Real Name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
D.O.B.: September 27, 1982 New Orleans, Louisiana
Label: Cash Money/Young Money/Universal
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. was born to Jacida “Cita” Carter and Dwayne Michael Turner. Jacida Carter was 19 at the time, in the process of graduating from high school, and involved in an abusive relationship with Turner. Turner abandoned the family soon after Dwayne’s birth. Jacida later became involved with Reginald “Rabbit” McDonald, who moved the family from Hollygrove neighbourhood of New Orleans’ 17th Ward to East New Orleans. It was around the time of the move that Dwayne Carter began to get involved more deeply in rap music, signing with Cash Money at the age of 11. A year after his move to East New Orleans, Carter accidentally shot himself in the chest with McDonald’s .44 Taurus Magnum, he would subsequently be on life support for two weeks. A year later, Jacida would demand Carter stay away from Brian “Baby” Williams, having gone to school with his older brother Ronald “Slim” Williams, both founders of Cash Money. The separation would only last a year, as Carter returned to Cash Money after the death of Reginald McDonald on March 7, 1997.
At the age of 16, Wayne had a daughter named Reginae Carter with Antonia “Toya” Johnson, his high school sweetheart. The two later divorced. It is confirmed that Lil Wayne was at one time engaged to Kim Kardashian, but the wedding was cancelled. Wayne is now rumoured to be engaged to Lauren London.
Lil Wayne later enrolled at and is currently attending the University of Houston in Houston, Texas since early 2005, where he is majoring in political science. According to the Cash Money Records website, Wayne later switched his major to psychology.
On July 22, 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested in New York City following a performance at the Beacon Theater. NYPD discovered Wayne and another man smoking marijuana near a tour bus on 61st and Columbus. After taking Wayne into custody, police discovered a pistol on his person, and he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana.
On October 5, 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested in Boise, Idaho, following a performance at Qwest Arena. Wayne was arrested on felony fugitive charges after Georgia authorities accused the rapper of possessing a controlled substance. Wayne was freed on $20,000 bond. The incident was later described as a “mix-up” and the fugitive charges were dropped.
On January 23, 2008, Lil Wayne was arrested alongside two others. His tour bus was stopped by Border Patrol agents near Yuma, Arizona. Lil Wayne had a .44 calibre pistol. A K-9 Unit recovered 105 grams of marijuana (3.7 ounces), almost 29 grams of cocaine (1.02 ounces), 41 grams of Ecstasy (1.05 ounces) and $22,000 dollars in cash. It was released that he has his Concealed Weapons License, completed for the state of Florida; however the power of jurisdiction falls under state ruling, and his legitimacy of possessing a firearm in the state of Florida holds no significance in Arizona. He has since been released on bail of $10,185.
Wayne’s first contact with hip-hop was listening to local Cash Money Records artists like Pimp Daddy and U.N.L.V., whom he would later credit as his earliest influences. Wayne began rapping at block parties as a child. His performance at one of the parties caught the ear of Lil Slim, a Cash Money rapper from the neighbourhood, who gave Lil Wayne his phone number. He went to an autograph-signing session with Lil Slim, and there met the Williams brothers, but they were initially reluctant to sign him. Eleven-year-old Wayne started to record freestyles on Baby’s answering machine and would frequently visit Cash Money offices. When Baby saw so much enthusiasm in the young rapper, he signed him. Wayne was later hooked up with another newcomer, Lil’ Doogie (who would later become as famous as B.G.), to form The B.G.’z. The group released their first and only album, True Story, in 1995.
In 1997, Wayne formed the Hot Boys along with Juvenile, Turk, and B.G., and they released their seminal début CD Get It How You Live. The record’s success earned fans throughout the South and Midwest. He further distinguished himself on the Hot Boys’ multi platinum-selling Universal début, Guerrilla Warfare, which was released in 1998 and was followed by their 2003 release, Let Em Burn.
In 2005, 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, Wayne reports that he has stepped down from the management of both labels and has handed management of Young Money over to Cortez Bryant.
Wayne’s début solo album featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and went double platinum, climbing to #3 on the Billboard album charts. The album earned Wayne a 1999 Source award nomination for “Best New Artist”. The title track became a Top Ten hit. Other notable tracks included “Fuck tha World”—a rare instance of Wayne using profanity in his early career—in which he describes the pressures that accompany having a daughter at age 16.
