Before you get outraged about the title of this article, just hear me out: Lil Wayne is a legend, and that's that. I'm not engaging in any of those debates about whether or not Young Thug's new music will make Weezy's obsolete, because that's just pure nonsense. This article only exists because Young Thug really had the gumption to try and name his new project Carter 6, before Wayne could drop Tha Carter 5 and end that chapter of his career.
Thug ended up changing the album's title for legal reasons, but clearly he was trying to make a statement here. He told MTV News that he wants to release Carter six through 10 so, if this is the first in his series of Carter or Barter releases, I'm just comparing where Wayne and Thug were when they dropped these initial projects.
Keep in mind that we have to account for how much the music industry has changed in the decade-plus in between these releases, especially with the advent of social media.
With that considered:
At the time that he released Tha Carter in 2004, Lil Wayne was still trying to step out of Juvenile’s shadow and prove that he could be a star in his own right. If few were really checking for the first project in his Carter series, that changed after he released it. It became difficult to debate that Weezy was a certified, grade-A lyricist after hearing this project.
For Young Thug, things were a little different. Ahead of dropping Barter 6, the Atlanta rapper already had a huge buzz and he created a very controversial storyline by first attempting to call his project Carter 6, before Wayne could release Tha Carter 5. Hip-hop fans were split down the middle about whether this was genius or disrespectful—especially since Thugger considers Wayne to be his idol—so the expectations were more amplified here.
On “Never Had It,” Thugga raps, “I was born in ‘91, 23 years with a whole lotta stank,” which means that he and Lil Wayne were very close in age when they dropped these respective projects. Weezy was three months shy of hitting 22 when Tha Carter was released.
By the time that he released Tha Carter, Lil Wayne was already four albums in, having released Tha Block Is Hot, Lights Out and 500 Degreez. There were several mixtapes as well, including entires in Wayne's Sqad Up series and Da Drought. Young Thug, on the other hand, only had several mixtapes under his belt, including the popular Rich Gang tape with Rich Homie Quan and Birdman. Plus, he’s still referring to Barter 6 as a “mixtape,” even though it’s being sold, this is not Thug's official debut LP.
Tha Carter included 21 tracks that tallied up at just under an hour and a half, while Thug kept it way shorter, with 13, clocking in at just over 50 minutes long.
Young Thug didn’t go too crazy with the guests, especially considering how much buzz he has at the moment. Outside of Birdman, he featured T.I., Boosie Badazz, Young Dolph, Yak Gotti, Jacquees and Duke. Lil Wayne had even fewer appearances on his album. Besides Mannie Fresh and Birdman, he only featured Jazze Pha and Reel.
Yes, of course this gets it’s own category. On Tha Carter, Birdman showed up on three tracks: “We Don’t,” “Get Down” and “Only Way.” While on Thug’s release he’s featured on the very first song, “Constantly Hating” and just one more time on “Knocked Off.” Which was has his best verse? That’s for you to decide.
Lil Wayne’s second Carter single “Go DJ” was his first big hit. It was a smash on the radio, in the clubs it also climbed into the top three on the rap charts. Thus far, it seems like Thugger’s biggest banger on this album will be the single “Check,’ which currently has almost four million views on YouTube.
Wayne and Thug took similar approaches on this front, working closely with two producers instead of collecting beats from here, there and everywhere. A majority of Tha Carter was produced by former Cash Money sound architect Mannie Fresh, with some small contributions from Raj Smoove, Jazze Pha and Leslie Brathwaite. Barter 6 features beats from London On Da Track – who Thug has made magic with, even on T.I.’s “About The Money” and Rich Gang's "Lifestyle" – and Wheezy 5th.
Lyrics And Receptions
It’s hard to give a concrete measure of lyrical quality, since much of it is based in opinion, but I'm not going out on a limb by saying that, bar for bar, if we're comparing Tha Carter and Barter 6, Lil Wayne's still wearing the crown.