Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Making it to six albums before the internet era was something only a few rappers could brag about doing. Six albums released and remaining relevant is an even bigger feat and that remains true in today’s times. Going back to 1997, who would have guessed that Lil Wayne would be the one to blow up the way he did.
Following an incredible mixtape run and several delays, Lil Wayne began the promotion for Tha Carter III. Coming into 2008, Lil Wayne had two objectives, one was continuing to keep the fans wanting more and the other was to take over as a commercial leader in the game. Lil Wayne managed to do both.
Five years ago, today, Lil Wayne released Tha Carter III and the game was ready for it following the success of “Lollipop.” While the song was a breakout hit, fans quickly learned Lil Wayne was delivering a hip-pop album and not the lyrical classic some were expecting. He still dropped 2008’s best album though.
Due to his position in the game, Lil Wayne had to deliver an album to feed his broad fan base. Sure, it is easy to argue about the change in style, but Lil Wayne did what he had to do. In the end, Lil Wayne sold 1 million copies in his first week and it went on to go triple platinum. There are not too many albums still relevant six months after they are released, but Tha Carter III is still a good album five years after its release, so Hip Hop Vibe decided to look back on 2008’s highest-selling hip hop album.
Tha Carter III featured appearances from Static Major (R.I.P.), Kanye West, Babyface (who also did a rare hook on the “Comfortable” single), Busta Rhymes, a then-rising Brisco, Robin Thicke, T-Pain, Jay-Z, Fabolous, Juelz Santana, music legend Betty Wright, Bobby V, and D. Smith.
Watch “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne ft. Static Major below:
Late in 2007, Tha Carter III track listing was released and the “Lollipop” single was announced. It would not be until February 2008 that the song played for the first time. Static Major was featured on the hook and the outro bridge, propelling the song to hit number one on Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, Static Major passed away before seeing the success of the song. For Lil Wayne, his platinum status was set and the music video did feature Static Major, along with cameos from Tyga, Birdman, Deelishis from “Flavor of Love,” and the video took place at Gavin Maloof’s Las Vegas mansion. Starting with this single, Lil Wayne took his interest in the guitar to the next level. Eventually, Lil Wayne won a Grammy for “Lollipop” for Best Rap Song.
Watch “A Milli” by Lil Wayne below:
Lil Wayne got the attention of the mainstream world with “Lollipop” and even the streets could not reject that hit. But, there was much more to Lil Wayne than the pop single. There still was the street audience to please, so Lil Wayne returned with “A Milli,” which was a pure rap single that got the interest from all aspects of the game. The music video for “A Milli” also launched a summer series of music videos, as the video ends with him running into a bank. Tha Carter III was much more than an album, it was a motion picture.
Watch “Got Money” by Lil Wayne ft. T-Pain below:
Though not as commercially-driven as “Lollipop,” it was clear what market Lil Wayne was targeting with “Got Money.” This single was a mix of the first two singles, appealing to the streets and to the commercial audience. “Got Money” would become the anthem of the summer and a radio favorite. Lil Wayne found a home in the top ten on Billboard Hot 100 and “Got Money” with T-Pain continued this. But, when he dropped the “Got Money” music video, Lil Wayne had a surprise. The music video did pick up where “A Milli” left off, but the surprise came when Lil Wayne’s final verse was cut for Mack Maine’s verse (woosh). “Got Money” was a summer anthem and the music video carried over.
Watch “Mrs. Officer/Comfortable” by Lil Wayne ft. Bobby V below:
No rap album is complete without songs for the ladies and Lil Wayne had two. “Mrs. Officer” with Bobby V continued the music video series with Lil Wayne driving off and being approached by a “lady cop.” As most remember, Kara Allison had a starring role in this music video and she talked to Hip Hop Vibe about it last year. Late in the summer of 2008, “Mrs. Officer” was released and it became a breakout hit single that the fans loved. Also, the “Comfortable” single was released to the radio and it did fairly well. Though he teased an official music video, it never came, but instead he included it in the “Mrs. Officer” video. This single included a brief comeback from Babyface and the “Comfortable” track is also produced by Kanye West.
It has been five years since Tha Carter III was released and the album is still full of hits.
Listen to Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne below: