Tha Carter V

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Tha Carter V
Carterfive.jpeg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 28, 2018
Recorded2012–2018
GenreHip hop
Length87:43
Label
Producer
Lil Wayne chronology
Dedication 6: Reloaded
(2018)
Tha Carter V
(2018)
Singles from The Carter V
  1. "Uproar"
    Released: October 5, 2018

Tha Carter V is the twelfth studio album by American rapper Lil Wayne. It was released on September 28, 2018, by Young Money Entertainment, Republic Records and Universal Music Group.[1] The album's features include Swizz Beatz, XXXTentacion, Wayne's mother Jacida Carter, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Sosamann, Wayne's daughter Reginae Carter, Snoop Dogg, Ashanti, Mack Maine, Nivea, Post Malone, and Gucci Mane.

Originally planned to be released in 2014, Tha Carter V experienced several delays as a result of contractual disputes between Lil Wayne and Cash Money Records, as well as his numerous personal disputes with label-head, Birdman. Following a lengthy legal battle, Lil Wayne was confirmed to have been released from his contract with Cash Money in June 2018 and announced the release of the album in September. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with the second-largest streaming week for an album.

Background[edit]

In November 2012, Lil Wayne announced Tha Carter V would be his final album;[2][3] he previously stated he would retire at the age of 35; he explained that he had four kids and he "would feel selfish still going to the studio when it's such a vital point in their lives".[4] In April 2014, Wayne addressed his Carter V release: "I personally plan on this being my final solo album, yes, and it's definitely the final Carter album. It's the final Carter album. It's stopping at five. I didn't smile when I said it...I plan on it being my final solo album. Whenever I have to pitch in for a Young Money album, a Like Father, Like Son album and something like that and maybe something out the blue, but the way I'm working on this album, it's to me, the way it seems like now, it seems like it'll be impossible for me to work this hard again for anything else."[5]

In May 2014, when asked about Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne said the album is all about "growth" and that his music is "supposed to be personal": "Tha Carter V is about growth, flat-out. My thoughts are wiser. I still say what I want to say—it just sounds better and makes more sense. That all comes with growth and maturity. I never try to send messages through music. Music is about self. It's supposed to be personal, a reflection of me, unless you have somebody writing it for you, and everybody know I'm not that artist. I'm not sending a message because that message may not get across. Whatever message you take from it is your choice."[6]

In July 2014, in an interview with XXL, he spoke about the album, saying: "I was feeling the success of Tha Carter I. I felt like people wanted to hear me. I was amped to do that, but then Tha Carter III? I don't know what happened. It was amazing. And then Tha Carter IV was just unexplainable, and now this one here, there are no words. I just hope everyone likes it. I'm always feeling like I ain't done shit. I'm still nervous about Tha Carter V...But I'm confident about what I do, though I'm still nervous about what people think."[7]

Recording and production[edit]

In May 2014, Lil Wayne's longtime record producer, former Cash Money artist Mannie Fresh, announced he would be reuniting with Wayne on Tha Carter V.[8] The collaboration marks the first time in 10 years that Fresh and Wayne worked together, not since 2004, when Wayne released Tha Carter and Fresh subsequently severed ties with the Cash Money Records.[9] Also in May 2014, Atlanta-based rapper and producer Soulja Boy, who previously produced "Wowzerz" from I Am Not a Human Being II (2013) for Lil Wayne, announced he was working with Wayne on the fifth installment of Tha Carter series.[10] In June 2014, Atlanta-based record producer Mike Will Made It, revealed "I got three records with Lil Wayne for Tha Carter V".[11] In July 2014, Lil Wayne's frequent collaborator DVLP confirmed he had produced songs for Tha Carter V.[12] While on the red carpet of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in California on August 24, West Coast hip hop producer DJ Mustard confirmed to MTV that Lil Wayne will be rapping over one of his beats on the album.[13] In April 2016, New York-based record producer Myles William, revealed to the Arizona State Press, that he would produce a track for Tha Carter V. [14]

A good amount of songs from Tha Carter V were recorded years before the album's release. "Mona Lisa" featuring Kendrick Lamar was recorded in 2014 and was intended to be on the 2014 release of the album. The song was teased after Martin Shkreli was able to acquire the project in 2016 and the song was played on livestream.[15] The song "What About Me" originally featured Drake and was recorded in 2015.[16] Post Malone was supposed to be added to the song in the week before release, though he wasn't on the final release,[17] possibly due to the verse not being finished.

