Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982), better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American rapper. Formerly of the rap group Hot Boys, he joined the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager. He worked with B.G. on the album True Story and eventually recorded for the label. Get It How U Live, released in 1997, was Lil Wayne’s first album with Hot Boys, and Tha Block is Hot, his solo debut, came out 1999. Block debuted in the top ten on the American Billboard 200 chart and Lil Wayne was nominated for “Best New Artist” from The Source magazine the same year. Following this success, Wayne soon featured on other rappers’ singles, including “Bling Bling” by B.G. and “#1 Stunna” by the Big Tymers in 2000.
After his hit debut album “Tha Block Is Hot” and two albums released with little promotion, Lil Wayne reached higher popularity with 2004’s Tha Carter and its two subsequent albums Tha Carter II (2005) and Tha Carter III (2008). During that period, he appeared on several mixtapes and singles of other artists.
Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. to Jacida “Cita” Carter and Dwayne Michael Turner, and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Carter was in the gifted program at Lafayette Elementary School, and was in the drama club in middle school. At age eleven, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Lil Wayne recorded freestyle raps on Williams’ answering machine; Williams would eventually mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. He dropped out of school at age 14, but later earned his GED. When he was 12, he played the part of the Tin Man in his middle school drama club’s production of The Wiz. He also accidentally shot himself in the chest with a .44-caliber. Carter has a daughter named Reginae Carter with Antonia “Toya” Johnson, his high school sweetheart. The two were married on Valentines Day of 2004; they divorced in 2006. In an interview with Blender, Lil Wayne revealed one of his favorite bands from childhood to be rock group Nirvana, and cites them as a major influence in his music.
In 1997, Lil Wayne formed the group Hot Boys along with rappers Juvenile, Turk, and B.G., Wayne being the youngest member. Hot Boys’ debut album, Get It How You Live, was released the same year. In 1998, the group’s major-label debut Guerrilla Warfare was released. Lil Wayne was also featured on the song “Back That Azz Up” by Juvenile. The group released its final album, Let Em Burn, in 2003.
Tha Block Is Hot (1999)
Lil Wayne’s debut solo album Tha Block Is Hot at only age 16 featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and went double platinum, climbing to #3 on the Billboard album charts. The album earned him a 1999 Source magazine award nomination for “Best New Artist”, and also became a Top Ten hit. The lead single was “Tha Block Is Hot” which attained big recognition as a new artist and a music video. After the release of Tha Block is Hot, Lil Wayne was featured on the single, “Bling Bling”, with B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Big Tymers.
Lights Out (2000)
Lights Out (Lil Wayne album)
His 2000 follow-up album Lights Out failed to attain the level of success achieved by his debut but was certified gold by RIAA. At this point in his development as an emcee, Lil Wayne was criticized for coasting on his fame and the collective success of the Hot Boys. Critics pointed to the lack of coherent narratives in his verses as evidence that he had yet to mature to the level of his fellow Hot Boys. The lead single was “Get Off The Corner” which was noticed for an improvement in lyrical content and style, it also received a music video. The second single which received less attention was “Shine” featuring The Hot Boys. Near the release of Lights Out, Lil Wayne was featured on the single, “1# Stunna” with Big Tymers and Juvenile, which rose to 24th place on the Hot Rap Tracks charts.
500 Degreez (2002)
Lil Wayne’s third album 500 Degreez, released 2002, followed the format of his previous two, with significant contributions from the Hot Boys and Mannie Fresh. While certified Gold like its predecessor, it too failed to match the success of his debut. The title was a reference to the recently estranged Hot Boys member Juvenile’s recording, 400 Degreez. The lead single was “Way Of Life” which like the album failed to match the success of his previous singles. After the release of 500 Degreez, he was featured in the single, “Neva Get Enuf” with 3LW.
Tha Carter (2004)
In the summer of 2004, Wayne’s album Tha Carter came out. Often cited as a highlight of his career, Tha Carter marked a significant development in Wayne’s flow and delivery, as the young rapper began to employ more original diction and syntax, while occasionally experimenting with his voice and inflection. In addition, the album’s cover art featured the debut of Wayne’s now-signature dreadlocks. Tha Carter gained Wayne significant recognition, selling over 1 million copies in the United States, while the single “Go DJ” became a Top 5 Hit. The album was loosely organized around the theme of Wayne’s mansion, which he refers to as Tha Carter. The tracks “Walk In,” “Tha Carter,” and “Walk Out” employ this concept, as Wayne takes the listener through his house, rapping about the activity therein. This idea was influenced by the movie New Jack City, starring Wesley Snipes, in which Nino Brown (Snipes) calls his drug building The Carter.
