DAR Roundtable: Lil Wayne's Tha Carter vs Tha Carter 2

Tha Carter 

1. Walk In
2. Go DJ
3. This Is The Carter
4. BM JR
5. On The Block # 1
6. I Miss My Dawgs
7. We Don't
8. On My Own
9. The Heat
10. Cash Money Millionaires
11. Inside
12. Bring It Back
13. Who Wanna
14. On The Block # 2
15. Get Down
16. Snitch
17. Hoes
18. Only Way 
19. Earthquake
20. Ain't That A Bitch
21. Walk Out


Tha Carter 2 

1. Tha Mobb
2. Fly In
3. Money On My Mind
4. Fireman
5. Mo Fire 
6. On The Block # 1
7. Best Rapper Alive 
8. Lock and Load
9. Oh No
10. Grown Man
11. On The Block # 2
12. Hit Em Up
13. Carter II
14. Hustler Muzik
15. Receipt
16. Shooter
17. Weezy Baby
18. On The Block # 3
19. I'm A Dboy
20. Feel Me
21. Get Over 
22. Fly Out

The two albums that brought Lil Wayne to a different level of stardom will be discussed here. Some feel both are classics, some feel neither are classics, some feel only one is a classic. Let the roundtable begin.

When True asked me to opine on Tha Carter 1 versus Carter 2, I had to go back in time. I had to go back to the days where I, still a high schooler, dealt with tomfoolery, temptation, and Treeka. I'm going somewhere with this, so don't mute it just yet. Both of these albums are classics. But, both mean different things, to me at least.

Tha Carter was the album that reintroduced us to Wayne. Gone was Mr. "After You Back It Up and Stop" Wayne. Nah, this Wayne was a man who'd ran through three albums' worth of material throughout his Sqad Up freestyles and mixtapes. But, somehow, he still had more. He was hungry. He was funny. He was a guy you could identify with. In 2004, when the album dropped, I could relate to that, a guy who looked put together, but behind the scenes, he was still grinding to be recognized as a man who got things done.

That said, and after all the relating and whatnot is done, I still feel that Tha Carter 2 was the better project. The production showed a lot more diversity. Now, I'd love to hear Wayne hop back on some Mannie beats. It'd be legendary. But, Carter 2, from intro to outro, bests its predecessor in that department, only  because of its eclectic nature. We go from a Willie Tee sample to original beats back to samples and so on. Lyrically, Wayne was at his peak during the Carter 2 era. I wouldn't call him the "Best Rapper Alive," but he made a legitimate stake to that claim with Carter 2.

I prefer Carter 2 hands down. Carter 2 is actually Weezy's best work, in my honest opinion. This is the project where he made people realize that he was a force to be reckoned with-- and rightfully so. This is around the time where Jay-Z had so called "retired" and Wayne saw fit that he'd take the title of best rapper alive. Truth be told even if you didn't believe it at the time, you couldn't deny that he was damn close to it. Lyrically, this is his best album to me since he keeps you occupied during most of the album. Sure it's a bit overlong, but shit that's a minor nitpick since the album itself is so damn compellingly complete. My personal favorites would be Tha Mobb, Hit Em Up, Best Rapper Alive, and of course Money on My Mind. Carter 1 is good, but in comparison to this horribly underrated album it isn't anywhere as good.

Carter 2 all the way. I feel like this album is truly Wayne's magnum opus. His finest work. The drive to be the best rapper in the game fueled this album. Wayne rapped on every track with a big chip on his shoulder because he knew Jay-Z was on hiatus. Taking the opportunity to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with on this album. A coup de'tat, more than Carter 3. The takeover from the southern rapper who claimed on a track over a choir like sample that he was indeed the BEST ALIVE. The modern day Godfather like production Fly In (and Out). The smooth and simple love tracks like Grown Man. The guitar heavy sound and stone cold storytelling like Hustler Muzik will always make me praise this album. I felt like on Carter 1, he was just knocking on the door of the greats. With Carter 2, he KICKED the door down.

Tha Carter with Mannie Fresh's production is a diamond in the rough. Fresh gave us some of his best beats on this album like Go DJ and Ain't That A Bitch. Wayne has his unique flow and floats effortlessly on these beats. You see maturity in his raps instead of just bragging raps. I'm a fan of dirty south raps and I just love that feel you get from this. Sonically its well put together. I don't understand how Wayne isn't in the greats talk with this being part of his catalogue.

Carter 2 is the better album for sure. Might be his best album besides Carter 3. Again, can't understand how Wayne isn't in the great conversation with this existing and Da Drought 3. Wayne definitely gives a reason why he's the best rapper alive. See Best Rapper Alive, Hustler Muzik, and Shooter. Smoother sounding album and still has endless replay value to this day. Hits like Fireman and Receipt solidify this album. Definitely my pick.

I would probably pick Tha Carter, just barely though and although Carter 2 is definitely the better album production wise, Carter 1 is more cohesive. He was still ascending at the moment, and the whole motif of the album was in tact throughout I felt.

Tha Carter 2, I love as well though, but Carter 1 has two of my favorite Wayne joints on there, "BM JR" and "I Miss My Dawgs". It's close, but I have to go with Carter 1.

I'm truly partial to Tha Carter 1. I think that is Wayne's best album period. It wasn't as hyped or as diverse in production as Carter 2, but that's the beauty of it to me. Carter 1 was the last album that Mannie Fresh and Wayne worked on together officially, and Mannie brought it with the beats, giving Wayne party starter tracks, murderous sinister tracks, breezy tracks, etc. Mannie expanded his production on this album, and Wayne was still in that transition mode with his style so the album was like the best of both worlds to an extent. The classic Cash Money Wayne with the new flow and upgraded lyricism. While Carter 2 is a great album, I think it has a lot more filler than Carter 1, despite "Tha Mobb" being a top Wayne track of all time for me. The cohesiveness and the aura of Tha Carter is what makes my decision just a tad bit easier. Tha Carter is my choice.

What do you guys think? Post in the comments below.



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