Remembered as Lil Wayne’s blow-up album, “Tha Carter II” followed hurricane Katrina and helped put New Orleans hip-hop and Cash Money Records back in the forefront of pop culture. Although no Mannie Fresh beats this record, Wayne makes up for it with lyrically dense tracks showing off his flexible, almost freestyle flows and layered rhymes. It’s one of the best “Tha Carter” albums in the series and is only unseated by the even more viral “Tha Carter III.”
One of the most interesting stories in rap, Lil Wayne started as a child prodigy in New Orleans, worked his way to the top of Cash Money Records before helping usher in a new era of hip-hop. He made rap mainstream and brought it to the digital age before crashing his career with mediocre music, foolish decisions and a legal battle with Cash Money while rising stars he mentored replaced his relevance like Drake and Nicki Minaj. But much like a prodigal son, Lil Wayne returned to his roots and made one of the greatest comeback records in rap history.