Oct 19, 2018

The Ransom Report: Carter V - @LilTunechi (words by Charles Ransom Polk)

Just when you thought it was safe to have an opinion on music-#RansomReviewSeason has returned (puffy combs voice) I'm back like I left my keys on the table. There were some albums that dropped since the last time you read my words on this page (looking at you Onika, Travis and Marshall), but I wasn't inspired to come back. Beanie Siegel said "Sometimes you gotta go away to make a comeback" and I paid attention when he said that (that first state property movie is and always will be a bonafide hood classic for the record). However, when I saw the (former) Cash Money creature drop the bombshell announcing the long-awaited Carter (C5) finale, I knew it was time to pick the pen back up.

Sheeeeesh, it's been 7 years since C4 (which was hot and spicy whack sauce), and since then he was at war with Mr. Handrub himself for the right to come out with this project. I won't waste time with giving you the recap (if you don't know the story google it and come out from under the rock you been living under). I'll just cut right to it. The burning question on everyone's mind is: Does he still have it? They say that all the great fighters have that one last great fight in them. In Wayne's case, does he have one last great album in him? Let's review. This might not be what you want to hear, but it's what you NEED to hear, whether you admit it yourself. The Doctor is back IN.

I Love You Dwayne: man, I can't even talk my s**t after that intro. That was raw rough and uncut. His mom plays a big part in this album, she serves like the narrator of his life, popping in at certain moments to explain key moments in his life. If his mothers words on that intro didn't hit you right square in the chest, you and the Tin man have something in common.

Don't Cry (feat Xxxtentacion): This is a gloomy a** track to put right after the intro. The overall vibe of this album is more about triumph, soul-baring redemption and retrospection. None of the s**t on this song. I like how he says "don't cry, stay tuned" at the end of the song. Guess he's setting up the rest of the album. Not a big Xxx fan, God bless the dead, but he wasn't good on this song. Wayne's voice sounds extra syrup-withdrawled on this s**t. Some of his lyrics are just as tired, but it's not a terrible song. I don't hate it. That much.

Dedicate: Hmmm, my man ate his spinach on this one huh? I think this is one of the older tracks recorded for this album. One of the interesting things listening to this s**t is figuring out which tracks were recorded when. This must be one of the old ones. You can tell by his voice and delivery-they're both WAY stronger than that first track. I'm loving this beat, s**t got that bounce. He should've made THIS the first song after the intro (I need to stop f*****g around and become an A&R). He ripped this beat to shreds. I like the Titty Boi vocal samples sprinkled in, and that Young Barry vocal snippet at the end was official. That's also from 09 which gives you a time period reminder. Damn I miss him in office. Seriously, I wish we could revise the law, get Mr. Spray tan man out of there and get Barack and Michelle back in there. For real. Anyway song is hot.

Uproar (Feat Swizz Beatz): Ahhh man, here we go. Bro, WHO THE F**K KEEPS KEEPING SWIZZ BEATZ IN THE MIX ?!? Seriously they need to be dealt with. Bro, my man drops a hot beat/song one in every 100 songs he's on, the other 99 are GOD AWFUL. This s**t is SUPER whack. He even had the nerve to recycle one of the last NY anthems to come out, Special Delivery. EVERYONE was Harlem-shaking when that song came out, myself included. That's one of my go-to dance moves every time I'm at a black wedding, and 85% of the time, it works every time. #facts. Back to this f**k of a song, skipped quick fast and in a hurry.

Let It Fly (featuring Travis Scott): Ok, so here's the long and short of it: I'm not a Travis Scott fan IN THE LEAST. He's whack. You can put those "oh you're just talking like an old head" peanut butter and jelly bulls**t back in your pockets. I like MULTIPLE "new school" artists, and I catch flack for it from "old heads" all the time. Travis Scott is just real annoying and unnecessary and useless to me. He literally has no talent. I ask you Travis Scott fan: what's so "awesome" about him??? Go ahead I'll wait. Maybe a tiny bit as a producer, but I'd rather take shots of s**t and battery acid than listen to him. That being said, the beat is ehhhhh but not great, and Wayne is back spitting like an AK with a 100 round drum. I heard that this song is from 2014/15 so maybe that explains it. Song is skippable but not super skippable.

