By Jourdon LaBarber
On Oct. 18 of last year, Cash Money Records Vice President of Promotion Mel Smith sent a ripple of mystery through the rap world with a back loaded tweet that didn’t even need 140 characters: “Happy Friday!! New YMCMB music coming soon!! Carter 5.”
Now nearly four months later, and following a similar “Carter 5” tweet from Young Money artist Drake, there’s no more need for speculation. The highly anticipated fifth installment to Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter” album series is coming soon.
“We’re very close to dropping the album,” Smith told the Griffin. “It’s going to be a huge surprise to everyone, it’s an incredible album … I can’t release the date because he wants to surprise people, he wants his true fan base to get excited but he’s worked extremely hard on it and you won’t be disappointed.”
The album will be Lil’ Wayne’s first “Tha Carter” installment since 2011’s “Tha Carter IV,” which sold 964,000 copies in its first week. His last album, “I Am Not A Human Being II,” sold just 217,000 copies in its opening week last March.
While Smith was careful as to not spoil the direction of “Tha Carter V,” he mentioned that it was more in line with its four predecessors as opposed to the “IANAHB” series.
“He’s one of the artists like Prince who just continues to record,” he said. “He does it for the love of the art, for the record, he continues to work hard to top himself, like when he does the ‘I Am Not A Human Being’ records that he’s, which are a little more rock and roll tangent, a little more pop tangent while “Tha Carter V” is a little more Lil Wayne getting it to you straight from New Orleans.”
Smith had no idea as to whether or not the album might serve as Wayne’s retirement record, which has been speculated for some time, but he does find it hard to see the rapper he kindly refers to as a “studio rat” leaving the booth despite all the talk.
“That’s the thing about Wayne, when we put out the last “Carter,” we put it out and sold almost 1,000,000 records in one week. The day we put it out, he was still in the studio recording,” he said.
Regardless of whether or not it proves to be his last album, it won’t be the last you hear from the MC – Smith says Wayne will “absolutely” be going on tour, and to expect the artist to be on the road for the summer or fall.
Until then, fans can wait for the surprise release of what the Cash Money executive calls an “epic” album.
“Everybody who’s heard it feels the same way, the general excitement of something big coming,” he said. “You’re just generally excited for when the world hears it.”
UPDATE: Despite common misconceptions that have been made around the web, Smith made clear that this would not be a Beyonce’-style drop and that he never mentioned her in our original story. The surprise will come when Wayne decides to give the release date to his fans.