The previous year, 1998, Wayne was featured on the song, “Back That Azz Up”, with Juvenile and Mannie Fresh, which marked his first single as a featured performer. After the release of Tha Block is Hot, Wayne was featured on the single, “Bling Bling”, with B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Big Tymers.
Wayne’s follow-up album failed to attain the level of success achieved by his début, although is was certified Gold. At this point in his development as an emcee, 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. Notable tracks included “Everything,” which Wayne dedicated to his late stepfather Reginald “Rabbit” McDonald, and “Grown Man,” in which Wayne raps about the responsibilities that come with adulthood. Near the release of Lights Out, Wayne was featured on the single, “1# Stunna” with Big Tymers and Juvenile, which rose to 24th place on the U.S. R&B charts.
In the summer of 2004, Wayne released Tha Carter. 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 début of Wayne’s now-signature dreadlocks. Tha Carter gained Wayne significant recognition, selling 878,000 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. Before the release of the album, Wayne garnered attention by releasing a mixtape called The Prefix, which included him rapping over a handful of beats from Jay-Z’s The Black Album. Wayne’s connection to Jay-Z continued on Tha Carter, when he referred to himself as, “The best rapper alive, since the best rapper retired” on the track “Bring It Back,” referencing Jay-Z’s subsequent retirement after releasing The Black Album. This statement by Wayne marked the first time he called himself “The Best Rapper Alive” on a recording. Wayne’s continued use of the boast from this point on in his career has essentially transformed the phrase into yet another nickname for the rapper.
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. It was the highest ranking for a song in which Lil Wayne was featured in in the Hot 100 charts, and was the second-highest R&B position.
December 6, 2005 brought the second instalment of “Tha Carter” series. The album marked yet another shift in 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 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. 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. Other notable tracks include “Fly In,” “Carter II,” and “Fly Out” which mirror the series of “walk” tracks that appeared on Tha Carter. Wayne also furthered his claim of being the “Best Rapper Alive” by including a track of the same name on the album.
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.
Wayne’s popularity continued to climb in the years following “Tha Carter” albums, yet no major solo album debuted during this period. Wayne did have a collaboration album with Birdman, called Like Father, Like Son. Instead, Wayne reached his audience through a plethora of mixtapes and guest appearances on a variety of pop and hip-hop singles. Of Wayne’s many mixtapes, Dedication 2 and Da Drought 3 received the most media exposure and critical review. The former, released in 2006, paired Wayne with DJ Drama and contained the acclaimed socially conscious track “Georgia…….Bush,” in which Wayne critiqued President George W. Bush’s response to the tragic 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 Wayne rapping over a variety of beats from recent hits by other musicians. The impressive flow, varied deliveries, charisma, dexterous free-styling that appeared on these mixtapes vaulted Wayne into the public eye, and won him a number of features in prominent hip-hop magazines, such as XXL and Vibe.
Despite no album release for two years, Wayne was featured in numerous singles as a featured performer. Wayne’s first performance in 2006 was on the remix of Chris Brown’s “Gimme That”, which rose to #15 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B charts. Another single, “Make It Rain” with Fat Joe, rose to #13 on the Hot 100, #6 on the R&B, and #2 on the U.S. Rap Charts. His next performance, on Lloyd’s “You”, peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B, the highest ever for a song featuring Wayne. Wayne’s first performance of 2007, with DJ Khaled, Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and Birdman on “We Takin Over”, rose to #11 on the Rap charts. Lil Wayne and Birdman again teamed up, after the release of “Like Father, Like Son”, on the song “Pop Bottles”. The single reached #15 on the R&B charts, and #6 on the Rap chart gotten me pretty horny sometimes :P then, like im off to beds. His next featured single, “Duffle Bag Boy” with Playaz Circle, reached #15 on the Hot 100, #4 on the R&B and #2 on the Rap charts. The next single, “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)” with Wyclef Jean and Akon, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100. Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Fat Joe, Birdman, and Rick Ross all teamed-up on the “I’m So Hood” remix, which rose to #19 on the Hot 100, #9 on the R&B, and #5 on the Rap charts.
Tha Carter III (2008)
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”. 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.