Can't Be Broken: This s**t sounds like he stole it from Eminem or Joe Budden. I half expected to hear Marshall or Jumpoff Joey on this. If Em had been on here it would've been spazzatura (that's garbage in Italian you smart dumb motherf*****s); Unless it was MAD old, because let's be honest, Mashall hasn't made a hot album in well over a decade. I hate to say it but ever since he got clean and sober, his music prowess evaporated. It was one of the reasons he was transcendent at his peak. Eh oh well, applause on your sobriety. Just stop making music now anyway on this song we get the first glimpse of a truly rare animal: soul-bearing Wayne. He's going deep (Pause) and that's something he's done only a few times. This is a theme on this album, which we see more of as time goes on. I liked the song. He even went the whole song without punchlines about money, b*****s or his d**k (MAJOR pause). I enjoyed the song, not mad at it.

Dark Side of the Moon (feat Nicki Minaj): Cot damn, this s**t is FIRE. If Birdman was holding the album back, it wasn't because of this s**t. This song is real good. The beat is beyond hotness (*checks album credits*) Bloque I don't know who the f**k you are but you did your thing on this song my G. Salute. This joins the list of memorable Wayne deep cuts (How to Love, Tie My Hands). This s**t is actually a touching song. This song is older for sure, because there's no way his voice is still this smooth. Ain't enough auto tune in the world to bring that back. But let's get to the REAL revelation: I never thought I'd see the day I'd see this, but here goes: I LOVED Nicki Minaj on this track. Welp, I guess the end of the world really is coming soon: Trump got elected, the Eagles won the super bowl and I loved a Human silicone Thirst trap feature. Guess I better get going on my bucket list. Great song, I'm playing this song multiple times.

Mona Lisa (feat Kendrick Lamar): Most of the time big name hype collabos disappoint. Also most times when the old lion gets on the track with the young lion they get embarrassed. Kinda like when Mike thought he still had the juice and tried to D up a young AI. He didn't have the juice. AT ALL. But this is not one of those moments. This song is tough as f**k, and it wasn't just mindless verses trying to outdo each other, it's a concept song. You gotta listen to it multiple times to get the whole story. Now I'm not the biggest Kendrick fan (for MANY reasons), but that's not to say he's untalented. He's definitely talented, especially on concept songs. The fact that Wayne holding his own very ably is outstanding, AND I'm told this isn't one of the older songs. This is relatively new. Guess he smoked some of that mythical space Kush the Russian cosmonauts grew on the space station back in the day and got busy in the booth. Hot a** song.

What About Me (feat Sosaman): This sounds like vintage mixtape run Wayne. He used to love those druggy ballads (i.e I'm Single (to this day a FIRE track)). This is right up there with that. I'm liking this track as well, and is clearly an older track, but it's real hot. This is one of the tracks that reminds you that when he was in his prime, he really was the best. He could body any type of track. Now that I'm done giving out daps, let's get to the other side: who in the actual f**k is Sosaman?? Dude almost singlehandedly RUINS the song. He sounds like he's from Florida. The area in Florida where Rick Ross's goons come from. That's an advantage if you're trying to bust your gun, get money and do home invasions with gigantic dreads and gold trick daddy-type grills, but not if you're trying to be on an r&b fusion song. I put out an APB for the tan titan himself, Drake (where the f**k were you at on this album man?). This song would be been PERFECT for his charmin' singing. I did some research, turns out Aubrey was supposed to be on this song, but he didn't end up putting a verse on it. Guess he was too busy hiding the world from his kid. I also heard Post Malone aka the human white muppet/culture vulture on here. Hell, I'd have tolerated HIM on here over Sosaman. He almost f****d this whole s***t. Almost.

