Lil Wayne's upcoming album "Tha Carter III," which is scheduled to hit stores June 10, was leaked on the Internet Friday (May 30) by an anonymous DJ, in retaliation for comments the rapper directed at the mixtape community.
Lil Wayne railed against the mixtape industry in Foundation Magazine, on May 28, for releasing his unsanctioned songs and profiting. The rapper went on to say he is routinely robbed by mixtape sales and not interested in recording any more of them. Hip-hop Web sites lit up with the mixtape community's reactions, which ranged from boycotting Lil Wayne to leaking "Tha Carter III."
Two days later, Lil Wayne called into DJ Drama's Sirius Satellite radio show, "Gangsta Grillz," and clarified that he was not upset with all DJs, but a collective called The Empire, specifically. Over the past year, The Empire released a multi-part series entitled "The Drought Is Over" featuring Lil Wayne's work. However, according to the rapper, he had no agreement with The Empire, nor did he give clearance for the company to use his music.
The MC's statement is the most recent outburst concerning the mixtape community's practice of selling un-cleared material from established artists.
On May 3, Billboard.com highlighted another company, RBC, which released unsanctioned mixtapes featuring material from artists like Lil Wayne, T-Pain and Young Jeezy. At deadline, Universal and Zomba were looking into pursuing legal action against RBC.
Though music distributed via mixtapes is often illegal, the tapes themselves remain a strong marketing tool for hip-hop artists. And though DJ Drama's industry-shifting RIAA bust occurred over one year ago, there is still no common ground for artists, DJs and hip-hop consumers to quickly distribute and receive music virally without breaking the law.
Universal was unavailable for comment.