Sorry for the wait, but Lil Wayne‘s elusive Tha Carter V album finally arrived Friday (Sept. 28). The culmination of Tha Carter series follows an exhausting legal battle for Weezy’s creative freedom, health scares, label issues and a half-decade of eccentricities. Wayne was freed from the grasp of Cash Money Records and his mentor Birdman after settling a lawsuit in June for an undisclosed sum to become the sole owner of his Young Money Entertainment label.
After rising through the hip-hop ranks over the last decade to the point where he claimed to be the “best rapper alive,” Weezy proved his worth as an elite lyricist with Tha Carter (2004) and Tha Carter II (2005). The 504 native later achieved pop-star status with an array of hits, most notably his 2008 Hot 100 chart-topping single “Lollipop.” With a voluminous discography, which spans over 20 years, fans were antsy, as the wait for Tha Carter V grew increasingly long and confusing.
Thankfully, Weezy is lyrically in his bag once again on C5, which enlists a star-studded lineup of guests that includes, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, XXXTentacion, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Ashanti and more. Don’t fret, Wayne doesn’t disappoint when going toe-to-toe with his high-profile compatriots, or from dropping the kind of fire lines we’ve come to expect from him.
The drought is over. Here are our 10 lines of choice from Weezy F. Baby after sifting through Tha Carter V.
“It’s alive, it’s alive, I’m revived, it’s C5/ Been arrived, kiss the sky, did the time/ Please advise it is advise or be advised/ You not fuck with me and mine/ And keep in mind, we do not mind losing our minds.” – “Let It Fly” Feat. Travis Scott
Back in 2014, Travis Scott tweeted about notching a collab with Wayne he was hopeful he would end up making Tha Carter V. “Me and Wayne did something crazy for C5. On my mama, I’m gonna cry if that album don’t come out,” he wrote. Well, hold back those tears La Flame, as “Let It Fly” found its way onto the mythical project four years later, locking in at track No. 5. Weezy takes the baton from Scott, letting listeners immediately know he’s back and better than ever. Consider this a warning shot to those remaining an obstacle in his way on the road to greatness.
— Tony M Centeno –?– (@_tonyMC) September 28, 2018
“It’s a shit show, put you front row/ Talkin’ shit, bro? Let your tongue show/ Money over bitches and the bottom hoes/ That is still my favorite love quote/ Put the gun inside, what the fuck for/ I sleep with the gun, then she don’t snore.” – “Uproar”
Lil Wayne previously rapped over this Swizz Beatz-produced Instrumental for Dedication 4 standout “Green Ranger” featuring J. Cole. This time, the former child prodigy exudes an all-too-familiar rhyme scheme when he somehow connects his love life with the street life and gang banging again. First, Weezy lets us know that his wealth always reigns supreme over the women beside him at that moment, like his Carter II deep cut “Money On My Mind.” He finishes off the bar by funnily telling listeners he still sleeps with the gun by his side, rather than a woman, because at least weapons don’t snore at night.
“She tell ‘im, ‘Ooh, daddy, let’s go to your place/ And if he say, ‘Yeah’, then we meet him there/ She feed him lies with his silverware/ She don’t want love, she just want her share.” – “Mona Lisa” Feat. Kendrick Lamar
The ominous “Mona Lisa” may sound familiar since a snippet was leaked on a live stream by the infamous incarcerated Pharma Bro, Martin Shkreli, who got his hands on an early copy of Tha Carter V, after purchasing the unreleased album from someone who found the project in Wayne’s old Bugatti.
“Mona Lisa” finds the hip-hop heavyweights at their best, as Wayne connects with Kendrick, who seemingly pried the best performance out of each other. Two of the best storytellers in hip-hop do just that and the collaboration looks to be an early fan-favorite on the project. Weezy masterminds a plan to use a girl’s connection to her guy friend in order to have him set up for an embarrassing robbery. On the other hand, Kendrick is ashamed at what transpired and commits suicide as a result, which is mentioned later on the album.
Martin Shkreli Leaks 2 Lil Wayne ‘Carter V’ Tracks, One Features Kendrick Lamar (AUDIO) https://t.co/WOSbybjVYW
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 3, 2017
“I sip from the fountain of youth/ So if I die young, blame the juice/ Bury me in New Orleans/ Tombstone reads ‘Don’t cry, stay tuned/ Bring me back to life/ Got to lose a life just to have a life/ But if heaven’s as good as advertised/ I want a triple extension on my motherfuckin’ afterlife/ Rest in paradise – “Don’t Cry” Feat. XXXTentacion
Track No. 2 features a few signature lighter flicks as Wayne posthumously connects with XXXTentacion. The somber “Don’t Cry” is reminiscent of Wayne’s previous desolate tales, ones on which he teases his own death and despair on The Drought Is Over 2 mixtape classic “I Feel Like Dying.” Weezy realizes that if he does indeed pass away at an early age, his lean addiction was probably to blame. For Wayne, the purple drank has already played a major role in his previous seizure episodes. On “Don’t Cry,” he implements shrewd wordplay with X’s name to pay tribute to the fallen rapper who was gunned down in June.