Tha Carter V was mastered by Colin Leonard at SING Mastering, and was mixed by Fabian Marasciullo.[16]

Release and promotion[edit]

In July 2012, Lil Wayne said that the album would be released in 2013.[18] On February 10, 2014, Lil Wayne's Young Money signee, Canadian recording artist Drake, tweeted "CARTER V".[19] On October 18, 2013, Cash Money Records' Vice President of Promotion Mel Smith, tweeted: "Happy Friday!! New YMCMB music coming soon!! Carter 5."[20] On February 15, 2014, during the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities at Sprite's NBA All-Star concert at the House of Blues in New Orleans, Lil Wayne appeared as a special guest during Drake's set and performed various hits. Wayne and Drake then broke the news that Tha Carter V was set to be released on May 5, 2014.[21] On March 27, 2014, Wayne's manager Cortez Bryant announced that the album had been delayed.[22][23]

On April 28, 2014, Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant revealed what some speculated would be Tha Carter V album cover, via online photo-sharing and social networking service Instagram.[5][24] Talking with ESPN, Wayne spoke about using athletes to promote the album, such as Kobe Bryant: "'Carter V Season' was all Kobe," Lil Wayne said when asked about Bryant's contribution. "He came up with it. I saw that and thought, 'That's dope as hell,' so that's what we're calling the [album] campaign. I thanked him. Then we thought about Floyd."[6][25] In July 2014, in an interview with MTV News, Wayne spoke about when the album would be released, saying: "I'm so not good with that. I think it drops either in September and then we have...ah I can't tell you the sneak thing. Anyway, yeah, I think it drops in September or August."[26]

From August to September 2014, Lil Wayne embarked on a concert tour alongside Drake, billed Drake vs. Lil Wayne.[27][28] On August 14, 2014, Lil Wayne appeared on ESPN's First Take, where he unveiled the cover art for Tha Carter V, which features Wayne's mother: "It's perfect," Wayne said. "I always go with a baby picture. I wanted to go with one with my mama this time...To have my mom on there is more than an accomplishment. It's an achievement."[29] During the ESPN interview, Wayne also announced that the album would be released on October 28, 2014.[30] On October 28, 2014, Wayne released a Public Service Announcement (PSA), where he revealed the album had been delayed due to the album's tentative track list having over 31 songs. During the PSA, he stated that he worked too hard and refuses to cheat his fans and himself, therefore he came up with a way to give his fans every song he has recorded for the album, announcing: "the first part of the Carter V album will be dropping December 9. Stay tuned for the next part of the album".[31][32][33][34]

On December 4, 2014, just five days before the album was due to be released, Wayne issued a statement saying the album would not be released on its expected release date, due to his displeasure with Cash Money Records label-boss Birdman not wanting to release the album although it had been completed. Wayne also expressed his feelings by stating he felt both he and his creativity were being held "prisoner".[35][36] On January 20, 2015, Wayne self-released Sorry 4 the Wait 2, a mixtape to compensate for the continued delay of Tha Carter V. It is the sequel to 2011's Sorry 4 the Wait, which served the same purpose during the delay of his ninth album, Tha Carter IV (2011).[37][38] Upon Sorry for the Wait 2's release, it was noted Wayne disses Birdman and Cash Money Records several times throughout the mixtape.[39][40][41] Birdman was reported to be upset with this.[42]

Despite his legal battle with Cash Money, Lil Wayne claims to have authority over when and how the album gets released. He spoke in an interview,[43] stating: "Of course you're going to see Tha Carter V. I just don't want to put it out the wrong way. Honestly, I can do what I want at any time. The fans deserve it to be right and that's how it's gonna be. I'ma make sure it's right. I can drop whatever I want to drop. That's why I keep dropping whatever I want to drop. But I'm not gonna give them Carter V the wrong way."

