From Obama samples to a distinct lack of Drake, here's what has people talking...
It’s been a long eight year wait for ‘Tha Carter V’. Way back in 2012, Lil Wayne announced that his fifth ‘Carter’ record would be released the following year, and ever since then, the release date has been pushed back, and back, and back. As a result of various issues – legal disputes with his former label Cash Money Records, health problems, a 31 song track-listing at one point, and the ‘Sorry for The Wait’ mixtape which reportedly upset Lil Wayne’s label boss Birdman – the delays only grew longer. Throughout, the rapper complained of being held “prisoner” creatively, but assured fans “I just don’t want to put it out the wrong way,” he told XXL.
For some time, Lil Wayne’s been hinting that ‘Tha Carter V’ might well be his final solo album. Though he’s since backtracked on that, hinting towards a new chapter instead, it’s almost definitely the final instalment of his ‘Carter’ series. With label disputes now resolved (Lil Wayne eventually settled with Cash Money and Universal Music Group in June, for an undisclosed sum) he’s now the sole owner of Young Money Entertainment, according to Billboard.
To call his album long-awaited is an understatement. Here are the biggest talking points.
The endless guest spots
Over the years Lil Wayne has clearly managed to whittle down ‘Tha Carter V’ from that 31 track album, but he’s still managed to cram loads of guests into the 23 track edition released today. Kendrick Lamar features on ‘Mona Lisa’, along with feature spots from Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Sossaman, Ashanti, Mack Maine, and Wayne’s daughter Reginae Carter.
A posthumous appearance from the late XXXTentacion has divided listeners, meanwhile. The late rapper, who was shot and killed in June at the age of 20, was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend last year. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Some fans on social media were moved the emotive nature of his vocals appearing on ‘Don’t Cry’, a track which muses on death. However, many have rightly questioned if it’s responsible for high profile artists like Lil Wayne to effectively build up a legacy narrative around a man who faced allegations of serious abuse in his lifetime.
There’s also one more surprise sample
Who’s the bloke giving the speech on ‘Dedicate’? It’s only Barack Obama? “They might think they’ve got a pretty good jump shot, or a pretty good flow,” he says, sampled in the background. “But our kids can’t all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne!”. We miss you, Obama.
There’s a lot of love for Weezy’s mom, too
‘Tha Carter V’ doesn’t just feature a picture of Lil Wayne’s mother on its cover. Opening track ‘I Love You Dwayne’ features her talking emotionally about how proud she is of her son; “I know it’s gonna be a beautiful album” she says.
Lil Wayne, meanwhile, has spoken about his decision to feature his mum on the album cover, which he first revealed back in 2014. “I always go with a baby picture. I wanted to go with one with my mama this time… To have my mom on there is more than an accomplishment,” he said on ESPN’s Sports Center. “It’s an achievement.”
The so-called Drake snub
Quite a few fans were surprised to reach the end of ‘Tha Carter V’ without hearing a Drake feature. Lil Wayne and Drizzy have been friends since 2006, and Drake’s career was effectively kickstarted with a feature-spot on ‘Dedication 3’ mixtape track ‘Stuntin’.
Drake signed to Lil Wayne’s label Young Money in 2009, and the pair have collaborated consistently over the years. Weezy guested on Drake’s own breakthrough moment ‘Take Care’, and the pair have also toured together.
It’s all the more confusing because guest artist Nivea previously said that she featured on ‘Tha Carter V’ alongside Drake. “I’m on [the album],” she said on her Genius podcast. “[Wayne] put Drake on the song that he and I did.” However, Drake isn’t credited alongside her on ‘Dope New Gospel’, and he’s nowhere to be seen anywhere else, either.
Is this the final Lil Wayne album?
There’s much discussion on social media when it comes to ‘Tha Carter V’ – namely, is this actually the last ever Lil Wayne solo record? Did the rapper mean it when he claimed he would retire, or was he talking about his five part ‘Carter’ series? Fans aren’t quite sure…