Tha Carter IV is the ninth studio album by American rapper Lil Wayne, released on August 29, 2011 through Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records and Universal Republic Records. Recording sessions for the album began in late 2008, shortly after Lil Wayne's sixth studio album, Tha Carter III (2008) was released to strong sales and critical acclaim: however, the sessions were put on hold, as Lil Wayne claimed he did not want to follow an album he held in high regard so quickly with another, potentially inferior release. In the interim, Lil Wayne released two other solo albums: the largely rock-themed Rebirth (2010) and I Am Not a Human Being (2010). The latter was reportedly composed from unreleased material from the original Tha Carter IV sessions, as the album was released whilst Wayne served a prison sentence at Rikers Island prison for illegal possession of a weapon, and was thus unable to record any new material: this also meant Tha Carter IV's recording sessions were once more put on hold.
Following Wayne's release from prison, the album was re-recorded from scratch. The recording sessions resumed at various locations, involving several record producers including Bangladesh, Detail, T-Minus, Noah "40" Shebib, Polow da Don, Jim Jonsin, Kane Beatz, Boi-1da, Willy Will, StreetRunner, Cool & Dre, Young Ladd, The Smeezingtons, and Kanye West. The album's largely concerns the themes of sex, violence, drugs and crime, but also love, hurt and emotional conflict. Appearances on the album include Cory Gunz, Drake, T-Pain, Tech N9ne, Andre 3000, Rick Ross, John Legend, Bruno Mars, Birdman, Kevin Rudolf, Jadakiss, Bun B, Nas, Shyne, and Busta Rhymes.
Following a heavily delayed release, Tha Carter IV was released to digital retailers at midnight on August 28, 2011, following Wayne's scheduled performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, and physical retailers received the album the following day. Tha Carter IV achieved first week sales of 964,000 copies in the United States and became Lil Wayne's second album to top the US Billboard 200 in its first week. The album received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who were divided in their responses towards the album's production and Wayne's own performances on the album: they felt it a disappointment compared to his previous work. In an interview with XXL, Lil Wayne hinted that the album might be his last.
On November 16, 2011, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of two million copies in the United States. As of February 2012, the album has sold 3.5 million copies worldwide.
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