Wayne appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and played the song "Dedicate".

On November 10, 2018, Wayne released 3 additional songs, "What About Me (feat. Post Malone,)" "Hasta La Vista," and "In This House (featuring Gucci Mane)"[44]

On November 10th 2018, Lil Wayne performed two songs, "Can't Be Broken" with surprise guest Halsey and "Uproar" with Swizz Beatz, from the album on Saturday Night Live.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic72/100[45]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[46]
The A.V. ClubB[47]
Clash8/10[48]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[49]
Exclaim!7/10[50]
NME3/5 stars[51]
The Observer3/5 stars[52]
Pitchfork7.4/10[53]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[54]
XXL4/5[55]

Tha Carter V received positive reviews from critics, with many considering it to be his best album since Tha Carter III but criticizing its length. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 72, based on fourteen reviews.[45] A.D. Amorosi of Variety gave a very positive review, writing, "Musically, despite the age of some of the songs, V is fresh, flush and even frenetic at times, with the crunch of the Southern trap and ropey rap-rock sounds that Wayne pretty much started in the first place."[56] Evan Rytlewski of Pitchfork said, "The long-delayed album captures Wayne how we want to remember him: openhearted, word-drunk, and exhilarated by the possibilities of his own versatility", and that "the most surprising takeaway from Tha Carter V, it turns out, isn't that Wayne still has music this vital in him. It's that after all these years, there's still more to learn about him."[53] Hanif Abdurraqib of Entertainment Weekly said, "Wayne is, by nature, an exciting rapper. His breathless, consistently accelerating flow is still present here, though not varied enough to work as well as it once did back in the day."[49] Mitch Findlay of HotNewHipHop said, "Tha Carter V seemed destined for anticlimax. Luckily, Weezy made sure to revisit his project with modern sensibilities, imbuing the album with a sense of wisdom he may not possessed upon its initial conception. As a result, Tha Carter V feels insightful enough to appease those seeking something new from Wayne, while staying familiar enough for the ones who simply missed the flourishment of rap's elder statesman."[57] Phyllis Vance from Rolling Stone said, "It's an album full of poignant bars, fire, and passion from an artist who doesn't have anything left to prove", and that "Tha Carter V can't compare to the first three point five Carter installments, or his epochal 2005-2007 mixtape run. But it doesn't need to."[54] Thomas Hobbs from Highsnobiety said, “It might not be the best in the Carter series, but it's potentially the most important, paving the way for a new chapter in Weezy's career where more philosophical lyricism should allow him to transition into the role of a rap elder statesman, a lot like JAY-Z did with 4:44. Tha Carter V is a testament to the notion that when its creator is feeling up to the task, he has the look and feel of one of the greats.”[58] The staff of XXL magazine said, "The album is indeed , as much for the journey that led to its release as the previously unseen layers that Weezy reveals."[55] Erin Hannon from Exclaim! said, "Relationships with women are at the forefront of Tha Carter V, including a desperate cry for help from his mother on "I Love You Dwayne," which leads into the sorrowful "Don't Cry," featuring a chorus from the late XXXTENTACION. ... Despite the revelations, the album is not without its expected bangers."[50] Andy Kellman of AllMusic said, "Almost 90 minutes in length, it's pieced together with material recorded from years to weeks ahead of release, and one cut goes back to resemble an early-2000s crossover bid, from its smoothly melodic Mannie Fresh production to its Ashanti hook. A greater portion forms a sluggish, indistinct mass... For all the excess and buildup, this exhibits Wayne on an upswing, lucid and invigorated."[46]

