Outside of Dr. Dre’s Detox, which seems likely to remain in the vaults forever, one of the mythically great, lost albums in rap is Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V. It’s supposedly already finished, stretched out across two CDs, and sitting there, in a vault somewhere — or in Martin Shkreli’s hard drive — collecting dust. Because of the ongoing legal conflict between Weezy and his Cash Money label head/father figure Birdman however, the fifth installment of the Lousiana rapper’s career-spanning series has languished in the dark, growing staler and more highly coveted by Tunechi stans with every passing day.
Every now and then, fans will be reminded of its existence, like recently when pharma-bro Shkreli shared a glimpse of two of the tracks during a live streaming session, or through a random Birdman interview. Wayne himself sometimes allude to its existence, with vague promises that its coming. Then, just like the prospects of his signing up with Jay Z’s label Roc Nation, nothing happens. The wait continues.
It’s been just a little bit over three years since the world was supposed to receive Tha Carter V. So much has happened in that time and in the period leading up to that botched release date, that I thought it’d be worth taking a minute to reflect on how we got here and how this might all end up.