Lil Wayne. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Lil Wayne has finally released 'Tha Carter V', more than five years after he first announced the record.

The 35-year-old rapper has kept fans waiting three years for his 12th studio venture - his first since 2015's 'Free Weezy Album' - and though fans were initially expecting to hear the record earlier this month, it dropped at midnight on Friday.

The nine-track album has a host of special guests, including rap from Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and Snoop Dogg, and singing from Ashanti, Nivea and Nicki Minaj, as well as an appearance from XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed earlier this year.

A number of collaborators have been involved in the production of the record, including Mannie Fresh, Swizz Beatz, Metro Boomin, and Ben Billions.

Wayne - whose real name is Dwayne Carter - revealed earlier this week there had been a "misunderstanding" surrounding the release date of the album.

In a lengthy three-minute video posted on his YouTube channel and shared to Twitter, he said: "I heard there was a misunderstanding about the release date of 'Tha CV'. I heard y'all got a little mixed up and y'all thought it was going to be released like last week or something. 

Well, I would like for you to know that since y'all stuck with me and hung in there anyway for like the past four, five years, through all of this - y'all got me feeling like Tiger Woods with this comeback - but on my birthday, I actually have something special: I will be releasing 'Tha Carter V'."

The 36-year-old rapper had originally announced the release in 2012 but it was delayed due to his ongoing dispute with record label Cash Money.

And though it's been in the works for some time, it's believed the 'Believe Me' hitmaker only finished working on the album a few days ago.