Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal Motown)
On Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne raps like a robot – overusing the pitch-correcting Auto-Tune to ridiculous effect. He also claims to be a Martian and says he’s “rare like Mr. Clean with hair.” Wayne is either years ahead of his time, from another planet or just one of a kind.
Whichever it is, his off-the-wall third instalment in the Carter series is a subversive masterpiece. Wayne, real name Dwayne Carter, comes with diverse beats, rhymes and a surprising amount of energy considering his endless mixtapes and guest appearances.
Instead of reaching toward the centre for a crossover hit, the Miami-based rapper defines oddball by crooning about oral sex, role-playing as a hip-hop MD and towering over extra-special guest Jay-Z. It’s eclectic, eccentric and yes, essential.