The Latest (4/9): Lil Wayne gave an interview to Red Bull Music Academy where he spoke about reuniting with his longtime producer Mannie Fresh a.k.a. the dude who produced his debut single "Tha Block Is Hot" way back from 1999. Mannie was a big part at the start of Wayne's career, producing on early albums like 2000's Lights Out, 2002's 500 Degreez and the first Carter LP from 2004. Wayne revealed the hip hop veteran produced on the intro track to Tha Carter V.
Mannie Fresh followed up Wayne's comments in another interview with RBMA Radio, saying, "We didn’t miss a beat. I think it was a good thing for us not to do a song in a long time, so when we came together he felt just as well as I did. Like, 'Wow, this is what hip hop is missing. They want that OG original Cash Money sound.'"
Wayne also teased up a new song with DJ Mustard that's getting him particularly hyped up. "If my album was wack and I only had that one song on there, I'd still go platinum—double platinum," he boasted.
Read on for everything else we know about Tha Carter V.
Lil Wayne's friends have not kept it a secret that Tha Carter V is on the way. During a concert in New Orleans in February, Drake told the crowd that Wayne would be dropping his new album on May 5. That date, as MTV reported, wasn't set in stone, but in an interview with Fuse News at SXSW, Young Money president Mack Maine confirmed that Wayne is gearing up to drop a new album. "Carter V is coming soon," he said. "Wayne's going to be coming soon." (May 5 came and went. No Carter V.)
During the last week of April, "Carter V Season" officially began when Kobe Bryant tweeted the (promo? cover?) art above and Floyd Mayweather released a short clip of Weezy in the studio with Drake (below).
While the album is currently on indefinite hiatus, Lil Wayne shared a "P.S.A." outlining the delay. "I got too many songs recorded," he reveals in the YouTube clip. "I worked on it way too much, way too much to give y'all half of it...I refused to do it; I refuse to cheat my fans, I refuse to cheat myself." The rapper also shared that the album will come in two parts, the first half arriving December 9. Watch his message here.
In February, the website Rap-Up posted what they said was an exclusive leaked tracklist for Tha Carter V. Guests on the supposed album were Drake, Future, Kanye West, Nas, The Weeknd, Meek Mill, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug, J. Cole, Bun B, Game and Birdman. Cash Money executives said on Twitter that the tracklist was a fake, but you could bet on a handful of those artists ending up on the real version. Nicki Minaj just shared a sexy new single featuring Weezy, perhaps the "Anaconda" starlet will also make an appearance!
In late April, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather premiered an Instagram video of Lil Wayne and Drake in the studio together, which more-or-less confirms Drizzy as a guest on this album. Watch it below.
If there's one thing we can reasonably guess, it's that there will be a guest rapper or singer on the hook of the first of Tha Carter V's official singles. Dating back to 2010's I Am Not a Human Being—Wayne's first rap album after his regrettable foray into rock—only two of Wayne's 12 singles have been totally solo. Four of the five singles from Tha Carter IV and all four singles from I Am Not a Human Being II were collaborations.
So who might show up on the first Carter V single? Obvious picks would be Drake, Future or 2 Chainz, all of whom have collaborated extensively with Wayne in recent years. Or maybe it will be Young Thug, whose "Stoner" is currently one of the biggest songs in rap and who has been heavily linked to Cash Money as his star has risen.
The most left-field choice would be Miley Cyrus, who has become a muse of sorts for rappers and was called out memorably by Mack Maine on the Young Money hit "Bedrock."
On October 29 Wayne shared his latest single, "Gotti," featuring veteran hip hop outfit The Lox. In it, Weezy waxes poetic for his youth before shouting out his first platinum record. Hey, no one said the guy is known for his modesty! Listen to it here.
There has also been little indication which producers might be working on Tha Carter V, though that might be because the honest answer is probably "all of them." Wayne's beats typically come from a mix of established producers and names that are more-or-less unknown. But based on his last two albums, we can reasonably assume that a few usual suspects will appear again, like Cool & Dre and T-Minus.
The most likely producer is Detail, who came up in the ranks of Cash Money but has suddenly become ubiquitous thanks to singles with Beyoncé ("Drunk in Love"), Jennifer Lopez ("I Luh Ya Papi"), Nicki Minaj ("Lookin' Ass") and Wiz Khalifa ("We Dem Boyz").
Wayne has never been secretive about his desire to retire in his mid-30s. Well, he's there now, and he's been adamant that Tha Carter V will be his last solo album. Still, if this album is as successful as his most recent records, it's hard to imagine him just walking away from it all.
He has, predictably, allowed for this very possibility, telling MTV that he would return to making albums if someone put up around $30 million.
So technically, Tha Carter VI isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility.
After a concert stop on August 13, Wayne headed to the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut to make an appearance on Sportscenter and First Take. Curiously, Weezy used the sports TV slots to reveal the album artwork you see above and announced Tha Carter V will be released October 28. Well, that date, too, came and went...and according to MTV, the whole of Tha Carter V has been pushed back indefinitely. The first half, Weezy revealed, will arrive December 9. Don't get your hopes up too high, ladies and gentlemen!