At this point, we’re all pretty familiar with Lil Wayne’s troubles with Birdman and Cash Money Records, which have placed Tha Carter V on hold for over two years now. But what we didn’t know is that after the success of Drake and Lil Wayne’s song “Believe Me,” Wayne tried to release the album for free through Google—but to no avail. Ronald "Slim" Williams and Baby refused.
Cortez Bryant, Wayne’s longtime manager, revealed this news nugget earlier today (October 13) during the Rap Radar podcast with Elliott Wilson and Brian “B-Dot” Miller:
“We were supposed to put out the album. We put out the single ‘Believe Me’ and we were supposed to get an advance… This time when we put out the single, a check didn’t come. From there I’m like, ‘When can we figure things out?’ We did the Wayne vs. Drake tour, which was very successful, and performed ‘Believe Me’ every night and it went to number one. We was like, ‘We had the momentum off the tour,’ and I said, ‘Now it’s time to strike.’ [Cash Money] told us they didn’t have [the money]. The tipping point came when Wayne said, ‘Don’t worry about the money, just put the record out and I’m gonna make it for us.’… We had a deal cut with Google where they were going to back the album and put it out for free. When I presented it to Slim and Baby, they didn’t get it and the label was against it.”
At the time, as Bryant later explained, the label didn’t understand the full benefits of streaming, and that big money could be made through non-traditional album sales and deals.
While the proliferation of on-demand music streaming platforms has completely changed the game from where the industry was at just two short years ago, Bryant disclosing this detail is still a shock and adds another layer of bullshit to the seemingly unending controversy surrounding Tha Carter V.
In case it wasn't already obvious, Cash Money—not Wayne—is the reason why fans don't have a new album in their hands.