After the release of Tha Carter, Lil Wayne was featured in Destiny’s Child’s single “Soldier” with T.I., which peaked at #3 on the U.S. Hot 100 and the U.S. R&B Charts.
Tha Carter II (2005)
Tha Carter II
December 6, 2005 brought the second installment of Tha Carter series, Tha Carter II. The album marked yet another shift in Lil Wayne’s career, as it was his first major release to lack the beats of longtime Cash Money Records producer Mannie Fresh, who had since left the label. As a result, Tha Carter II contained a more diverse range of production style than had previously been present on Lil Wayne’s recordings. Tha Carter II sold more than 238,000 copies in its first week of release, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, and went on to sell 2,000,000 copies world wide. The Album itself was greatly praised and had some criticts call it a “Classic”. The lead single, “Fireman,” became a hit in the US, peaking at 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single, “Grown Man”, received little attention, while the third single “Hustler Musik” received a video and gained moderate airplay. The forth single “Shooter” which featured R&B artist Robin Thicke had more of a mainstream and political sound and also received moderate airplay and a video. Other notable tracks include “Get Over”, “Best Rapper Alive, “Tha Mobb”, “Fly In,” “Carter II,” and “Fly Out” the latter three mirror the series of “walk” tracks that appeared on Tha Carter.
From the release of Tha Carter II to the end of 2005, Lil Wayne was featured in two singles as a featured performer. His first single was on a remix of Bobby Valentino’s “Tell Me”, which rose to #13 on the U.S. R&B Charts.
In 2005, Lil Wayne was named president of Cash Money, and in the same year he founded Young Money Entertainment as an imprint of Cash Money. However, as of late 2007, Lil Wayne reported that he has stepped down from the management of both labels and has handed management of Young Money over to Cortez Bryant.
Mixtapes and cameos (2006-2007)
In 2006, following the release of “Tha Carter II”, Lil Wayne collaborated with rapper Birdman for the album Like Father, Like Son, whose first single “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”, reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Instead of a follow-up solo album, Lil Wayne reached his audience through a plethora of mixtapes and guest appearances on a variety of pop and hip-hop singles. Of his many mixtapes, Dedication 2 and Da Drought 3 received the most media exposure and critical review. Dedication 2, released in 2006, paired Lil Wayne with DJ Drama and contained the acclaimed socially conscious track “Georgia Bush,” in which Lil Wayne critiqued US president George W. Bush’s response to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans. Da Drought 3 was released the following year and was available for free legal download. It contained Lil Wayne rapping over a variety of beats from recent hits by other musicians. Numerous of features in prominent hip-hop magazines such as XXL and Vibe covered the mixtape. Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone magazine considered the mixtapes Da Drought 3 and The Drought Is Over 2 “among the best albums of 2007.”
Despite no album release for two years, Lil Wayne appeared in numerous singles as a featured performer, including “Gimme That” by Chris Brown, “Make It Rain” by Fat Joe, “You” by Lloyd, and “We Takin Over” by DJ Khaled (also featuring Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and Birdman), “Duffle Bag Boy” by Playaz Circle, “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)” by Wyclef Jean (also featuring Akon), and the remix to “I’m So Hood” by DJ Khaled (also featuring T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Fat Joe, Birdman, and Rick Ross). All these singles charted within the top 20 spots on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot Rap Tracks, and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. In 2007, Wayne was also featured on the song “Breakin’ My Heart” from Little Brother’s Getback and “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” from Jay-Z’s American Gangster.
In the latter half of 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested twice. On July 22, 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested in New York City following a performance at the Beacon Theater; the New York City Police Department discovered Lil Wayne and another man smoking marijuana near a tour bus. After taking Lil Wayne into custody, police discovered a pistol on his person, and he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana. Another arrest was on October 5, 2007, following a performance at Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho, on felony fugitive charges after Georgia authorities accused the rapper of possessing a controlled substance. The incident was later described as a “mix-up” and the fugitive charges were dropped.