“And I’m sittin’ here reading about what I do, what I didn’t/ I ruined relationships before my image but/ All I ever wanted was everybody’s attention/ Cause most people are nobody ’til somebody kill em/ Probably thought that my career, be short and sweet/ Wishin’ I was in your shoes, I’d take them off and find a beach.” – “Famous” Feat. Reginae Carter
Weezy’s eldest daughter, Reginae Carter, wished her father a happy 36th birthday on Instagram Thursday (Sept. 27) and unveiled she would, in fact, be featured on Carter V. Wayne follows the 19-year-old’s impressively intoxicating hook by opening up about his struggles adjusting to fame at such a young age. Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter, admits that he just wanted to capture America’s attention with his rapping ability, but had no idea what celebrity life would entail because he figured his time in the limelight would only be a short stint. If he could switch with the common person now, Wayne would wander off to find his own private beach.
**sings** Happy birthday to yaaaa ! Happy birthday to ya ! I love you so much ! It’s crazy it’s your birthday and you’re gifting the world on your day ! ICONIC! I can’t wait till your fans finally hear C5 ! You’ve worked so hard and we’ve all waited so long and it’s finally here !! And plus , I’m on dat bihh —- love you so much ! We’re about to turn up ! Period —
“You can’t spell fame, without me/ And may my Hall of Fame speech be short and sweet/ Like Thank God, fuck fame and thank me/ Cause superstars don’t sparkle, superstars beam/ I was your main man, ’til I went mainstream.” – “Famous” Feat. Reginae Carter
Wayne continues to close out the Ace-produced tune’s first verse on a powerful note. First, he jokingly points out that you can’t spell fame without “me,” as he goes on to straight up say, “Fuck fame.” The diehard Los Angeles Lakers fan gets reflective about his career, reminiscing on his decision to bring his movement to mainstream America. Weezy F. then candidly speaks directly to the fans he may have lost with that business decision.
“I’ma cut this music down/ Tell ’em put they apps up/ Tell ’em throw they pride out/ Roll them windows back up/ Money in the air, who say white men can’t jump?” – “Hittas”
“Hittas” opens with a sample of Wayne’s deposition, when he was pressed about performing at the Virgin Mobile Music Fest in 2008, prompting Weezy to troll the interrogator about giving a performance at a voluptuous woman’s birthday party. Drake even makes an abbreviated cameo with additional vocals. Vintage Weezy shows through with a pop-culture reference to the 1992 classic film White Men Can’t Jump. The popular tagline can be interpreted in a few ways. One that comes to mind, when the “Lollipop” rapper throws money in the air at the strip club, white politicians’ faces printed across the dollar bills are temporarily flying. Another could be a commentary on white people holding a majority of the wealth in America, causing issues with systemic inequality in the United States.
“Too torn apart about it, I aim where my heart was pounding/ I shot it, and I woke up with blood all around me/ It’s mine, I didn’t die, but as I was dying/ God came to my side and we talked about it/ He sold me another life and he made a prophet.” – “Let It All Work Out”
This is Wayne at his most vulnerable state. At 36 years-old, Weezy shares that when he shot himself as a kid, it was really a suicide attempt, because his mother wouldn’t allow him to rap. His mind races back to the moment he realized what had just happened, after waking up soaked in his own blood. The New Orleans-bred MC believed it was divine that he would parlay his survival into something bigger than himself one day. Wayne’s mother admits on the track’s outro that she never could muster up the courage to ask Wayne if the shooting was really an accident.
“He just told me one day that he was ready to address it now,” Mack Maine tells Billboard. “Just being an adult, reaching a level of maturity and comfort where it’s like, ‘I want to talk about this because I know a lot of people out here might be going through that.'”
“I don’t get too high to look over blessings/ Never come in second, make the most of your seconds/ They so precious/ Cause if we could buy time every store would sell it.” – “Open Letter”
“Another track that finds Weezy being brutally honest with the world. Wayne pleads that he recognizes the blessings in his life and that he’s not too high under the influence of drugs to be disconnected from his life’s reality. Death is used as a frequent theme, whether that’s physically dying or the thought of retiring from hip-hop. “The dirt under your feet could be the grave. You don’t know how dead you feel until you’re dead for real,” he frightfully rapped earlier on “Open Letter.” He closes with a funny — but probably true — theory that time is the only luxury that can’t be bought in stores.
“You always see me with the white cup/ Some people say that is a bad look/ But take a good look at what you are lookin’ at/ You never know when it’s your last look/ It’s written all over my face/ These tattoos, they can’t be erased/ One of a kind, I can’t be replaced.” – “Dope New Gospel” Feat. Nivea
Wayne harps on his struggles with lean on the Nivea-assisted “Dope New Gospel.” He realizes that the Styrofoam cup is probably a bad look as a role model for the younger generation, combined with the fact it has severely hampered his health in recent years. Following the tragic deaths of multiple celebrities due to drug overdoses, Wayne wants everyone to really not take him — and whoever else they are a fan of — for granted going forward. Retirement could be a possibility as the Grammy Award-winner contemplates the next step for his Young Money empire. Wayne unapologetically boasts that he’s an irreplaceable figure in hip-hop and a truly one-of-a-kind character that the genre’s never seen before he arrived on the scene.