Lil Wayne is one of the most successful rappers of all-time. He has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and captured five Grammy Awards.

In 2009, Lil Wayne passed Elvis Presley as the male recording artist with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 with 109. His mark has since been bettered.

Lil Wayne has seen three of his albums reach number one on the Billboard 200 with another seven peaking inside the top ten.

In 2008, he enjoyed his first number one single as a lead artist, “Lollipop.” 

Lil Wayne has influenced several performers including Drake, Chance the Rapper, and Kendrick Lamar.

Lyrically, he’s known for his creativity and wit.

Sure, Lil Wayne may have his detractors, but whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he’s been one of the most significant and important rappers of his generation at the least.

 

Beginnings

Lil Wayne joined a recording label when he was nine years old. What’s amazing about this fact isn’t that he was so young, but he was so young and had something to rap about.

Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. was born on Sept. 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the time of his birth, his mother was 19. 

Carter’s father divorced his mother a couple of years after his birth and subsequently abandoned him. Later, when selecting a stage name, he opted for “Wayne” instead of “Dwayne.” He did so to distance himself from his biological father.

Lil Wayne wrote his first song at the age of eight. When he was 11, he recorded an album with B.G. (Christopher Noel Dorsey). 

When Wayne was 12, he played the Tin Man in his school’s production of the Wiz and shot himself with a handgun.

It may be the only time in the history of humanity that those two events happened to the same person in the same year.

Wayne was a great student but dropped out of school to pursue his music career.

 

 


Early Career

In 1996, Lil Wayne formed Hot Boys with Juvenile, Turk, and the aforementioned B.G. They immediately released their debut album, Get It How U Live! 

In 1999, Hot Boys released their sophomore effort, Guerrilla Warfare. The record went all the way to number five. The work was anchored by the singles “We on Fire” and “I Need a Hot Girl.”

The group disbanded in 2001, but their label released another album, Let 'Em Burn, in 2003.

In 2009, Lil Wayne performed with B.G. and Juvenile at a concert in New Orleans.

Full-fledge reunions have been difficult since Turk was incarcerated from 2006 to 2012 and B.G. received a 14-year prison sentence in 2012.

 

Solo Career

Lil Wayne was just 17 years old when he issued his debut solo album. Tha Black is Hot went straight to number three on the Billboard 200 and earned Wayne tons of acclaim.

His sophomore effort, Lights Out, and his third offering, 500 Degreez, were not as successful as his debut. 

Nonetheless, both releases received gold certifications from the RIAA.

 

Tha Carter

Lil Wayne returned to the glory of his debut in 2004 when he released Tha Crater. The album contained the singles “Go DJ,” “Bring It Back,” and “Earthquake.”

Tha Carter wasn’t more successful than its predecessors, but critics like it better. They applauded his lyrical maturity. The album established Wayne as a formidable hip hop artist.

Tha Carter II dropped in 2005. It did three positions better than the original, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200. 

Also bolstering the young rapper’s rise to super stardom was an appearance on Destiny's Child’s “Soldier.”  The single peaked at number three and obtained platinum status.


Lil Wayne and Birdman

 

“Birdman”

Lil Wayne officially signed with Cash Money Records in 1995. The record label was founded by brothers Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams.

Wayne and Bryan Williams were very close. Bryan Williams took Wayne under his wing and acted as his mentor.

In 2006, they recorded an album, Like Father, Like Son. The creation went all the way to number three on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold.

In 2015, despite the two’s father-and-son like relationship, Wayne sued Bryan Williams (as well as his record company) for $51 million.

 

Mixtapes

Lil Wayne has released dozens of mixtapes. His first, SQ1, came out in 2002. The most successful, Dedication 3, dropped in 2008.

The first Dedication mixtape came out in 2005. The sixth was available for download in 2017.

Other notable Wayne mixtapes include Da Drought, Young Money: The Mixtape Vol. 1, No Ceilings, and Da Drought 3.


The 2014 American Music Awards, Lil Wayne & Christina Milian

 

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Major Successes

In 2008, Lil Wayne issued Tha Carter III. The opus sold a million copies in its first week of release and went on to become the year’s bestselling record.

TCIII reached the top of the Billboard 200 giving Wayne the first number one platter of his career. The oeuvre also won the Grammy Award for best rap album.

Tha Carter III contains the singles “Lollipop,” “Mr. Carter,” “Got Money.”

 

Prison

In March of 2010, Lil Wayne received a one-year prison sentence for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He served his time at Rikers Island but was released after eight months.