On October 3, 2007, Vibe magazine ranked a list of 77 of Lil Wayne’s songs from 2007, deciding upon the best song from Lil Wayne on the year. They ranked his verse in “We Takin Over” as his best song of 2007, with “Dough Is What I Got” (a freestyle over Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got”) from Da Drought 3 the #2 song. At the end of 2007, an MTV poll selected Lil Wayne as ‘Hottest MC in the Game.’ The same year, he was named Artist Of The Year by New Yorker magazine. That same year he was also listed in “Men Of The Year” for Workaholic by GQ Magazine, and in 2008 he was named “Best Rock Star Alive” by Blender Magazine. In Rolling Stone’s Best of Rock 2008 issue, Lil Wayne was named the “Best MC”.
Tha Carter III (2008)
Tha Carter III
Initially planned to be released in 2007, Tha Carter III’s largest delay came after the majority of the tracks were leaked and distributed on mixtapes, such as “The Drought Is Over Pt. 2” and “The Drought Is Over Pt. 4”. Lil Wayne initially decided to use the leaked tracks, plus four new tracks, to make a separate album, titled Tha Carter III: The Leak. The Leak was to be released December 18, 2007, with the actual album being delayed until March 18, 2008, The release of The Leak in this format never came to fruition, but an official EP titled The Leak and containing five tracks was released digitally on December 25, 2007.
On January 23, 2008, Lil Wayne was arrested alongside two others. His tour bus was stopped by Border Patrol agents near Yuma, Arizona. A K-9 Unit recovered 105 grams of marijuana (3.7 ounces), almost 29 grams of cocaine (1.02 ounces), 41 grams of Ecstasy (1.4 ounces) and $22,000 dollars in cash. Lil Wayne was charged with four felonies: possession of narcotic drug for sale, possession of dangerous drugs, misconduct involving weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was granted permission to travel outside of the state and remain out of custody on the $10,185 bond he posted. On May 6, 2008 Wayne returned to court in Arizona to plead not guilty to the charges.
Tha Carter III was released on June 10, 2008, selling more than a million copies in its first week of release, the first to do so since 50 Cent’s The Massacre in 2005. The first single “Lollipop”, featuring Static became the rapper’s most commercially successful song at that point, topping the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first Top 10 single for Lil Wayne as a solo artist, as well as his first #1 on the chart. It also gave him his first #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks. The second single, “A Milli”, peaked at #8 on the Billboard 100, becoming the second-highest peaking single as a solo artist behind “Lollipop,” and #2 on the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B Tracks charts. For the chart week of June 21, 2008, Lil Wayne tied T-Pain in having the most songs on the Hot 100 in one week for a rapper, appearing on seven songs in the Hot 100 that week. His third single from Tha Carter III, “Got Money” featuring T-Pain, peaked at #13 on the Billboard 100. Along with his album singles, Lil Wayne charted on “Girls Around the World”, “Out Here Grindin”, “Love In This Club, Part II”, and various other singles featuring Wayne as a performer.
On June 17, 2008, Lil Wayne posted a video blog on YouTube thanking fans for buying Tha Carter III. At the end of the video, he said “Gettin’ back to work. Carter IV.”
Tha Carter III, nine weeks after being released, had officially become certified as double platinum selling two million copies in the United States.
He has announced several possible projects following Tha Carter III, including a collaboration album I Can’t Feel My Face with rapper Juelz Santana that has been in production for several years. On the website HipHopDX.com, he has discussed a possible R&B album titled Luv Sawngz, for which he will heavily rely on a vocoder. He has also talked with singer Lloyd about doing a collaboration album in the future. DJ Drama stated that there would be a third installation of the Dedication mixtape series with Lil Wayne, who has instead stated that he will do an full album under the title.
On June 19, 2008, Lil Wayne and T-Pain formed a supergroup called T-Wayne and planned to release an album.
The lineup for New Orleans’ 2008 Voodoo Experience concert, to be held in October, will feature Lil Wayne. Jonathan Cohen of Billboard magazine reported that the event will mark his biggest hometown headlining set of his career. Lil Wayne will be reuniting with Hot Boys alongside Juvenile, Turk, and B.G. They plan to release an album after B.G.’s solo album Too Hood to Be Hollywood is completed.
