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.
August 29, 2011
Lil Wayne releases Tha Carter IV. The reaction among fans and critics is decidedly mixed. People everywhere begin clamoring for Tha Carter V.
July 4, 2012
Wayne shows up at the X Games and makes his first public comments about Tha Carter V, saying that it will “come most likely next year.” Famous last words.
November 12, 2012
DJ Sway scores an interview with Tunechi who tells him that Tha Carter V will be his curtain call. “I’ve been rappin’ since I was 8 years old. I’m 30 now, man. That’s a long time, man.”
March 22, 2013
Wayne releases his tenth studio album, I Am Not a Human Being II. The reviews are again mixed. Speculation about the next Carter album grows.