Photo Credit: OWEN SWEENEY / INVISION / AP
The highly anticipated and long overdue, Tha Carter V has finally, yes finally been released! Making this Lil Wayne’s twelfth studio album, and the first album released solely under Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment. Tha Carter V was originally scheduled to be released in 2014, then rumored to be released in 2015 by label mate and rapper Drake at a celebrity basketball game. The long wait and confusion began with contractual disputes and disagreements between Lil Wayne and Cash Money Records, along with the label head owner, rapper, and friend Birdman. In December 2014, Lil Wayne took to Twitter to let out his frustrations with Cash Money Records, Birdman, and also to let his fans know the truth on why the album was not going to be released in 2014, like he previously stated. “To all my fans, I want u to know that my album won’t and hasn’t been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it. This is not my fault. I am truly and deeply sorry to all my fans but most to all to myself and my family for putting us in this situation. I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy.” Wayne has been associated with Cash Money Records for over twenty years now, and since has built a strong friendship with Birdman throughout the years. In fact, Wayne’s label Young Money Entertainment is an inspired remake of Cash Money Records.
Wayne has since claimed he has not been paid fairly and has felt taken advantage of. In 2015 Wayne sued Cash Money for $51 million, claiming the record label did not stay in agreement with the contract terms and withheld money after delaying Tha Carter V serval times. In June 2018, Wayne was released from Cash Money Records and in September fans were blessed with Tha Carter V debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, making this his fourth U.S. number one album, and the second largest streaming week for an album.
Tha Carter V includes features from Kendrick Lamar, XXXTentacion, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Mack Maine, Ashanti, Wayne’s baby mother and R&B signer, Nivea, along with a special guest appearance from Wayne’s oldest daughter, Reginae Carter. Lil Wayne is also credited as a producer on serval songs along with producers DJ Mustard, Cool & Dre, Metro Boomin, Swizz Beatz, and more. The 23-track album may be Lil Wayne’s most vulnerable and realest album to date as he included real voicemails from his mother, Jacida Carter. The voicemails express how much she loves Wanye and how much she is proud of him, but at the same time is worried about him on the opening track titled “I Love You Dwayne”, and throughout the album. The second track following the emotional message from Wayne’s mother is titled “Don’t Cry” featuring the late rapper, XXXTentacion, where Wayne raps about his life at the moment and speaks on his death, stating he doesn’t want you to cry, but to stay tuned instead. Wayne also added a shoutout to late rapper XXXTentacion when he rapped “And triple extension on my motherf*ckin’ afterlife // Rest in Paradise.”
The rest of the album is completed with radio hits like the fourth track titled “Uproar” featuring Swizz Beats, resurrecting the classic 2003 New York signature dance, the Harlem Shake. Although “Uproar” is the only official released single from the album, stations around the U.S. have played songs such as “Dope N*ggaz” featuring Snoop Dogg sampling the west coast vibes of the Dr. Dre song titled “Xxplosive”, “Let It Fly” featuring Travis Scott, and the Infamous produced track titled “Used 2”, which have created quite a buzz rising on the rap charts. Another dope track on the album produced by Infamous is the lyrically insane and beautiful storytelling track title “Mona Lisa” featuring Kendrick Lamar. Lil Wayne raps about working alongside a female that plans robbery hits on the men she dates with Lil Wayne, while also stealing from them and splitting profits with Wayne. On the same song, Kendrick Lamar raps about a girl he is in love with but suspects is cheating on him. Fans have speculated that Kendrick Lamar’s verse is in reference to Lil Wayne’s ex, video Vixen Superhead, a.k.a Karrine Steffans. Even though there were a few misses on Tha Carter V as well, Lil Wayne will always remain a rap genius. With his catalog and rap history and when it comes to creating dope albums, Wanye can do no wrong.