Courtesy Young Money
Outside of the Bermuda Triangle, the mystery of Jimmy Hoffa, and Dr. Dre's Detox, the mythically great topic of conversation in pop culture is Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V. What originally started off as an album delay-turned-pushed back has since become a grassroots movement to "Free Weezy" and "Free Tha Carter V." Since it was first announced in 2011, much has happened in Wayne's World and the road to Carter V. Between assassination attempts, label downsizing, retirement rumors, and ongoing legal drama with his father figure Bryan "Birdman" Willliams and Cash Money Records, the fifth installment in the New Orleans rap vet's coveted album series has been shrouded in mist each passing year.
But while C5 continues to be casted in doubt, every now and then it gets lobbed back into existence thanks to friends like Big Sean, who recently told MTV News "that Carter V on the way too, he told me to say that," or from out of nowhere by people like pharma-bro Martin Shkreli, who shared two tracks off the album.
This summer will mark nearly ten years since Wayne first hinted at Carter V (remember this freestyle?) and so much has happened since its first botched released date. This year also marks five years since Wayne teased the album would be his final release. All that said, who would've thought that we'd end up getting the lost T-Wayne album before C5? At any rate, to reflect on this long, frustrating journey, lets go back in time for a quick minute.
While attending the 2012 X Games in Los Angeles, Wayne tells ESPN that Carter V would arrive "most likely next year."
"Carter V is my last album," Weezy would tell Sway in an interview for MTV. While promoting the sequel to his I Am Not A Human Being album, Wayne revealed C5 would be his final LP. "Man, I've been rapping since I was 8 years old. I'm 30 now, man. That's a long time, man."
Wayne releases I Am Not A Human Being 2 to mixed reviews. The album receives an "S" rating from XXL, the lowest score in the publication's review metrics. Aware of the dismal reviews, Wayne takes to Twitter in August and apologizes to fans.
Noticed I wasn't nominated nor involved n da MTV VMA's nor da BET awards...I apologize to my fans and I promise 2 work harder if it kills me— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) August 25, 2013
Lil Wayne drops the fifth installment in his Dedication series, leading fans to speculate C5's arrival.
Cash Money's Mel Smith reveals that C5 could be a surprise release. In an interview with The Griffin, Smith says the following: “We’re very close to dropping the album. It’s going to be a huge surprise to everyone, it’s an incredible album… I can’t release the date because he wants to surprise people, he wants his true fan base to get excited but he’s worked extremely hard on it and you won’t be disappointed.” If that wasn't enough, during NBA All-Star Weekend, Drake announces the following:
"Carter V May 5th, that's all we focused on." - @Drake— Word On Road (@WordOnRd) February 15, 2014
Weezy would later announce a weekly series that previews new music and provides updates surrounding his world and more, dubbed "Weezy Wednesdays."
The first official promo for Carter V kickstarts with Kobe Bryant releasing a teaser photo for the album on Twitter. Days later Floyd Mayweather would be drafted for another promo clip, releasing a video clip of Lil Wayne and Drake in the studio.
The first official single from Carter V arrives and it's a collaboration with Drake, titled "Believe Me."
Days after dropping "Believe Me," Wayne drops "D'usse" as part of his "Weezy Wednesdays" series. The record features a shoutout to Jay Z, the original endorser of the D'usse spirit: "This motherf–kin’ D’usse got me sweatin’ and shi–. Word to God. Hov, f–k wit' ya boy."
Lil Wayne reconnects with Mannie Fresh. After a long hiatus from collaborations, Mannie and Wayne reunite on stage at Bonaroo and eventually the studio.
Continuing the C5 rollout, Weezy drops another freebie, "Krazy."
Wayne appears on ESPN's SportsCenter and First Take to unveil the official artwork for the album and announces an October 28th release. He also announces a joint tour with Drake, fittingly titled the Drake Vs. Lil Wayne tour, and releases another collaboration titled, "Grindin."
In an interview with Power 106, Kendrick hints at a possible appearance on Carter V. "Can I say that? Am I on the Carter V? Umm.. I wouldn’t know… I don’t wanna say."
As Carter V is nowhere to be found, Wayne releases a PSA detailing the album. He unveils the LP will now be a double disc that would drop in two parts. As the first taste from this new LP, Wayne releases "Gotti" featuring The Lox. Part 1 of the album receives a December 9th release date.
Weezy releases another single off the project, "Start a Fire" featuring Christina Milian. He performs the single at the American Music Awards.