Open Letter: I'll be dammed if I'm not I'm liking this s**t too (who woulda thought that I'd be liking all these Weezy baby songs back to back in 2018). This song is hot too. It's a newer sounding song, but this s**t still bumps. He starts killing the beat midway through the second verse. If you really listen, he's talking to the listener the whole time. I better stop and make sure it's not 2018 and not 2008, because this album is starting to make me feel like he's got his swagger back. If it's 2008 again, I won't be rocking those extra-extra baggy Evisu jeans again with the AF1's. That needs to be left dead. Everyone with pictures of me during that period knows if you post any of them on social media you will promptly be receiving a cease and desist letter from my lawyer.

Famous (feat Reginae Carter): First thing you hear is Wayne's momma. Then the second thing you hear is Wayne's daughter. Singing, and it's NOT bad at all. Auto tuned sure but still good. She was perfect for singing on a hook about her fathers journey through super-stardom. This song sounds super personal, and Wayne is rapping like a man looking BACK on his career, NOT looking forward. Like a man who's truly seen it all and been through it all. Very heartfelt song, this is the most he's let us into his life on wax EVER, and it's great. Not mad at it at all. I'm not gonna play it mad times but a real quality song. I love how after all that beautiful stuff he says "kiss my muaf*****g a**" at the very end of the song.

Problems: AH S**t now as I was listening to all these ballads and all this soul-bearing s**t, I was thinking in the back in my mind where's the hot s**t at, and right on schedule he snuck one in there. Like a good fighter he lulled y'all to sleep with that other s**t then rocked you with an uppercut. As soon as the beat came on I knew what it was. As soon as I heard the little "Zaytoven" snippet right before the beat dropped, I was like hell yea he hit up ATL for a track. If Future Hendrix had been on here it would've been a wrap. Oh well. Future is probably kinda pissed at Zaytoven for giving Wayne this beat and not him. I would be, anyway. When he said "I should have a tattoo that says 'I'm nothing like my dad' I was like damn, he really hasn't taken any shots at Birdman. Guess it's all good now that the check got cut. Anyway for anyone wondering what he would sound like on modern day trap beats you have your answer. S**t bumps play this on good a** speakers not those weak a** apple earbuds.

Dope Ni**a (feat Snoop Dogg): This sounds like some old s**t. You can tell from his voice he's mad young. I'm loving the sample, for all you little f**ks it's from a classic Dr Dre track. Go look it up. Or not. If there's one thing I'm glad about it's that they didn't let Snoop get a full verse-see. I love Snoop but let's be honest the last time we were actively checking for a snoop song. It was drop it like it's hot and half the reason why was because of the beat from Pharrell. That being said it was a good song.

Hittas: Ok, first before you listen to this song go back, and go YouTube Wayne's deposition. Type that in, and get some popcorn because that s**t is CLASSIC. Anyways, this song was ok but definitely a throw away from whenever he was first in album mode. The problem is I think 90% of these songs are old. Sometimes on this album the old songs work, but more and more as the album goes on it seems like there too many older filler songs, like if this song came out years ago I would've f**ked with it but now I'm like eh skip.

Took His Time: I like this s**t right here, I LOVE this beat right here. Whoever made this beat I'm too lazy too look it up at this point, but I salute you. Weezy is weaving in and out of this beat like he was weaving lane to lane down in Miami off that syrup. Which he definitely has done at multiple times at this point in his life. It also is ABSOLUTELY an older track probably old as all f****n hell, but idgaf. This reminds me of back when Wayne was capable of murking anything he put out. Real good a** song.

Open Safe: See here's another dude I can do without: Mustard on the beat h*e. He's like the west coast swizz beats. He makes one EXTREMELY hot a** beat every couple of years and spends the rest of his time making dumb s**t like this. The beat is SUPER basura. Wayne probably bought this beat back when he first started getting hot, and was just making BS left right front and center. The really sad thing is that he probably spent too much cash on the beat that he couldn't scrap the song because this s**t sounds mad old. Back at the time when Mustard was the hot thing in music. Oh well he's spitting on this s**t but I'm skipping this s**t.

