*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.

Thus far, we’ve heard from The Producer, The Cultural Critic, The Influencer, and The DJ. Now, our journey comes to an end with the most important perspective left.*

Rappers are many things. They’re storytellers. Emcees. They treat the mic like a pencil, and use words to sketch out drawings that eventually manifest into songs. They put poetry to a beat and master skill and craft. They give us lines for days, whether we use them in casual conversation or for Instagram captions.

Hot Peez was the only emcee I trusted to talk about Tha Carter III. Peez’s ‘White Hall’ project remains one of the more underrated Houston releases this decade. But once Peez linked up Donnie Houston to form Don-P and bridge the sounds of the H and The Boot on ‘Lagniappe,’ his talent couldn’t be questioned. In a sense, he’s still an underdog, but his star is ever rising. Most importantly, Peez is a New Orleans native… and he got his name, believe it or not, from Wayne. Before he was “Hot Peez,” his friends called him “Lil’ Peezy.” Of course, there was already a “Lil’ Weezy” out, so he chose to switch it up. A rapper with the soul of Louisiana still in him, speaking on another rapper who helped Louisiana stay on rap’s map for good – that’s why this particular rapper’s perspective, was so important.

For me, ‘Tha Carter III’ has significance for a lot of reasons. First, it was a fire ass album from one of my favorite rappers. Then, there was the whole “platinum in a week” thing. We’re talking platinum with physical CD sales, not streams. It’s kind of a surreal thing to see someone from your hometown sit at the top of the music world, period, because that’s literally where Wayne was at the time. When I was asked for my input, I was A) surprised that the bitch was turning 10; and b) knew that I had to do it right. I was asked to write about my favorite track, so for the last 7-plus, I’ve been living in 2008. Listening to the project for the first time in maybe 5 years myself, I had forgotten just how big of a deal Lil’ Wayne and ‘Tha Carter 3’ was.

And right before I got to writing, almost right on cue, the news hit that Wayne was now a free man from Cash Money. Not too sure what the final dollar settlement was, but the main point is, he’s free. He’s free to make whatever kind of music he wants and he FINALLY has the ability to put it out to the world. That’s dope to me.

So, after listening to ‘C3’ for a week, what song was my favorite? Considering it’s an album that was full of jams, I’m just going to ease into “Mrs. Officer.”
From a technical standpoint, it jams. The premise of the record isn’t one that maybe I’d come up with, but that’s just the beauty of Lil’ Wayne at work. You get the feeling that there really WAS a pretty lady cop somewhere near his Miami penthouse. And after spotting her fine ass a few times, he poured a 4 and called up Bobby Valentino. And that’s another reason why I liked that record: Bobby V. Not that I’m the biggest Bobby Valentino fan – granted, I enjoyed “Slow Down” as much as the next guy – but the track was a nod, in my opinion, to the underdog. You HAVE to understand that, at the time, Wayne was not just the biggest thing in hip-hop. He was one of the most sought-after acts in music, period. He could’ve gotten Usher. He could’ve called the dude from Coldplay. Shit, in ‘08, I wouldn’t put Wayne past pulling off a Prince collaboration. But instead, he went with Bobby V and Nutt Tha Kidd (aka Kidd Kidd), and it took off! He even made “Mrs. Officer” a single!
I’ve got memories of parking, getting ready to club hop on Main Street and turning up in the car with my dawg DBop to “Mrs. Officer” Like, on repeat, haha. Matter of fact, I think that might’ve been a Butterfly Lounge night but I digress. Just know, that it was a good night for the playas. And as I sat in that Mazda Millenia with the song on repeat, I knew in my heart of hearts that I was going to be taking somebody’s daughter to breakfast in the morning. I’ll say it again: I KNEW someone’s baby girl wasn’t going to make it to Sunday Service. In other words, I knew that if I woke up Sunday morning alone, it was only because the girl had made her way home in the 3-4 AM hour… if you catch my drift.
All in all, ‘C3’ sits atop my list of all-time favorites because Wayne was Wayne. He never changed. And after a run of fire ass features, he delivered a solid ass album and enjoyed his time in the light… and I love to see a nigga get their shine on. And as if the music gods weren’t generous enough as, we’re about to be blessed with another gem, because ‘Tha Carter 5’ is on the way. I’m calling it right here on Day And a Dream: ALL FLAMES.