Wayne has been arrested several times for possession of drugs and weapons.

On 2010, he was sentenced to three years probation for felonies committed in Yuma, Arizona.

 

 

Sequels

Despite spending eight months in prison, Lil Wayne still managed to release two albums in 2010, Rebirth and I Am Not a Human Being.

Rebirth stalled at the second spot, while I Am Not a Human Being went all the way to the top.

Lil Wayne rode his momentum into 2011 by issuing Tha Carter IV. The song nearly broke the internet after being downloaded more than 300,000 times in its first four days of release on iTunes. It was Wayne’s third number one disc.

Realizing he had a good thing going with sequels, Wayne put out I Am Not a Human Being II in spring of 2013. It reached the penultimate spot on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified gold.

 

Tha Carter V

Perhaps when you’re reading this, sometime in the distance future, Lil Wayne will have finally released Tha Carter V.


Lil Wayne and the Orlando Magic Dancers

Maybe you’re listening to TCV while piloting your flying car.

At the beginning of 2018, his long-awaited studio album, perhaps the most anticipated in hip hop history, has yet to see the light of day.

Wayne first referenced Tha Carter V in February of 2014.

The anticipation has been so long, that in 2015 he released a mixtape, Sorry 4 the Wait 2, to appease impatient fans.

In 2015, on the Fourth of July, Wayne dropped his Free Weezy Album on the subscription-based music streaming service, TIDAL.

FWA was liked by critics and streamed ten million times during its first week of release.

In 2011, Lil Wayne announced that he was going to retire at the age of 35 (2017) and that Tha Carter V will be his final album.

 

 

 

Discography

Tha Block Is Hot (1999)
Lights Out (2000)
500 Degreez (2002)
Tha Carter (2004)
Tha Carter II (2005)
Like Father, Like Son [With Birdman] (2006)
Tha Carter III (2008)
Rebirth (2010)
I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
Tha Carter IV (2011)
I Am Not a Human Being II (2013)
Free Weezy Album (2015)

Notable Singles

“Tha Block Is Hot”
“Way of Life (featuring Big Tymers and TQ)”
“Go D.J.”
“Stuntin' Like My Daddy (with Birdman)”
“Lollipop (featuring Static Major)”
“A Milli”
“Drop the World (featuring Lil Wayne)”
“How to Love”
“She Will (featuring Drake)”
“Sucker for Pain (with Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Logic and Ty Dolla $ign featuring X Ambassadors)”

 

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Lil Wayne Has Collaborated With:

Bruno Mars
Chris Brown
Destiny's Child
Dj Khaled
Drake
Lil Wayne
Fat Joe
The Game
Imagine Dragons
Jay-Z
Jadkiss
Ludacris
Madonna
Mike Jones
T.I.
Usher
Wiz Khalifa
Wyclef Jean

 

Lil Wayne's Nicknames

Apple Eagle Weezle
Big Money Weezy
Birdman Jr.
Bossman Weezy
The Carter
Dr. Carter
Fo' Sheezy
Iceberg Shorty
Lil Carter
Lil Tunechi
Lion
Money Making Weezy
Pac-Man
President Carter
Seventeen Creeper
Uncle Sam
Weezy Wayne
Young Ozzy Osbourne
Young Wizzle

 

Lil Wayne Trivia

  • Lil Wayne suffers from epilepsy.
  • Lil Wayne first became a father at 16. 
  • Lil Wayne has four children with four different women. He got a fifth pregnant, but she had a miscarriage.
  • Lil Wayne received his first tattoo at the age of 14.
  • Lil Wayne was profiled in an episode of Behind the Music.
  • Lil Wayne and T-Pain formed a group called “T-Wayne.”
  • Lil Wayne starred in the film Hurricane Season.
  • In 2005, Lil Wayne founded Young Money Entertainment.
  • In 2008, at the Virgin Mobile Music Fest, Lil Wayne lip-synced to Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You” with Kanye West.
  • In 2009, Lil Wayne signed Bow Wow to his label.
  • Lil Wayne has appeared on ESPN’s First Take and Around the Horn.
  • Lil Wayne was a spokesman for Mountain Dew (PepsiCo) but was dropped after they learned of his offensive lyrics targeting civil-rights leader Emmett Till.
  • In 2016, Lil Wayne released his memoirs, Gone Til' November: A Journal of Rikers Island.
  • Lile Wayne enjoys smoking marijuana.

 

Listen to Lil Wayne

 

 

 

Watch Lil Wayne

 

 



 

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