Lil' Wayne

THA CARTER, VOL. 2 | Cash Money  
By LEON NEYFAKH  |  February 14, 2006
3.5 3.5 Stars
LIL' WAYNE splitting the difference between Jadakiss, Jeezy and Jay-ZWith four solo albums to his name and no more than a meager reputation, you’d expect former Hot Boy Lil’ Wayne to have gotten tired by the time he set out to record Tha Carter, Vol. 2. Instead he comes at it hungry, not thirsty, throwing his punch lines like punches and propping his swagger up on a deep, beefy rumble. He’s taken the long road to this album, and as he says in “Best Rapper Alive,” this disc is a victory lap: “I ain’t even out of breath/The motherfucking best yet/Sorry for cussing.” Sometimes he’s so into it that it’s creepy (“Smell me, girl/I smell like money”), but most of the time it’s easy just to take the passenger seat and not worry about where he’s driving. Wayne’s “yep” is about as good as Jeezy’s “yeeaaaah,” and his laugh splits the difference between a Jadakiss cackle and a Jay-Z chuckle. He drives slow the entire way through Tha Carter, Vol. 2, and with such infectious enthusiasm, it comes across like a triumphant debut.
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