Start this S**t off Right (featuring Ashanti): Now when I saw Mannie Fresh was on this track producing I was waiting for it. I wanted some old school geurilla warfare s**t some rebook and gibraud jean s**t some hot boy gutter s**t that you know I love. Instead I got this nonsense. Bruh stick to what you know. This s**t was wack but the part when he said "Tell em I been rich since the Hot Boyz" was great. Dude wtf is ASHANTI doing on this song??? Now this sounds like some posthumous Tupac release type s**t man, like they just get some b-level talent that's out date to hop on songs with pac it seems like this is the story with this song. This song sounds dated as hell and not in a good way at all. For the record Ashanti is still BAD AS ALL HELL. If you don't believe me check the IG.

Demon: This song is kinda hot. The sample reminds me of some s**t Three 6 Mafia would've made, but they didn't. I'm not gonna lie he could've cut this song too because it's pretty forgettable. I guess since we had to wait so long for the ghetto soap opera to close and the album to finally come out that, I guess that warrants him putting the album throwaways on here as well.

Mess: You know what? That r&b album Wayne promised back in the day (remember that kids?) doesn't seem to crazy anymore after listening to this album. He has multiple really good r&b-tinged songs on here. He should've made a r&b album instead of that Rock album abortion. My question is this Birdman multiple sources have said you didn't want him to come out with the carter v because you said it "wasn't that great" but you let him release that rock album? Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

Dope New Gospel (featuring Nivea): Hmmmmm, I didn't want to like this song but after listening to it a couple of times I really am not mad at it, nor am I mad at Nivea singing on it (I still forget that's a Wayne BM, and Lauren London. Sheesh that gremlin hit some bad a** b*****s off). Anyway, I like this song in a throwback way. I feel like I could've seen this video on 106 and Park back in 09. Before Bow Wow hosted that s**t and ruined it, that was the black TRL word to AJ and Free.

Perfect Strangers: Again, he should've made an r&b album. I actually really like this song, but if you want to know the honest truth there's WAY too many songs on this album. It's starting to drag under its own weight, but still this song was hot. I wish he would've dropped this whole album back in the day it probably would've saved his career.

Used 2: This song impressed me. I checked the production credits and I found out it was Metro Boomin. Ok Metro this was a nice change of pace for you. Hats off to you. If you listen to the lyrics he's talking about baby and his entourage. This song was probably recorded when things started to go south between them. It's interesting to listen to this album, its almost like listening to a time capsule, you can kind of try and figure out when and what time period these songs were recorded.

Let it All Work Out: And here we are: The Grand Finale. The most talked about song on the album. I really loved this song. This song kind of encapsulates everything we love about Wayne: clever punchlines, the singsong flow, the confidence, and the new wrinkle; soul-baring. He finally reveals here that the infamous gunshot wound he sustained as a young bull was a suicide attempt, not an accident like he's always said. He evidently was so upset that his mom wanted him to stop rapping that he took a gun and tried to end it all. That's real. He always said music was his life, so now we see just how important it is to him. But he didn't die from it, and music took him to the top of the mountain. Just like the sample says (whoever made the beat murked it) his last words on the album sum it up.

Sheesh man. This was another long a** haul. Between Aubrey's album and this one I'm tired. I'm getting too old for this s**t. The next one I do is gonna be a normal A** album. So what did I think: I liked, I loved, I hated, I skipped, I s**t on, I bumped, I overall enjoy this album. Period. I think it's a perfect way to end an absolutely illustrious career. Please, choose this opportunity to walk away Wayne. This wasn't a Black album type retirement album; when Joe Camel first stepped away it was different. There was still some left in the tank, and neither he nor the public thought it was his last. It obviously wasn't, this needs to be the end man. For all the years of BS you proved the doubters wrong, you turned in a solid (if not a little bloated) album after 7 YEARS. That's a huge accomplishment. Sure there were plenty of sub par moments on the album, but that's fine, no one is perfect. You of all people should know and appreciate that. So the question is answered: the great artists, like the great fighters always have that one last great fight/album in them, and like Wayne says at the very end of the last song: In the end, it all worked out.

Album grade: 7 Birdman hand rubs/10.
Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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