When Lil Wayne dropped his original Tha Carter LP in 2004, he was just 21 years old, taking on the role of Cash Money Records' flagship artist after the departure of former label stars Juvenile and B.G. Ten years later, the rap veteran is prepping Tha Carter V and is ready to put a decade's worth of life lessons into what he says is his final solo album.
"I say it's different, because I'm older and wiser, and I know more things and I know more about myself now," the decorated rap star told MTV News as he leaned back on the couch of his trailer Wednesday morning during a break from shooting Young Money's "Senile" video in Los Angeles.
Through the years, Weezy has grown from a kiddie rapper to a respected lyricist, mostly due to his free-associative rhyme style, in which he connects unrelated thoughts with creative one-liners. On his 2010 single "6 Foot 7 Foot," Tunechi peppered his verses with references to baseball, sex, He-Man and synchronized swimming. He also reminded us that "Real Gs move in silence like lasagna."
Unfortunately, that same off-the-cuff style landed the Young Money boss in some controversy last year when he delivered lines about civil-rights figure Emmett Till on Future's "Karate Chop" remix. Weezy eventually apologized, but lost an endorsement deal with Mountain Dew and was at odds with the Till family as a result.
"I'm more careful about what I'm doing and trying to be more careful what I'm saying," he explained about his state of mind while recording C5.
Wayne acknowledges that in the past, he would let his management team deal with the fallout of any controversy that hit him, but now he's taking a more hands-on approach. "I knew that I had people above me or around me that was gonna make sure whatever I said or shouldn't have said or whatever I did or shouldn't have did," he said. "Well now, I'm those people, and I'm telling me what I should do and what I shouldn't say."
A more attentive Weezy should result in a top-notch Tha Carter V — at least, that's the rapper's hope. "It's awesome; it's coming together dope," he assessed. "I think the Wayne fans are gonna like it. I hope so."