However, Jordan Bassett of NME gave the album a more mixed review, stating that "It could have been his emotional swansong, and much of this long-delayed album is an elegiac homage to Lil Wayne's outlier status as an elder statesman of hip-hop. Sadly, he cheapens himself on Tha Carter V", later clarifying the reason as 'misogyny'". Jon Sorentino Caramanica from The New York Times said, "Excess bravado was always a part of his proposition, but this album drags and seeps, with long stretches of shrugs in between moments of invention."[59] Lil Wayne can still spew bars with dizzying dexterity, but his self-editing isn't great; there are terrific beats (Uproar) and lame ones (Took His Time). Mona Lisa is a piece of storytelling noir in which Wayne goes head-to-head with Kendrick Lamar, and does not come out lacking. It's not that C5 is too little, too late; more that the baton between the generations passed some time ago.[52]

Accolades[edit]

Publication List Rank Ref.
Complex The 50 Best Albums of 2018
18

Commercial performance[edit]

Tha Carter V debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 480,000 album-equivalent units, including 140,000 pure album sales. It had the second-largest streaming week for an album with 433 million streams. The record is also Lil Wayne's fourth US number-one album.[61] It is his third album to top Canadian Albums Chart, opening at number one there with 24,000 consumption units.[62] As of November 19, 2018, Tha Carter V had accumulated 1 million album-equivalent units in the United States.[63]

The album debuted at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart, giving Wayne his highest charting album in the United Kingdom.

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[64]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."I Love You Dwayne"Jacida Carter 2:00
2."Don't Cry" (featuring XXXTentacion)
  • Ben Billions
  • Z3N
4:09
3."Dedicate"
  • Galvez
  • Roc & Mayne
  • Louie Haze
3:09
4."Uproar" (featuring Swizz Beatz)3:13
5."Let It Fly" (featuring Travis Scott)
  • Sevn Thomas
  • Drtwrk
3:06
6."Can't Be Broken"
  • Ben Billions
  • Troelsen
3:13
7."Dark Side of the Moon" (featuring Nicki Minaj)
  • Bloque
  • Christian[a]
4:02
8."Mona Lisa" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
5:24
9."What About Me" (featuring Sosamann)
3:36
10."Open Letter"
  • D. Carter
  • Rodriguez
  • Diehl
  • Infamous
  • Ben Billions
  • Nick the Piff
4:29
11."Famous" (featuring Reginae Carter)
  • Sham "Sak Pase" Joseph
  • Harris
4:02
12."Problems"
Zaytoven3:28
13."Dope Niggaz" (featuring Snoop Dogg)
3:25
14."Hittas"
  • D. Carter
  • Andrew Jones
  • Maurice Jordan
  • Tasha Baxter
  • Andre Scheepers
  • Torrence Hatch
  • Robert Gonzalez
  • Taquari Hatch
Jayones3:43
15."Took His Time"
  • D. Carter
  • Tony Walker, Jr.
  • Stephen McDowell
  • FreewayTJay
4:22
16."Open Safe"
3:43
17."Start This Shit Off Right" (featuring Ashanti and Mack Maine)Mannie Fresh4:40
18."Demon"
3:34
19."Mess"
  • D. Carter
  • Rodriguez
Infamous3:32
20."Dope New Gospel" (featuring Nivea)
3:27
21."Perfect Strangers"
  • D. Carter
  • Thomas
Mannie Fresh4:09
22."Used 2"
4:00
23."Let It All Work Out"
5:16
Total length:87:43

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • "I Love You Dwayne" features vocals by Jacida Carter, Lil Wayne's mother.
  • "Can't Be Broken" features uncredited vocals by Thomas Troelsen.[66]
  • "Hittas" features uncredited vocals by Drake.[67]

Samples

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

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