Lil Wayne is easily one of the most influential MCs of the 2000s. If you put together a Mount Rushmore of rappers from the last decade, it would be hard to justify not chiseling Weezy's tattooed mug into the granite face. But within the last five years or so, Tunechi's career has been stifled by a lengthy lawsuit with his label, Cash Money Records, robbing fans of the prolific rapper's full glory. More specifically, Dwayne Carter constituents have been waiting seven years for the latest edition in his popular Tha Carter series, Tha Carter V.

The album was initially slated to drop in 2014, three years after the release of Tha Carter IV, which featured the hits "She Will" featuring Drake and "6 Foot 7 Foot," featuring Cory Gunz. Yes, it's been that long.

But the aforementioned ligation put a halt on the whole thing. A highly-publicized leak of the LP and constant, but unfulfilled, promises from Wayne (and Baby) that the album is coming have only added to the fervor for the project.

Now that Wayne has finally settled his long-standing lawsuit with the house that Baby built and is free from his deal, once again it's on. Wayne recently revealed he fielded a meeting about the album, specifically the release date. "Just to let y'all know, I had a meeting today—it wasn't a long meeting—but just so you know, the meeting was about the release date of Tha Carter fucking five," he told the crowd during a show in Miami.

With Tha Carter V now seeming more feasible than ever, XXL digs into the past headlines to report everything we know about the highly-anticipated project.

  • The Initial Rollout

    The stage was initially set for Tha Carter V to drop in 2014, and Wayne seemed more than prepared to put out the album.

    "I'm approaching it like it is my last project," Wayne said in March of that year. "I think that's why it's a lot different than everything else, I think that's why the grind is different, that's why I'm working harder. I'm approaching it a whole lot different; I'm approaching it as if I don't have tomorrow."

    A number of pump fakes in the next couple of months followed. But things seemed a little more concrete when Kobe Bryant promoted the album on his Twitter account with the caption: "Carter V season begins."

    Then there were more teases of release dates with August and September being in the mix. However, by August, Oct. 28 was tagged as the official drop date.

    The album was later announced to be a double disc that would contain assists from Kendrick Lamar and production by Mannie Fresh and Boi-1da and Vinylz, who produced what was to be the lead single, "Believe Me," featuring Drake, and more.

    When that date rolled around, there were—you guessed it—more hold ups. December 9 was tapped as the day the LP would finally impact. By that time was clear that there was some kind of disconnect going on at CMR. When it became clear that C5 wouldn't be dropping in December, fans started a petition to get the project released. With his ill will finally starting to fester, Weezy revealed he wanted off of Cash Money Records at the end of the year.

  • The Lawsuit

    In January of 2015, Wayne filed a $51 million lawsuit against Cash Money Records, accusing Birdman of violating his deal and owing him tens of millions of dollars for delaying the release of The Carter V. Tune also requested a judge to declare him the joint copyright holder of all of Young Money Entertainment recordings.

    For the rest of the year, Weezy would take shot after shot after shot at his label home. At that point, the release of Tha Carter V seemed to be indefinitely in limbo.

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  • The Martin Shkreli Incident

    With no sign in sight of the album being released infamous pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli announced he'd purchased the double-disc album in a wild plot twist. Weezy appeared to have no idea how Shkreli—who's previously bought the one-of-one Wu-Tang Clan album—got his hands on C5. Shkreli later revealed he got the unreleased album from a "seller" who contacted him and assured Wayne that he would not leak the LP. However, he later previewed the Kendrick Lamar-collab off the album, which drew a threat of a lawsuit from Tune. Now facing jail time for fraud charges, his copy of C5 has been confiscated by a federal judge, who ordered the Pharma Bro to cough up $7.3 million in assets.

    Michael Tullberg/Mark Wilson, Getty Images (2)
  • The Teases

    Despite the hang ups with CMR, Wayne continued to say the album is "coming soon" for all of 2017. Even Birdman said the album was definitely dropping last year.

    "It's definitely coming out," the Cash Money boss said during an interview on Beats 1 Radio. "The situation with me and my son, I'm going to put it all behind us and just let it move forward. Wayne is one of the best artists ever to do the game, and I want to see him continue to do what he been doing, and I'm going to support whatever he's doing."

    Even Wayne noted he could put out the album any time he wanted.

    Ronald Martinez, Getty Images
  • The Details

    While not much is known about the details of the album, or how many of the older tracks have been scrapped for newer ones, Young Money artist Lil Twist provided insight, having heard the finished product. “C5 is fucking crazy," Twist said in 2017. "I can’t wait ‘til y’all hear it. I’m the only person outside of him that got it on my phone. It’s fucking crazy. It’s berserk. He got a lot of features on there. I can say he working with Mannie Fresh on the album again. So, that’s gonna be good for the people.”

    Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images
  • The Current Status

    In June 2018, after three years in litigation, Lil Wayne was released from his deal with Cash Money Records. In the settlement, Wayne is to receive an undisclosed amount of money and—more importantly to the release of C5—ownership of all his music and assets. In late June, Tune revealed that he recently had a meeting to discuss a release date for the highly-anticipated album.

    "Just to let y'all know, I had a meeting today—it wasn't a long meeting—but just so you know the meeting was about the release date of Tha Carter fucking five," Weezy told the crowd during a show in Miami.

    Sorry for the wait.

    Ethan Miller, Getty Iamges