On June 1st, 2008, rapper Lil Wayne released his album, Tha Carter III [Cash Money], and proved that the third time’s the charm. Tha Carter I and Tha Carter II went platinum in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and Wayne Carter, AKA “Weezy,” has put some extra time into number three. Tha Carter III, a double-platinum album, sold more than one million copies in the first week, a feat not achieved by any artist in any genre since 50 Cent’s album, The Massacre, in 2005. Tha Carter III features Lil Wayne’s signature slurred speech and Southern-style swagger that fuel his popularity. Rapping since age eleven, the dread-locked New Orleans-native is known for the extensive time he puts in at the studio and his effort is beginning to pay off.
Working on his new album with some of the hottest producers in rap, Wayne was able to send a barrage of hits to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list. “Lollipop” was the first single released from Tha Carter III in March 2008 and its rotation on the radio hasn’t slowed since. According to Universal Music Group, as of August 2008, the “Lollipop” video had been viewed more than 10 million times on the Internet. Shortly after, Wayne’s basic-beat single, “A Milli,” hit the radio with its repetitive, almost annoying tune that’s saved by Wayne’s witty rhymes. Many say the song was written for Wayne’s early confidence in selling a million copies of his album. The music video for “A Milli,” merely a recording of Wayne getting ready for a music video shoot, took just four days to reach #1 on BET’s 106 & Park, making it the fastest song to ever reach #1 on the show. Weezy’s most recent single, “Got Money,” featuring T-Pain, is a high-energy song where the duo recreate the art throwing money in the air and “makin’ it rain.”
A song on the album that hasn’t had much exposure but deserves highlighting is “Phone Home.” This underdog track is an out-of-this-world experience as Wayne sends his rhymes from “Planet Weezy,” and proclaims that “we are not the same, I am a Martian.” The chanting chorus “Weezy, Phone Home,” a spin-off from the movie E.T., adds a dark tone to the song. The unique track has a pounding beat and features some of Wayne’s most creative rhymes, such as “hip-hop is my supermarket, shopping cart full of fake hip-hop artists.” “Phone Home” proves Weezy’s creativity and original style while avoiding the predictable sound of mainstream hip-hop.
Many didn’t see it coming, but Lil Wayne has exploded onto television, radio, and the Internet to a point where it’s hard to avoid him. In a 2007 MTV poll, Lil Wayne was voted “Hottest MC in the Game.” Though Wayne may not rap about the most substantial topics and there may be debates about whether he is in fact the “Best Rapper Alive,” it is undoubtedly true that Wayne Carter has reached a superstar status in the music industry. He is commanding attention from listeners and is in-demand by other artists. He has taken a lesson from the legends and re-invents himself by creating something new. Weezy claims, “They don’t make ‘em like me no more / matter-of-fact, they never made ‘em like me before.” It seems the one-of-a-kind Wayne has staked his claim in the game as he declares in “Phone Home,” there are “no brake lights on my career.” This may prove true as Wayne has allegedly already begun working on what may be an even more successful album - Tha Carter IV.