Wayne shocks the world and announces that he is a "prisoner" to Cash Money and calls out Birdman for stalling Carter V's release. In a string of tweets, he states the following: "I am truly and deeply sorry to all my fans but most of all to myself and my family for putting us in this situation... I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy… I am a prisoner and so is my creativity."
To all my fans, I want u to know that my album won't and hasn't been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it.— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) December 4, 2014
I am a prisoner and so is my creativity Again,I am truly sorry and I don't blame ya if ya fed up with waiting 4 me & this album. But thk u— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) December 4, 2014
After dropping the free mixtape Sorry 4 the Wait 2, Wayne files a $51 million lawsuit against Cash Money claiming that the label has held back money he's owed for Tha Carter V. He also asks the judge to declare him the joint copyright holder of everything released under the label, including releases from Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Multiple gunshots are fired at Lil Wayne's tour bus following an appearance at Compound nightclub in Atlanta. Several members of Young Money were inside the vehicle, but no one sustained any injuries. Jimmy Carlton Winfrey is later arrested in connection to the crime and is sentenced to 20 years. Winfrey is reportedly an associate of Birdman and Young Thug.
Wayne joins Jay Z as a co-owner of Tidal and drops "Glory," the first single off his newly announced LP, The Free Weezy Album. The album eventually arrives on July 4th in light of Independence Day.
Wayne drops No Ceilings 2 mixtape.
2 Chainz drops ColleGrove with Lil Wayne. The album was originally intended to be a duet album, however due to Wayne's label issues, the album doesn't credit him as a primary artist. ColleGrove gets released through Def Jam Recordings and does not count towards Weezy's Cash Money contractual obligation.
Lil Wayne hints at retirement, tells fans "I'm done." The tweet stirs widespread from the music industry, as fans and artists pour out support for the rapper.
I AM NOW DEFENSELESS AND mentally DEFEATED & I leave gracefully and thankful I luh my fanz but I'm dun— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 3, 2016
get Birdman on the phone. https://t.co/pYr0WIeaYY— Yung Rénzél 🏇 (@RickRoss) September 3, 2016
Dear @LilTunechi I just wanna remind you that absolutely nothing and no one in this world can defeat you. Tell them devils back back.— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) September 3, 2016
I hope you find some solace in the act of creating and continue to practice in some capacity the art which you helped progress @LilTunechi— DROGASLight Out Now! (@LupeFiasco) September 3, 2016
dot f weezy. https://t.co/40xY4fpejj— diablo (@ABletsC) September 9, 2016
Wayne drops "Grateful" featuring Gudda Gudda as Carter V remains in label purgatory.
Lil Wayne sits with REVOLT TV, and said that being unable to release music was more hurtful, to him, than his time in prison. "This is definitely worse," Weezy told REVOLT. "[In jail] I had a reason and I knew what my wall was. I knew what my barrier was and the wall had a date to fall. Now every single day it feels like that muthaf-cka is getting higher and higher, but we gonna get over it."
Disgraced pharmaceutical exec Martin Shkreli reveals during an online live stream that he acquired Weezy's infinitely-delayed Carter V album.
As a guest on Travis Scott and Chase B's Beats 1 radio show .wav Radio, Birdman speaks on the status of C5, revealing, "Carter V coming out." After being asked about the LP and its undeclared release, the Cash Money head states, "It's definitely coming out. The situation with me and my son, bruh—I'ma put all of that behind us and just let it move forward." Wayne would reportedly call this a bluff.
In the same month, the Louisianimal teased a new track off the album, titled "Life of Mr. Carter."
Lil Wayne says "C5 coming soon. F*ck Cash Money. It's the Roc." pic.twitter.com/aZlj3mXC9V— Hot Freestyle (@hotfreestyie) April 29, 2017
Martin Shkreli adds proof to the pudding and previews two songs supposedly from Tha Carter V. Via a live stream, he plays "The Life of Carter," and "Mona Lisa." The latter features a verse from Kendrick Lamar and Shkreli himself describes the record as "The best song on the damn thing." Not before long, TMZ reports that Wayne is demanding for Shkreli to turn in his copy of the album, and that Wayne's lawyers have sent cease and desist letters to Shkreli for leaking songs online.
In addition to the lawsuit, Wayne appears in music news after T-Pain releases T-Wayne, the long-delayed collaborative album promised back in 2009. Taking to SoundCloud, Pain drops eight tracks from the vault. The collection of songs quickly amass over a million streams.
As of now, the wait to C5 continues.