Record Label: Cash Money
Although his first studio album in three years has been long-awaited and repeatedly delayed, Lil Wayne has been anything but absent. Since THA CARTER II, Weezy has left an impressive mass of recordings--from mixtapes (authorized and otherwise) to guest appearances--in his wake as he blusters through the rap industry. In the third installment of the THA CARTER series, Wayne shows he's earned the right to ego-trip as he lets his off-kilter flow, freak-out lyrics, and vocal acrobatics run wild over 16 tracks. Scaling the heights of hubris on "Dr. Carter," he plays an MC/doctor treating a certain music genre diagnosed as lifeless and closes with a quintessential Weezy snarl: "Welcome back hip-hop/I saved your life." Wayne then shifts to alien-mode for the E.T.-inspired "Phone Home." As expected, THA CARTER III is rife with big name producers (The Alchemist, Kanye West, Wyclef Jean, David Banner, Swizz Beatz, will.i.am) and guest artists (Jay-Z, Babyface, Busta Rhymes, Juelz Santana, Fabolous, T-Pain) from all coasts.