*On June 11th, ‘Tha Carter III,’ Lil’ Wayne’s sixth studio album, will turn ten years old. The most feature-stacked release from Dwayne Carter at the time, ‘Tha Carter III’ had Wayne collaborating with artists like Babyface, Robin Thicke, and Bobby Valentino, to name a few; and with producers like Bangladesh, Kanye West, David Banner and even “Too Many Freaks” legends Play N Skillz.

To commemorate ‘Tha Carter III’s’ tenth birthday – and as a prelude to our upcoming ‘Deconstruction’ of the album – our own Bradford J. Howard sought out five different perspectives from five different personalities and contributors to the hip-hop culture. Each will take their own trip down memory lane with ‘C3,’ by sharing their favorite song.

The journey began with The Producer and The Cultural Critic, and now it continues.*

Most people take in hip-hop culture by watching it from the sidelines, as fans or observers. There are other people, though, who aren’t content with just witnessing the culture. They want to be a part of it. They want to push it forward.

Justina Hay loves music and the creative arts as much as anyone. A native Houstonian, Justina saw that her hometown wasn’t doing enough to support the talent that was bubbling below the surface at home. There were already institutions in place to amplify those voices. But those institutions only amplified certain voices. That needed to change – and she was going to be the one to change it.

Armed with her love of Houston and her good ear and great eye for recognizing good artists, Justina partnered with two fellow women to launch HustleGrade, a creative collective that provided a platform for slept-on, independent artists. When we’re need of something new or fresh to be put onto to, we look to the tastemakers, the influencers like Justina, to show us what we’ve been missing. That’s why the influencer’s perspective was so important.


When I think of ‘Tha Carter III’ album, I can vividly picture myself riding in my homegirl’s bright yellow PT Cruiser headed to La Boom, blasting “La La” in the parking lot. For some reason, blasting the hottest songs out while pulling up to the club was an actual thing. I was fortunate to grow up in the era where Lil’ Wayne dominated hip-hop for over a decade. So for me, an avid fan of Weezy, ‘Tha Carter III’ was the perfect compilation of mixtape Lil’ Wayne and commercial Lil’ Wayne.

“La La,” a song with a playful instrumental courtesy of David Banner that also featured Brisco and Busta Rhymes, was the song from ‘Tha Carter III’ that stole my heart the most. From the production of the track to the lyrics and the beat itself, “La La” reminded me why I was then and will forever be a Wayne fan.

Lil’ Wayne is mostly known for his incredible and, at times, thought-provoking punchlines, and “La La” is riddled with them. Don’t believe me? “Sittin’ in a Caddy, Wright like Betty/ Floatin’ up the aisle like the bride and her daddy/ Hip-hop addict, hip-hop addict – Man, I swear I’m on top like the attic.” That’s just “La La’s” OPENING line, and it’s one of the most unforgettable openers on the entire ‘Carter III’ LP. Happy Anniversary, ‘C3!’