Lil Wayne

  • Hip-hop artist and songwriter born Dwayne Carter Jr. in New Orleans Louisiana in 1982.
  • Carter dropped the ‘D’ in his first name because his father abandoned the family when he was two years old. Since he was named after his father, he wanted to disassociate himself with his biological father – he considered his stepfather to be his real father. At eight years old, he was writing rap songs, and before he turned nine he met rapper and record label owner Birdman, who mentored Carter and encouraged him to develop his rapping talent. At the age of twelve, Carter nearly died of a self-afflicted gunshot wound. He originally said it was accidental, but many years later he admitted that it was a suicide attempt, brought on when his mother told him that he had to get out of rap music.
  • In 1997, he joined the rap group Hot Boys – at 14 years old, he was the youngest member. The group released albums in 1997 and 1999, with 1999’s Guerilla Warfare topping the R&B Albums chart – eventually it was certified platinum, although singles from the album were not hits. Later in 1999, Lil Wayne released his debut solo album, Tha Block Is Hot, with contributions by the other members of the Hot Boys. Within a month, the album was certified platinum, debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart and topping the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The title track peaked at #24 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
  • It was just the beginning of a prolific career in hip-hop music. Over the next 20 years, Lil Wayne released 13 studio albums and numerous EPs and mixtapes. All but one of the albums reached #1 or #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with five of them topping the Billboard 200 chart. Eight were certified platinum, with 2008’s Tha Carter III reaching 8x platinum in sales and Tha Carter IV reaching 5x platinum.
  • Remarkably, Lil Wayne released over 275 singles between 1999 and 2021, either as lead or featured artist. As a lead artist, his first #1 song was in 2008 – Lollipop topped both the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the Hot 100 chart. He had nine more songs reach #1 or #2 of the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs or Hot Rap Songs charts. His biggest selling singles as lead artist were Lollipop, Love Me, A Milli, 6 Foot 7 Foot, Drop the World and How To Love. 
  • He was just as successful as a featured artist for other hip-hoppers. Songs that reached the top of the Hot 100 that featured Lil Wayne were Down by Jay Sean and I’m the One by DJ Kahlid. Five other songs that featured Lil Wayne reached the top of other Billboard charts.
  • Lil Wayne was nominated 24 times for Grammy awards, winning five times. Four of the Grammy awards were in 2008, including Best Rap Album for Tha Carter III and Best Rap Song for Lollipop. His most recent Grammy was Best Rap Performance for No Problem in 2017 – he was a featured artist and co-songwriter in the song by Chance the Rapper.
  • Like most rap artists, Lil Wayne had many legal incidents, mostly related to drug and weapons charges. In 2010, he was sentenced to one year in jail for criminal possession of a weapon, and he served eight months of his sentence at Rikers Island before getting released. In 2020 he pled guilty to a federal firearms charge from the previous year – he was carrying a loaded gun on his private jet, and convicted felons are not permitted to possessing handguns. President Donald Trump pardoned Lil Wayne on Trump’s last day in office.
  • Also like most rap artists, he had several on-going feuds with other hip-hop artists. Seems that rappers just want to diss one another. In Lil Wayne’s case, he had spats with Juvenile, Young Buck, Pusha T and Jay-Z. Unlike many rappers, bullets did not fly between them. Here’s the video to the Grammy winning song Lollipop.

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