Lil Wayne released his much-delayed and highly anticipated Tha Carter V album on Thursday at midnight.
Tha Carter V features rapping from Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and Snoop Dogg, singing from Nicki Minaj, Ashanti and Nivea, and vocals from XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed earlier this year. The final song includes a prominent sample of the English singer Sampha. Production on the album comes courtesy of longtime collaborator Mannie Fresh, Swizz Beatz, Metro Boomin, Ben Billions and many others.
This album has been a long time coming: Lil Wayne first announced Tha Carter V in 2012, following the 2011 release of Tha Carter IV. But the fifth installment of Wayne’s series, which began in 2004 when he was just 22, was mired in label delays for over five years.
The album was first supposed to come out in 2014; Drake joined Wayne on “Believe Me,” which was going to be the lead single. Days before a possible December release date, however, Wayne took to Twitter to announce that his mentor and Cash Money label head Brian “Birdman” Williams “refuse[d] to release” the album. “I am a prisoner and so is my creativity,” Wayne tweeted at the time. “I am truly sorry and I don’t blame ya if ya fed up with waiting 4 me & this album,” he added.
In January of 2015, Wayne sued Cash Money, demanding $51 million and the right to sever his ties with the label. Later that year, when the rapper attempted to release another project, the Free Weezy Album, through Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal, Cash Money reportedly hit back by suing Tidal for $50 million, though this suit was allegedly filed improperly and eventually dropped. Read more