Hear Lil Wayne’s Long-Awaited ‘Tha Carter V’
After years of delays, the rapper’s latest album is finally here
By Brendan Klinkenberg andÂ Elias Leight
Lil WayneÂ released his much-delayed and highly anticipatedÂ Tha Carter VÂ album on Thursday at midnight.
Tha Carter VÂ features rapping fromÂ Kendrick Lamar,Â Travis ScottÂ andÂ Snoop Dogg, singing from Nicki Minaj, Ashanti and Nivea, and vocals from XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed earlier this year. The final song includes a prominent sample of the English singer Sampha. Production on the album comes courtesy of longtime collaborator Mannie Fresh, Swizz Beatz, Metro Boomin, Ben Billions and many others.
This album has been a long time coming: Lil Wayne first announcedÂ Tha Carter VÂ in 2012, following the 2011 release ofÂ Tha Carter IV. But the fifth installment of Wayne’s series, which began in 2004 when he was just 22, was mired in label delays for over five years.
The album was first supposed to come out in 2014; Drake joined Wayne on “Believe Me,” which was going to be the lead single. Days before a possible December release date, however, Wayne took to Twitter to announce thatÂ his mentor and Cash Money label head Brian “Birdman” Williams “refuse[d] to release” the album. “I am a prisoner and so is my creativity,”Â Wayne tweetedÂ at the time.Â “I am truly sorry and I don’t blame ya if ya fed up with waiting 4 me & this album,” he added.
In January of 2015,Â Wayne sued Cash Money, demanding $51 million and the right to sever his ties with the label. Later that year, when the rapper attempted to release another project, theÂ Free Weezy Album, through Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal, Cash Money reportedly hit backÂ by suing TidalÂ for $50 million, though this suit was allegedly filed improperly and eventually dropped.
According toÂ a recentÂ BillboardÂ cover story, the legal disputes between Wayne and Birdman have now been settled for an undisclosed sum, clearing the way for the release ofÂ Tha Carter V. As part of the deal, Wayne is now the sole owner of Young Money Records, his imprint, which was previously a subsidiary of Cash Money. He also maintains his own relationship with Universal Music Group, which has distributed Cash Money releases for two decades.
It’s unclear when the bulk ofÂ Tha Carter VÂ was recorded; Wayne is a notoriously prolific studio rat, and the album has presumably been in the works since its announcement. However, he was reportedly still recordingÂ this week.
That may have played a part in yet another delay:Â Tha Carter VÂ was initially expected last Friday. The album did not appear ”” Lil Wayne called it “a misunderstanding” ”” but this week, the rapper posted a countdown clock on his website which ticked down to Thursday at midnight. He also released aÂ grateful videoÂ thanking his fans for their continued support. “I would like for y’all to know that since y’all stuck with me for like the last four or five years, through all of this, y’all got me feeling like Tiger Woods with this comeback,” Wayne said.
The release ofÂ Tha Carter VÂ gives Wayne two reasons to celebrate: He also turned 36 on Thursday.