If you haven’t peeped this yet, you should be gettin’ it, while the gettin’ is good. It should go without saying as to why this particular mixtape, put together by The Empire, is more worthy of attention than any of the other Wayne mixtapes that have flooded the market recently — shit, it’s right there in the title. The main purpose of any mixtape is typically to build up anticipation for, and give people a quick glimpse of, an upcoming album. Simply put, there aren’t many albums more anticipated than Wayne’s Tha Carter 3, and there’s no better way to give fans a glimpse of that album than by providing some rough cuts made during the ongoing recording process.
Tha Carter 3 Sessions was discussed by Wayne last week on MTV.com, and though he doesn’t drop any track names, he mentioned that a song produced by Kanye West that’s “out there” is something that he wants to save for the album, and everything else “probably wouldn’t have made” the album. The Kanye track in question would appear to be “Did It Before”, the first song on this mixtape, which has Wayne spitting a sex rap (about women — no homo, for y’all insecure folk) and rhyming every bar with the track’s title, coming off as equally impressive and lazy, humorous and grating. One of the roughest of the rough cuts on here, it’s not all that surprising that Wayne’s planning on keeping this one — with a little fine-tuning, to both the beat and the lyrics, it could be a standout track on the actual album.
Since, apparently, nothing else on here is making the cut, Tha Carter 3 Sessions is the closest thing to a full-length solo we’ll get from Wayne until (more than likely) 2008, and it has a few impressive moments. “Something You Forgot” has Wayne reminiscing over a lost love (Trina? Nivea?) over a sample from Heart (that’s right, Heart) that is well-produced enough to avoid being cheesy. “I Feel Like Dying” has Wayne rhyming his way through a drug-induced state of euphoria — content-wise, it sounds more like an early Cage record. These tracks, in addition to the simple-yet-catchy “La La”, could’ve fit well into an actual album.
However, most of the rest of Tha Carter 3 Sessions is more suitable as mixtape material. “How You Like Me Now” is a cool, laid-back track with a nice echoing vocal sample in the beat, “Scarface” is Wayne at his most aggressive, and “Help” finds Wayne sounding comfortable over a sampling of the Beatles’ record of the same name. Nonetheless, judging from the lack of quality hooks, Wayne is quite clearly in “practice” mode on these tracks; but the fact that his practice records sound better than some people’s real records should make expectations for Tha Carter 3 that much higher.
Lil’ Wayne doesn’t take himself too seriously — the shit talking and youthful charisma that he’s known for is prevalent throughout Tha Carter 3 Sessions. But one thing that Wayne does take seriously is his own work ethic. He’s got a million ways to tell you that he’s the best rapper alive — granted, none of ‘em are really all that convincing, but it’s still fun to listen to.