Lil Wayne’s ‘Tha Carter V’ well worth the wait

October 23, 2018 — by Kevin Sze

Lil Wayne opens up about his struggles in long-awaited album "Tha Carter V."

“I actually have something special for y’all,” said rapper Lil Wayne as he walked up a black flight of stairs in a YouTube video titled “Lil Wayne Announces Tha Carter V.”

Wayne stopped on the stairs, turned to face the camera and continued: “I will be releasing ‘Tha Carter V’ on my birthday.”

Wayne proceeded to release his 13th studio album, “Tha Carter V,” on Sept. 28, a day after his birthday. The album contains 23 tracks and reflects Wayne’s personal growth since the release of his lackluster 2013 project “I Am Not A Human Being II” and his 2014 through 2018 feud with rapper and record executive Bryan Williams, more commonly known as Birdman.

According to Billboard, “Tha Carter V” sold 480,000 album units in its first week, sitting behind rapper Drake’s “Scorpion” and rapper Post Malone’s “Beerbongs & Bentleys” for 2018.

The highly anticipated album has been in the making for over four years.

“Tha Carter V” was initially slated to drop on Dec. 9, 2014, but disputes between Wayne and Williams, who signed Wayne to his recording label, Cash Money Records, delayed the album to an undetermined date.

The dispute began when Wayne sued Cash Money Records for $51 million and release from his contract.

What’s transpired since has been an aggressive, strained and sometimes violent relationship between Wayne and Williams.  

Luckily for Wayne and most hip-hop fans, after three years of litigation, Wayne was finally released from the multi-million dollar Cash Money Records deal in June.

Wayne’s independence gave him full control over “Tha Carter V,” and Wayne’s long-awaited project does not disappoint.

Over the four years between the original completion of the album and the release date, Wayne added new songs, such as “Don’t Cry,” which contains a feature from the late XXXTentacion. Wayne took off a verse recorded by Drake that was originally supposed to be on “What About Me” because he felt that it didn’t fit the theme of the song.

In the album, Wayne is open about his struggles, using his signature metaphors and rhyme schemes to make for aggressive flows and more of the hard-hitting lyrics that made Wayne the icon he is now.  

The album also brims with features from rappers and singers, all of whom enhance the songs with fresh combinations that range from R&B to rap.

Wayne’s fifth track on the album, titled “Let It Fly,” which features rapper Travis Scott, describes Wayne’s and Scott’s wealth and their rap ability. The song combines Scott’s laid-back style with Wayne’s effortless flow. Rapper Nicki Minaj produces the most radiant R&B feature in her career on the seventh track, titled “Dark Side of the Moon.”

The biggest hit off of Wayne’s album is “Mona Lisa,” a song featuring Kendrick Lamar. The song has both men breaking out in different voices to portray different perspectives on the story of a jealous boyfriend driven to suicide due to his partner’s infidelity.

The album takes a more introspective nature in its last few songs. On Wayne’s outro, titled “Let It All Work Out,” Wayne reflects on his suicide attempt at the age of 12.

He raps, “Too much was on my conscience to be smart about it/Too torn apart about it, I aim where my heart was pounding.”

The lines mark the first time Wayne has openly rapped about a self-inflicted gunshot wound, which he had previously claimed was an accident.

For fans, “Tha Carter V” is everything we could have hoped for and more. Wayne’s intrigue and longevity in rap is only partially due to his ability to creatively string together stories into songs. More significantly, after all these years, Weezy fans still have much to learn about the rapper through his lyrics.

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