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 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 #14 on the Billboard 100 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, becoming the second-highest peaking single as a solo artist behind “Lollipop”. Along with his album singles, 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.
He has announced several possible projects following Tha Carter III, including a collaboration with rapper Juelz Santana entitled I Can’t Feel My Face that has been in production for several years. On the website HipHopDX.com, he has spoken about a possible R&B album titled Luv Sawngz, featuring heavy reliance on a vocoder. He has also tentatively scheduled a collaboration album with singer Lloyd titled Best of Young Worlds. DJ Drama stated that there would be a third installation of the Dedication mixtape series with Wayne, who has instead stated that he will do an full album under the title. On June 17th, 2008, Lil Wayne put out a video on the internet thanking everyone for buying Tha Carter III. At the end of the video, Wayne said “Gettin’ back to work. Carter IV.” which hints at a possible fourth entry into Tha Carter series. On June 19th, Lil Wayne and T-Pain formed a supergroup called T-Wayne, they also plan to release an album. On June 20th, Billboard.com announced that Lil Wayne will be joining the lineup for the New Orleans’ 2008 Voodoo Experience, being held Oct. 24-26. This event will mark his biggest hometown headlining set of his career. Lil Wayne will be reuniting with Hot Boys along side Juvenile, Turk, and B.G. They plan to release an album after B.G.’s solo album Too Hood to Be Hollywood is completed.
We Are Young Money (2009)
On December 23, 2009, Wayne released a collaboration album with Young Money, with the first single confirmed as “Every Girl”. The second single is “BedRock”, featuring Lloyd. The third single is “Roger That”. On May 24, 2010, the album was certified gold by the RIAA with over 500,000 copies sold.
Wayne is featured on the song, “Revolver”, with Madonna for her 2009 greatest hits album, Celebration. He was also featured on a Weezer song, “Can’t Stop Partying”, on their 2009 album, Raditude.
In late 2008, Wayne stated that he would re-release The Carter III with leftover tracks and call it Rebirth, several months later, however, he announced Rebirth would instead release as his debut rock album, maintaining its title as Rebirth. To support the release of Rebirth and a collaboration album with Young Money Entertainment, Wayne headlined the ‘Young Money Presents: America’s Most Wanted Music Festival’… a United States and Canada–only concert tour which started on July 29, 2009. The Rebirth album was originally scheduled for a April 7, 2009 release, however after numerous delays, the album was released on February 2, 2010. For the anticipation of Rebirth, Wayne was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone.
“Prom Queen”, the first official single, debuted on January 27, 2009 immediately after a live Internet broadcast on Ustreamof his concert in San Diego.”Prom Queen” peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. On December 3, 2009, Lil Wayne’s second single from the album, “On Fire”, was released on iTunes. “On Fire” was produced by Cool & Dre.”On Fire” peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. “Drop the World”, which features Eminem, is the third single from the album.
I Am Not a Human Being
Lil Wayne was thought to be releasing an EP entitled I Am Not a Human Being, but it was confirmed that would be a full length LP. The album was released on September 27, 2010 which was his birthday. The album has sold over 925,000 copies in the U.S. and has spawned a successful single in “Right Above It” which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Legal Dramas & Imprisonment
On July 22, 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested in New York City following a performance at the Beacon Theatre; 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 .40 caliber pistol on his person. The gun, which was registered to his manager, was in a bag located near the rapper. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana. On October 22, 2009, Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He was due for sentencing in February 2010 and was expected to receive a one-year county jail sentence, but on February 9, 2010, Lil Wayne’s attorney announced that the sentencing was delayed until March 2 due to dental surgery, which was performed on February 16. The surgery included eight root canals, the replacement of several tooth implants, as well as the addition of a few new implants and work on his remaining original teeth. On March 2, 2010, sentencing was postponed again when the courthouse reported a fire in the basement. On March 8, 2010, Lil Wayne was sentenced to a year in prison, which he served in Rikers Island. His lawyer said the rapper expected to be held in protective custody, separated from other prisoners. He was released on good behavior. However, in May 2010 Wayne was found by Rikers Island correctional staff to be in possession of contraband (an MP3 player, charger, and headphones). However at that time, it was reported by MTV and HipHopDX (and later confirmed) that Lil Wayne was to be released four months early in November. In April 2010, Lil Wayne’s friends created a website called Weezy Thanx You, which publishes letters written by Wayne in prison. In the first letter, titled “Gone ‘til November”, the rapper described his daily routine, saying he works out a lot, and reads the Bible every day. Wayne was released from Rikers Island prison facility on November 4, 2010 after serving eight months of his year-long sentence.