Wayne also performed as the 2008 Virgin Mobile Music Fest with Kanye West, performing his “Lollipop (remix)” featuring West and also lip-syncing to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. Lil Wayne is also set to perform at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, along with Kid Rock and the Jonas Brothers.
Lil Wayne discography
* 1999: Tha Block Is Hot
* 2000: Lights Out
* 2002: 500 Degreez
* 2004: Tha Carter
* 2005: Tha Carter II
* 2008: Tha Carter III
* 2007: The Leak
* Baller Blockin (2000)
* Who’s Your Caddy? (2007)
* Fast and Furious (2009) (forthcoming)
* Hurricane Season (2009) (forthcoming)
* Lil Wayne Documentary (2009) (forthcoming)
* The Boondocks in the “Invasion of the Katrinians” episode (2007)
* Access Granted (2007)
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* BET Awards
o 2008: Best Male Hip-Hop Artist [Nominated]
o 2008: Best Collaboration “I’m So Hood (remix)” with DJ Khaled, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes: Big Boi, Birdman, Fat Joe, & Rick Ross [Nominated]
o 2008: Viewer’s Choice Award – “Lollipop” featuring Static Major [Won]
o 2007: Best Male Hip-Hop Artist (Nominated)
o 2007: Viewer’s Choice Award “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” with Birdman [Won]
o 2005: Best Collaboration “Soldier” with Destiny’s Child & T.I. [Nominated]
* BET Hip Hop Awards
o 2007: Lyricist of the Year [Nominated]
o 2007: Attel People’s Choice Award “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” with Birdman [Won]
o 2007: Attel People’s Choice Award “We Takin’ Over” with DJ Khaled, Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, & Birdman [Nominated]
o 2007: Best Hip Hop Collabo “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” with Birdman [Nominated]
o 2007: Best Hip Hop Collabo “We Takin’ Over” with DJ Khaled, Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, & Birdman [Nominated]
o 2007: Best Live Performance [Nominated]
* Grammy Awards
o 2008: Album of the Year: Graduation [Nominated as a featured Guest]
o 2008: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group “Make It Rain” with Fat Joe [Nominated]
o 2006: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration “Soldier” with Destiny’s Child & T.I. [Nominated]
* Ozone Awards
o 2008: Best Rap Artist (Won)
o 2008: Best Rap Group, with Birdman [Nominated]
o 2008: Best Lyricist [Won]
o 2008: Club Banger of the Year, “Duffle Bag Boy” with Playaz Circle [Nominated]
o 2008: Club Banger of the Year, “Lollipop” with Static Major [Nominated]
o 2008: Trillest Award [Nominated]
o 2008: TJ’s DJ’s Hustler Award [Nominated]
o 2008: Best Video, “Lollipop” with Static Major [Nominated]
o 2008: Mixtape Monster Award [Nominated]
o 2007: Best Lyricist [Won]
o 2007: Best Male Rap Artist [Won]
o 2007: Best Rap/R&B Collaboration (“You”) with Lloyd [Nominated]
o 2007: Best Video (“We Takin’ Over”) with DJ Khaled, T.I., Akon, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, & Birdman [Won]
o 2007: Mixtape Monster Award [Won]
* MTV Video Music Awards
o 2008: Best Hip-Hop Video “Lollipop”, featuring Static Major [Nominated]
o 2008: Best Male Video “Lollipop”, featuring Static Major [Nominated]
o 2006: MTV2 Award “Fireman” [Nominated]
o 2006: Best Group Video “Soldier” with Destiny’s Child & T.I. [Nominated]
* Source Awards
o 2000: Best New Artist [Nominated]
* Teen Choice Awards
o 2008: Choice Rap Artist [Nominated]
* Vibe Music Awards
o 2007: Best Mixtape of the Year Da Drought III [Nominated]
o 2007: Coolest Collabo “We Takin’ Over” with DJ Khaled, T.I., Akon, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, & Birdman [Nominated]
o 2007: Best Rapper [Won]
o 2005: Coolest Callabo “Soldier” with Destiny’s Child & T.I. [Nominated]