The New Orleans rapper made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with Elliott Wilson as part of the CRWN series on Friday during the annual music conference and festival.
"I'm approaching it like it is my last project, and I think that's why it's a lot different than everything else," Wayne said. "That's why I think the grind is different. I'm working harder. I'm approaching it a whole lot different. I'm approaching it as if you don't have tomorrow."
"Tha Carter V" is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. "Tha Carter IV" sold nearly 1 million albums the first week of release in 2011.
Wayne, 31, said he's been taking his time with the album, trying to diversify his subject matter after Wilson joked that most of his songs center around one thing: sex.
"What you want me to talk about? The world?" he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Wayne said he once wanted to be known as the greatest rapper in the world, but has softened his stance with age and perspective. Of Kendrick Lamar, he said, "Ain't nobody touch that dude."
And he praised the artists on his own Young Money label. He called Drake "a wonderful person" and said Nicki Minaj is not just the best female rapper out there, but the best rapper.
"I am not going to be jumping out here talking about, 'I'm the best,'" Wayne said. "I don't need anybody jumping at my neck."
Wayne also said his jail journal full of notes he took during his stay at Riker's Island in New York on gun charges is being turned into a book. He also joked about his friend Kanye West's use of masks on is recent tour, talked about the importance of his family in his life and his love of sports and skateboarding.
Asked about his legacy as he nears his self-imposed retirement age of 33, he said he used to want to be remembered in the same way The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur and Jay Z are thought of. Now, he'd prefer folks think of him as a beloved figure.
"I would just say I'd like to be remembered as a good spirit, a good soul, like a Willie Nelson ... like a Snoop Dogg," Wayne said.
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