams and Birdman. The album also contained production efforts from Willy Will, MegaMan, Mr. Bandladesh, T-Minus, Young Fyre, and Polow Da Don, among several others. Tha Carter IV features appearances from Cory Gunz, Drake, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Tech N9NE, John Legend, Jadakiss, Bun B, Nas, Shyne and Busta Rhymes. Talk about an All-Star lineup.
Recording of Tha Carter IV began soon after the release of its predecessor, Tha Carter III, but Wayne decided to drag out the recording process in an effort of producing a more quality release. In addition, Wayne’s prison sentence at Rikers Island prison for illegal possession of a weapon further delayed the process. Thus, after his release, he threw everything out and started from scratch.
Tha Carter IV moved over 964,000 copies in its first week of release, and became Wayne’s second effort to top the US Billboard 200 in its first week. The album boasted over 300,000 downloads in its first four days online, which broke an iTunes record previously set by Jay-Z x Kanye West’s Watch the Throne in 2011. Additionally, it became RIAA Certified Triple Platinum in 2012 and continues to sell copies to this day.
Despite such commercial success, critical responses to the album were mixed; many felt that it disappointed with respect to the legendary Carter series he has produced over the years. As a stand alone album, Tha Carter IV is without a doubt a great hip hop album. But, within the context of one of the greatest rappers of the generation at the time, in addition to another project in one of the greatest hip hop album series of all time, Tha Carter IV remains arguably average. Regardless, it goes down in Wayne’s discography as another solid release in an already stacked hip hop career.