Lil Wayne is undoubtedly one of hip-hop’s most important figures. The self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” has clearly left his mark on the next generation of rappers. His work ethic speaks for itself in his extensive catalog of 13 studio albums, countless mixtapes, and collaborations. The New Orleans native is clearly not slowing down his consistent output anytime soon with the recent release of Welcome 2 ColleGrove, his upcoming second collaborative with 2 Chainz. Lil Wayne also announced that Tha Carter VI will arrive soon, releasing Tha Fix Before Tha VI to fuel the buzz. With an endless amount of music and new material on the way, it begs the question of what Lil Wayne’s best-selling album actually is. That award goes to his sixth studio album, Tha Carter III.
Lil Wayne Triumphed with Tha Carter III
Tha Carter III arrived during a creative peak for Lil Wayne. Weezy was riding the success of the first two installments of Tha Carter, as well as his full-length collaboration with Birdman. There was also the rise of “mixtape Wayne” as he released a host of classic mixtapes, as well as his iconic feature run of 2007 where he appeared on 100 songs in that year alone. By the end of that year, Wayne’s status in hip-hop was scorching hot. He was constantly churning out some of his best material for his solo material and his collaborations. At that point, nothing was stopping Lil Wayne’s dominance.
The majority of Tha Carter III leaked online before it saw an official release, causing major delays. While the leaks caused setbacks for the album’s campaign, it still managed to sell over 1 million copies in its first week, becoming one of the fastest-selling albums in the U.S. at the time. At the time, he joined Eminem and 50 Cent as the only other two rappers to move a million-plus copies in the first week. The Carter III debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking Lil Wayne’s first album to top the chart. He clearly capitalized on his momentum with Tha Carter III, resulting in his biggest album to date. Upon its release, Lil Wayne was unstoppable.
Numerous Hit Singles And Exciting Collaborations
Tha Carter III is Lil Wayne’s best-selling album by a long shot. It was officially certified 8x platinum in 2022. The only other work in his extensive discography that comes remotely close to reaching its stature is Tha Carter IV, which is 5x platinum. Lil Wayne also has numerous double platinum albums, including Tha Carter II, both in installments of I Am Not A Human Being and Tha Carter V. However, not one of Lil Wayne’s albums has reached the commercial heights of Tha Carter III. The success of his sixth studio album can be attributed to the prolific run that preceded it, as well as its numerous hit singles and exciting collaborations.
“Lollipop” is Lil Wayne’s most successful solo single to date and boasts a diamond certification. The Static Major-assisted track was also his first song to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 6x platinum “A Milli” also remains one of his biggest singles to date, peaking at No. 6 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the rap charts. Songs like the explosive “Got Money” with T-Pain and irresistibly catchy “Mrs. Officer” with Bobby V and Kidd Kidd were also massively successful, contributing to the overall success of Tha Carter III. It also featured the classic "Mr. Carter" with JAY-Z, which made the album even more of a crowning moment for Lil Wayne.
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Tha Carter III Is Lil Wayne’s Masterpiece
If Tha Carter II left any doubt in the credibility of Wayne’s claim to being the best rapper alive, then Tha Carter III won over his biggest skeptics. In addition to being his best-selling album, it is also his most critically acclaimed work. Tha Carter III even took over the rap game even with its most underrated tracks, including the Kanye West-produced “Comfortable” and “Let The Beat Build," the latter of which saw Wayne smoothly ride a constantly progressing instrumental. There was also “Dr. Carter,” which is arguably Lil Wayne’s most creative song ever as he skillfully assumed the role of a doctor that brought hip hop back to life.
Overall, Tha Carter III contained some of Wayne’s most brilliant lyrical moments, iconic tracks, and highest-selling singles. The album, which won Weezy his first three Grammy Awards, stands as the crown jewel of his discography. Tha Carter III marked a moment in time when Lil Wayne ran the rap game, and its status as his biggest release speaks to both Wayne's commercial peak and his legacy.