LOS ANGELES — It's finally here, but the road to Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV was no cakewalk. It's been a long journey, and according to Young Money President Mack Maine, Weezy F. conceptualized C4 in three stages: pre-prison, in-prison and post-prison.

"He did the 'Blunt Blowin' joint as soon as he got out. He actually wrote that one while he was in Rikers," Mack Maine told MTV News of the second track on Tha Carter IV. "But he also did 'So Special' and he did 'She Will' when he came home, which the ladies are gonna love. So that was kinda like the difference."

The first mentions of the LP came nearly three years ago in September 2008 when it was said that Wayne began recording the album. Instead of following up on his Carter series right after the third installment, Weezy switched gears and dropped his We Are Young Money label compilation album in December 2009 and then his rocked-out Rebirth LP and I Am Not a Human being in 2010 while he was serving an eight-month prison bid.

Wayne was released in November 2010, and a month later, he dropped the first official C4 single, "6 Foot 7 Foot," featuring Cory Gunz. In March came the Rick Ross-assisted street single "John." After releasing a pair of rap-centric tracks, things got much more rhythmic with the album's third single, "How to Love," and "She Will" with Drake.

"I don't think he would've did "She Will" or "So Special" right before he went in," Mack said of two of Tha Carter IV's more female-friendly tracks. "That wasn't where his mind was at, but all in all, you got some of Wayne before he went in, you actually got some of Wayne while he was in there, and you got some when he came out. So you got three different sides of Wayne."