Kanye West wasn’t the only rapper who dropped new music this weekend. Lil Wayne finally released his long-awaited fifth album, Tha Carter V. As our own Alejandra Salazar notes, this album has been brewing for six years, and guest stars some very famous names, including one we miss deeply: Barack Obama. But one voice brings all the feelings to V — Wayne’s mom, Jacinda Carter.
Immediately, we see Jacinda and Wayne (Lil Wanye’s legal name is Dwayne, but he chooses to go by Wayne) on the cover of the album; it’s an older photo of Weezy as a child with his mom. As the album begins, the first track is a two-minute message from Jacinda, speaking freely about her pride for her son. “You’ve always been my rock,” she says, her voice overcome with emotion. “I’ve always loved you...I thank the Lord every day for keeping us on this earth...I can’t wait until your album comes out, everyone is asking about it. It’s going to be a beautiful album.”
And beautiful it is. Weezy gets deep into some of the more difficult moments of his life, including stories that Jacinda never knew about. When Wayne was 12 years old, he attempted suicide; at the end of “Used 2,” Jacinda launches into another monologue, in which she wonders if the attempt was accidental or intentional. She candidly reveals that she never asked him the truth about the incident — because she didn’t want to know “I still don’t know today,” she says, “if he was playing with the gun, or [if it] was an accident.”
Jacinda also appears in the sobering, reflective “Open Letter.” It’s a song in which Wayne reveals his struggles with mental health; mainly, feelings of malaise and low self-esteem. “Why am I here? / Dear life / What is my meaning? My reason?” he asks. Like “Used 2,” Jacinda’s voice closes out the song, in which she discusses finding out Wayne’s girlfriend was pregnant with their first child, Reginae. Wayne was 16 when he became a father. “When he told me that Toya was having a baby, I said, ‘Y’all are young,’” she recalls. “Just be the best father you can be, I told him. And truly, he is that.” It’s a lovely note to end on, giving us the sense that Wayne’s family is his guiding light.