CD Reviews

Tha Carter IV, The Sender and Terius Nash EST. 1977

Mainstream Rap

Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV Universal

Lil Wayne’s fan base has become so massive that he never has to worry about his albums selling. But maybe he should worry about giving his fans better music. With Tha Carter IV, Weezy F. Baby offers what is quite possibly his laziest effort to date. Sure, Wayne can still come correct when he wants to. The dark, burning Drake-assisted “She Will” and piano-driven “Nightmares of the Bottom” are strong, but they crumble under the weight of the rest of the album. The endless string of subpar punch lines and relatively average production plague the album. “Megaman” and “John” are evidence of Wayne’s nonsensical rhymes drizzled over beats that are below what you would expect from someone of Lil Wayne’s caliber. When your album’s highlights are interludes that feature other rappers (such as Tech N9ne and Andre 3000), you most certainly have a problem. Like always, this album will sell, but few will be happy with what they bought. ★★☆☆☆

No-Frills Hip-Hop

Median The Sender FE+

North Carolina MC Median has long been affiliated with Little Brother, 9th Wonder and the Justus League. However, because of the spotlight being on Little Brother’s legacy, Median never really had a chance to shine. With his latest project, The Sender, Median firmly establishes himself as one of the more impressive acts not named Phonte or Rapper Big Pooh. Nixing the option to seek mainstream appeal, Median keeps it true to his hip-hop roots. Blending solid production with dope lyricism, The Sender is 13 songs of head-nodding hip-hop. 9th Wonder’s trademark soulful production shines through on “Open My Thoughts” and the breezy “Fresh Breath.” But it’s Median’s silky smooth delivery that carries the album. He waxes poetic on the smooth “Kiss the Sky” and explores what the ladies want on “Turn Ya On.” Despite some lulls in the action, The Sender is quality music that unfortunately won’t be heard on your favorite radio station anytime soon. ★★★☆☆

Soul-Soothing R&B

The-Dream Terius Nash EST. 1977 Self-Released

As a treat to his fans (and in defiance of his record label), The-Dream decided to release a free album before his fourth studio work, Diary of a Madman, hits shelves in November. The 11-track Terius Nash EST. 1977 may as well have been a studio album as the content here is just as solid, if not better, than his previous albums. What makes 1977 so special is that it’s a narrative that loosely chronicles the disintegration of his marriage to Christina Milian. The album’s opener “Wake Me When It’s Over” is his view of the breakup that differs from how it was portrayed in the media. “Used To Be” finds Dream lashing out at his former lover with a number of profanities. Where the album slips is when he sets aside some songs for his female prodigy, Casha, who is unable to live up to her mentor. Thankfully, her appearances are brief, leaving Dream ample opportunities to carry on his tale of heartbreak, redemption and romance.  ★★★☆☆

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