For six years, Wayne teased us with Tha Carter V, a project billed as his last solo album and the last entry in the Carter series. It was supposed to be one last epic party before graduation. Whether or not it would ever be released, the idea of C5 kept me going.
But now what?
Over the past seven days, the long overdue release of The Carter V has given me a feeling of joy, which almost immediately produced a feeling of profound emptiness. I now have nothing left in life to look forward to. Is this it?
I think I finally know what it feels like to be one of those jocks who peaked in high school. I may as well move back to my hometown, develop a drinking problem, and annoy my nephew with stories about what a great quarterback I used to be. Weezy F Baby and the "F" is apparently for fucking up my psyche.
Let's rewind. I was in the ninth grade when Wayne released Tha Carter III, which was a massive cultural moment. With that release, rap's raspy King of Pussy Puns solidified his position as the biggest rock star on Earth. The man was a Greek god with tattooed eyeballs, and Tha Carter III turned a generation of awkward teenagers into Wayne stans. This country owes him a huge debt.
Lil Wayne was larger than life and he was everywhere you looked. His hilarious sex boasts and high-pitched voice became national staples. Hell, if the national anthem had been written and recorded in 2008, it definitely would have had a Lil Wayne feature.
Wayne will always have a spot in my heart, like my first girlfriend or my friend Kyle who introduced me to Four Loko (what a horrific day). Unfortunately, Wayne's cultural dominance has faded over the years. To label this descent as a "fall from grace" would be hyperbolic—after all, Tha Carter V will debut at number one next week on the Billboard 200—but to maintain an insane level of popularity over multiple decades is next to impossible. Of course, Wayne's long legal battle with Birdman and Cash Money didn't help.
So now it's here, the body of work that served as the inspiration behind the voice in my head that told me to "just keep on trucking, Tha Carter V will be here soon."
Breakups? “Don't worry, Tha Carter V will be out soon.”
Deaths of loved ones? “Don’t worry, Tha Carter V will be out soon.”
Rob Schneider's Netflix sitcom? “Don’t worry, Tha Carter V will be out soon.”
The Carter V was more than an album to me. It was my North Star. It was there to keep me going when times got tough. It was something I knew I could always look forward to. I was chasing a dragon I would never get to. Or, at least, I thought I'd never get to it. But now it’s here and I don’t know what the hell to do. It's like I somehow captured the dragon and it ate me alive and crapped me out in a carnival port-a-potty after Taco Tuesday.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked Tha Carter V. In fact, I loved it.
Using a voicemail from his mom to open up the album brought me tears like a Pixar marathon. "Don’t Cry," "Famous," and "Can’t Be Broken" gave me goosebumps like I was a fifth grader talking to my crush. Kendrick’s verse on "Mona Lisa" probably changed America.
I just don’t like what Tha Carter V represents. The end of an era? A devastating sucker punch to my personal life and sense of purpose on this planet?
For the past week, I’ve been laying in bed staring at the ceiling. My friend Mike has tried to cheer me up, telling me there are other albums to look forward to. I asked him to name an example. He was like “Well, Dr. Dre still might release Deto-” and I punched him in the face.
To be clear, I wanna thank Lil Wayne for finally giving us this album that we waited so long for. It’s a great album. But I also wanna let that short son of a bitch know that he just ruined my life.
Tha Carter V finally coming out is like the time I lost my virginity. I waited years for it, but now that it’s over I want my money back.
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