With many themes to unravel, the album follows Wayne’s journey in love, lust, family ties and his relationship with God. While Carter V is far from Christian rap, Weezy ties heavily into religion with singles like “Dope New Gospel” featuring singer-songwriter Nivea, and “Took His Time,” an ode to God’s divine creation– Dwayne Michael Carter, A.K.A himself.
Beyond the religious inflections, the album features a list of high-collaborations that elevate Carter’s strong lyrical ability. A few notable names include his daughter Reginae Carter, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar. Lil Wayne’s mother Jacida “Cita” Carter plays an instrumental role as she provides another perspective to Wayne’s genius. Despite fans disappointment, Drake only makes a small cameo on “Hittas.”
The late rapper XXXTentacion appears on “Don’t Cry,” holding down the song’s chorus with his signature tone. “Don’t cry/ Don’t’ go/ Won’t lie/ I f**king love you.” he sings.
The samples used originate from gospel songs produced in the 70’s and uncredited vocals that come from Sampha and possibly the ever talented Donnie McClurkin. Former President Barack Obama is also heard on the album.
Check out VIBE’s extensive list of samples and features from Tha Carter V below.
1. “I Love You Dwayne”
The album opens with a heartfelt note from Wayne’s mother Jacida “Cita” Carter. She appears on the album several times, giving context to Wayne’s journey to fatherhood (“Open Letter,”) and being a mother to the artist on “Hittas.” Just before the closer, “Let It All Work Out,” she speaks on her son’s childhood suicide attempt.
“I still don’t know today. Was he playing with the gun or was it an accident I still … I just don’t I … I be wanting to ask him but I never asked him out all these years,” she says. “Was that an accident or did he… or was he playing with the gun? So I never really found out about what—you know, what happ- what really happened with him and that shooting.”
2. “Don’t Cry”
The chorus is sung by late rapper XXXTentacion, who was largely inspired by Wayne. In his 2017 XXL Freshman interview, the “Sad” rapper shared how he grew listening to Wayne’s music. It isn’t known if the chorus stems from unreleased music from X, but it bears a similarity to ? album cut, “Pain = BESTFRIEND.”
There’s a lot of homage going on in “Dedicate,” a track that includes Wayne’s strongest allies–2 Chainz and former president Barack Obama. The track samples 2 Chainz’s “Dedication” which happens to be an homage to Wayne. Acting as the opener for Chainz’s Collegrove, the G.O.O.D. Music affiliate shared his appreciation for opening up doors early in his career.
Wayne also pulls from Obama’s speech from the NAACP 100th Anniversary speech. “They might think they’ve got a pretty jump shot or a pretty good flow,” Obama said, “but our kids can’t all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne.”
With Swizz Beatz, Wayne revisits G-Dep’s 2001 hit single, “Special Delivery.” The EZ Elpee-produced track is a favorite of the rapper. He previously spits over the instrumental on Dedication 4 with J. Cole on “Green Ranger.”
5. “Let It Fly”
6. “Can’t Be Broken”
You might not know his name but you’ve heard Thomas Troelsen’s work. The Danish singer-songwriter has helped put together songs by Pitbull, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown, Akon and Meghan Trainor. Troelsen penned the song’s stirring chorus.
7. “Dark Side of the Moon”
Nicki Minaj lends her celestial vocals to “Dark Side of the Moon,” while painting a picture of hope and unity. Nicki has flexed her vocals other vulnerable tracks like “Pills and Potions,” “Your Love” and “The Crying Game” with Jessie Ware, to name a few.
8. “Mona Lisa”
We can only wonder what the Carter V session with Wayne and Kendrick Lamar was like. A snippet of the song found its way to Periscope by the infamous Martin Shkreli in 2014.
9. “What About Me”
The track features songwriting credits from Canadian R&B delight Jahkoy. The track, which also features Sosamann, was created three years ago.
10. “Open Letter”
Another gift of vulnerable bliss, the track was produced by Ben Billions, Infamous and Nick the Piff.
The father-daughter duo strike gold on “Famous.” With his eldest daughter singing the chorus, Wayne shares the ups and downs of living in the spotlight. Toying with the relationship of fame, Wayne interpolates the chorus to Kanye West and T-Pain’s 2007 classic, “Good Life.”
The track references the R&B classic “I Don’t Want to Be Right” by Luther Ingram. The soulful track released in 1972 appeared at the top of the Billboard R&B chart and no. 3 on the Hot 100.
13. “Dope Ni**az”
The track features fellow living legend Snoop Dogg and a sample of Dr. Dre’s posse cut “Xxplosive” featuring Kurupt, Hittman, Six-Two and the late Nate Dogg.
Drake jumps on for a second with, “Where you been Weezy/the people miss ya.” The song also includes pieces of his hilarious deposition from 2012. The conversation between the rapper and attorney Pete Ross has been applauded as comic relief with Wayne giving clever answers to every question (light and heavy) thrown at him. The case came to be over the 2009 release of the Quincy Jones III-directed documentary, The Carter.
15. “Took His Time”
Wayne blends his mixtape persona into LP Weezy a few times throughout Carter V, but the most obvious is “Took His Time,” an ode to his lyrical greatness. The rapper drops references to those he admires and respects like YG and gospel great Mahalia Jackson.
16. “Open Safe”
DJ Mustard puts his spice on one of the hardest tracks on the album.
17. “Start This Sh*t Off Right”
Taking a break from rap gymnastics, Ashanti helps Wayne take a breather with this laid back track. There’s also a smooth reference to the late Tupac Shakur’s “All Eyez On Me.”
Masters of production Cool & Dre truly bring the best out of Wayne. The two teamed up with 808-Ray to create a monster beat for the rapper which features a sample of the 1974 gospel track, “Lord Hold Me In Your Arms” by The Crowns Of Glory.
Wayne puts his own spin on twisted love by sampling 88Rising’s “Midsummer Madness” and dropping a few lyrics from Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.”
20. “Dope New Gospel”
Nivea and Lil Wayne reunite on the spiritual and loving track. With family vibes all over the album, their song bares many layers with Nivea singing, “It’s hard being on my own/Or at least that’s what it feels like/Wanna get back right with ya.” The singer-songwriter is also the ex-fiancé to the rapper and the mother to two his children. The singer confirmed her feature along with Drake’s but it seems like Drizzy’s addition to this or another song didn’t make the final version of the album.
21. “Perfect Strangers”
It’s another family reunion with Mannie Fresh on the boards.
22. “Used 2”
Metro Boomin and Prince85 remind Wayne what he’s “Used 2.”
23. “Let It All Work Out”
The album’s closer features a sample of Sampha’s 2013 single, “Indecision.” Hints about the song were included in Billboard’s interview with Wayne, where he speaks about his childhood suicide attempt.