"Tha Carter IV" features collaborations with Drake, Cory Gunz, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes and others.
Lil Wayne says he's making history. "I am extremely excited to be the first artist to utilize such an amazing idea. I hope that I can open the door for others," he said in a statement Monday.
The strategy is similar to that used by Jay-Z and Kanye West for their best-selling "Watch the Throne" collaboration, which was available exclusively on iTunes for several days before hitting physical retailers. It debuted at the top of the charts last week.
Lil Wayne's Grammy-winning "Tha Carter III" was the best-selling album of 2008. He spent most of 2010 in a New York jail after pleading guilty to a weapons charge.
Lil Wayne is up for two VMA awards. The show is scheduled to air live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Lady Gaga, Adele and Chris Brown are also set to perform. Pitbull was just added to the lineup, and Jessie J will be in the house band for the night.
Lady Gaga Will Open MTV VMAs: 'It Means the World to Me'
MTV said there will be no single host this year because it is experimenting with a "nontraditional format."
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