With Tha Carter V a confirmed end of the line for the saga,Lil Wayne’s original namesake was released ten years ago this weekend. Serving as the rapper’s fourth album at the time, it quickly became his biggest commercial splash. Debuting at #5 on the Billboard Top 200, the album sold more than a hundred thousand copies its first week and followed Weezy’s Da Drought mixtape as a more tangible success.
Featuring a mostly solitary Wayne, Tha Carter tracklist is also dotted by Birdman and Mannie Freshfeatures on songs like “This is the Carter.” The more than 20-track release was also Mannie Fresh’s last hurrah at Cash Money before he shipped out to Def Jam South a year later. On this album though, Fresh produced well over half of the songs, including the first two singles. Five years removed from his platinum debut Tha Block Is Hot, a nearly 22-year old Wayne didn’t match the initial success of his younger self immediately, but Tha Carter catalyzed the rest of his career and one of the most commercially successful album series ever.