"I'm approaching it like it is my last project – I think that's why it's a lot different than anything else."
Lil Wayne expands on why "Tha Carter V," set for a May release, will likely be his last solo album in the first episode of his "Lil Wayne CRWN" interview, which premiered today on Myspace. The two-part installment was filmed last Friday (March 14) at South By Southwest with hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson, and follows previous interviews with major talents like Drake, Macklemore, R. Kelly, Schoolboy Q, J. Cole and Rick Ross.
"The grind is different – I'm approaching it as if you don't have tomorrow," Lil Wayne continued about "Carter V," noting that the album will have "the usual suspects… my team, you already know that."
Elsewhere in the first half of Wayne's hour-long conversation with Wilson, he reflects on his rapid rise at the age of 16 and the legacy he's ready to leave behind at the still-youthful age of 31. Is he still the same Wayne who proclaimed himself "The Best Rapper Alive" (on 2005's "Carter II") at a time when Jay Z had gone into semi-retirement? "Why don't you say that anymore?" Wilson asked at one point.
"Because I have awesome artists, simple and plain," Wayne replied, referring to his Young Money roster that includes superstars Drake and Nicki Minaj as well as up-and-comers like Tyga and Euro. "At that time I didn't have that, I [didn't] care who on the mic. But now I have artists [and I say], 'I want you to be better than me.' Yes… I want everybody to feel like they're the best at what they do. It ain't about that now – it's about us."
Of course, Kendrick Lamar picked up where Wayne left off last fall with his fire-starting verse on Big Sean's "Control," which inspired one of many sports analogies when Wilson brought it up. "If you hear an older athlete talking about the game, some of them keep it real and let you know, 'I couldn't get out there with these young guys,'" he says. "I hear a Kendrick verse or something [and think], 'Oh man, I'm tired of this, man.' I'm not about to be out here jumping 'I'm the best,' I don't nobody coming at my neck."
"So you feel like a young O.G. now?" Wilson says.
"Triple O.G., fool."
Wayne also doesn't do battles, with Wilson egging him on "Drake vs. Kendrick" headlines. "The music and battling is different. Unless it's a classic battle, I don't think that's music or that people want to hear it more than once, or twice. If you're battling, you're going at somebody, saying you're this that or the third it's good for the time. To actually compare who you're talking about that was cool but that's not music. Music lasts forever. I believe these guys make music, things we can sing years from now. That's what I meant to say, holla at your boy."
Also on the list of rappers Wayne doesn't want to compete with? Kanye. "He did a whole show with a mask on," Wayne said, referencing Kanye's just-wrapped Yeezus Tour. "When he came out with the mask, I was like, 'This ni--a crazy,' so then two songs go by, 'this ni--a crazy, he still got that mask on.' Then three, four, five songs go by, go into intermission and shit, that changed the mask, like, 'that ain't no Kayne out there, that ni--a taller and everything.' That's crazy as hell – y'all know I couldn't do no shit like that."
Episode 2 of Wayne's "CRWN" drops Thursday.