The treacherous journey of Lil Wayne‘s much-delayed Tha Carter V album is finally expected to finally come to an end on Friday (Sept. 28) when the anticipated effort is slated for release, after originally being announced in 2012. Weezy moved relatively quickly after reaching a settlement with Cash Money Records in June to become the sole owner of Young Money Entertainment.
Although he’s taken a significantly different journey than his rap compatriots — it’s been seven years since Tha Carter IV — the 36-year-old is next to have the spotlight on him in a stacked lineup of superstars that have already released albums in 2018. The 504 native, along with his team, have remained tight-lipped about the project — which he claimed to be his final studio album over four years ago.
“I’m very much a perfectionist. I don’t know what it’s setting me up for — some big comeback, or maybe some big fall back or whatever — but it’s setting me up for something, and I’m ready,” Wayne relayed to Billboard earlier in September. With Weezy’s legacy already cemented, the possible culmination of one of hip-hop’s most acclaimed series will undoubtedly set up the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” for the next era of his career. No pressure, Wayne.
As the hours tick down until Tha Carter V‘s release, here are five things we want from Lil Wayne on his latest LP.
Open Up as a Songwriter
Wayne’s lyrical gymnastics have solidified him as a fixture inside rap’s mythical pantheon. The world’s eyes will once again be focused on Weezy come Friday (Sept. 28), with the likely final episode of Tha Carter series releasing. On CIII deep cut “DontGetIt,” the New Orleans native ingeniously rapped, “I wear my heart on my sleeve like it’s the new fashion.” That is exactly what we are looking for 10 years later: Bare it all, Wayne. After being muzzled by lawsuits for much of the decade, here is Weezy’s chance to truly let listeners into his world once again — following a few signature lighter flicks — by connecting with his audience in an authentic fashion.
In his recent Billboard cover story, Wayne divulged that he added lyrics to the album’s outro after learning of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides, to touch on the bombshell of a suicide attempt of his own at 12-years-old, where he shot himself after his mother told him he wasn’t allowed to rap. Luckily, the bullet just missed penetrating his heart. Earlier in his career, Weezy recounted the incident as just an accident but has decided to open up about the truth with the world (he hinted at this with his 2016 verse on Solange’s “Mad”). Hopefully, more peeks into the Young Money CEO’s personal life are on the horizon.
More Drake, Less Nicki Minaj
One of Lil Wayne’s greatest career achievements has been discovering and signing Drake and Nicki Minaj to his Young Money Entertainment imprint. Wayne played an integral role in developing both of his artists from understudies to full-blown superstars, both of whom have both dominated the industry for much of the decade.
Drake was heavily involved with C5‘s original creation, appearing on what was supposed to be the album’s lead single with the five-minute anthem “Believe Me,” which saw Weezy at another level compared to the raps he was on at the time. As the 6 God evolved into the biggest rap star on the planet, it’s only right he connects with his mentor once again with multiple appearances on C5. R&B singer Nivea recently stated on The M+M+M Show that she is slated for a cameo on a Tha Carter V track that already features Drizzy. Weezy and the OVO frontman have long brought the best out of each other, on records ranging from Carter IV standout “She Will” to So Far Gone‘s “Ignant Shit” freestyle.
At one point earlier in the decade, Wayne and Nicki Minaj made for a deadly combination, sharing the stage on a number of lethal tracks. That hitmaking formula has since lost a good deal of its buzz and faded to the wayside. If the underwhelming “Rich Sex,” their latest collab from Minaj’s Queen album, is any indication of their best effort, the Young Money pair can just save listeners from wasting their time, because 2012 is clearly in the rearview.
— Drizzy (@Drake) February 10, 2014
Keep a Compact Tracklist
Throughout the Tha Carter series, Lil Wayne has seemingly been allergic to keeping things concise. Music was also just at a different time, prior to the streaming era, when extended projects were in a thriving environment and Wayne’s unwavering work ethic didn’t allow him to stop recording new music.
With each Carter album eclipsing the 75-minute mark, one would think he plans on keeping that tradition alive, especially compounded by the fact it’s been seven years between projects. Wayne definitely has a lot to say, but that can still be economically allocated over 14 hard-hitting tracks, without a wasted breath from Tunechi, properly adjusting to the streaming era while appealing to his younger fanatics.
Update Punchlines for 2018
The 36-year-old has become synonymous with bristling punchlines, cheeky jabs, and descriptive metaphors weaved into his rhymes over the course of his illustrious career. Weezy has been a culture critic through rapping, and always seemed to be up on the latest pop culture trends, ranging from his beloved Green Bay Packers to Will Smith as detective Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys.
This week produced the viral cringeworthy laugh of Toronto Raptors’ star Kawhi Leonard, something that definitely would’ve been up Weezy’s alley to include. Let’s hope Wayne has updated some of the references on songs that were made years ago, allowing fans to have an easier time deciphering the New Orleans rapper’s quips, in a more timely manner.
Take the Next Step in Rebuilding the Young Money Empire
As previously mentioned, Lil Wayne’s hall-of-fame resume is already solidified as one of the all-time greats. With that said, Tha Carter V will provide a launching point as to where Weezy pivots in the next phase of his career. Lil Tunechi also regained control as the primary proprietor of Young Money Entertainment, allowing him maximum flexibility with his business ventures going forward. Teaming up with 14 acclaimed designers and Bravado for the official C5 merchandise collection is definitely a good start branding-wise.
Does Wayne end up following in the mogul footsteps of his predecessors such as JAY-Z or Diddy? A lot of the next generation’s trust in him with their careers may hinge on the feeling coming out of Tha Carter V. Either way, Lil Wayne has earned the right to be globally celebrated, even if it is just for one weekend.
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 26, 2018