Following a performance at Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho, Lil Wayne was arrested October 5, 2007 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 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 (3.7 oz) of marijuana, almost 29 grams (1.0 oz) of cocaine, 41 grams (1.4 oz) of MDMA, and $22,000 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.A bench warrant was issued on March 17, 2010 when Lil Wayne did not show for a final trial management conference. However, the rapper was already in prison, serving a year-long sentence in Rikers on weapons charges. On June 22, 2010 Wayne plead guilty to the charges. As part of the plea deal he may serve 36 months of probation.On June 30, 2010, he was sentenced to 3 years probation.
In February 2009, production company RMF Productions filed a $1.3 million lawsuit against Wayne, following a $100,000 advance payment for three shows, all of which were cancelled by the artist.
On October 2009, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Cash Money Records, and various music distribution outlets were sued for copyright infringement by Thomas Marasciullo, who claims his voice was used without permission. The rappers asked him to record some “Italian-styled spoken word recordings” in 2006. The lyrics were allegedly used on “Respect” and other tracks from the rappers’ collaboration album Like Father, Like Son and Birdman’s 5 * Stunna.
On December 18, 2009, Wayne and 11 others were detained at the Falfurrias, Texas border patrol checkpoint after an unknown amount of marijuana was found on two of his tour buses.
The release of the album Tha Carter III has been marred by a series of lawsuits:
In March 2011, producer Deezle (Darius Harrison) sued Wayne and his parent labels Cash Money Records over unpaid royalties from the same album.
In May 2011, producer Bangladesh also filed a lawsuit against Weezy & Co. over unpaid royalties as well.
In early June 2011, another producer named David Kirkwood filed a lawsuit against Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records on claims that the labels have failed to pay him over $1.5 million in royalties and production services for his work on the album, also including his songwriting on “Love Me or Hate Me”, a bonus song featured only on the deluxe edition of the album.
Also in June 2011, Dallas producers Play-N-Skillz filed a lawsuit against him claiming Wayne owes them at least $1 million in unpaid royalties for “Got Money” from his album Tha Carter III a major hit for Wayne released in May 2008. The single has sold over 2 million copies since being released.
Tha Carter IV (2010-present)
In an interview on MTV’s Mixtape Monday, Wayne asserted the possibility of the album Tha Carter IV. Following Tha Carter III’s achievement of selling over 3 million copies, becoming 2008’s best-selling record, Wayne re-signed with Cash Money Records for a multi-album deal. Wayne said Tha Carter IV will be released in 2009 just before the holidays. Birdman had previously stated that Tha Carter IV would be packaged with Rebirth as a double disc album. However, Wayne denied this idea saying that “Tha Carter IV deserves Tha Carter IV”. He went on to say that We Are Young Money may be packaged with Rebirth. However, it was later confirmed that Rebirth and We Are Young Money will be released separately and that Tha Carter IV will be released during 2011. He started from scratch on Tha Carter IV since getting released from prison. He recorded his first track since being released from prison and it was described as being “a 2010 version of A Milli on steroids.” The album is set to feature multiple guests, including Tech N9ne.The first single “6 Foot 7 Foot” featuring Cory Gunz was released on December 15, 2010. It was available for digital download on iTunes December 16, 2010. The song is produced by Bangladesh, who also produced Lil Wayne’s single “A Milli” in 2008. On March 8, 2011, Weezy released another song called “We Back Soon.” The song is produced by StreetRunner; It is more relaxed than “6 Foot 7 Foot” is, but will not be a track on Tha Carter IV. He also released a second single to Tha Carter IV called “John” on March 24, 2011, which features Rick Ross and is produced by Polow Da Don.On April 20, 2011, the official cover of Tha Carter IV was released. Tha Carter IV was scheduled to be released on May 16, 2011, but Mack Maine had confirmed that the forthcoming ninth studio album will be released in June 21, 2011 instead of May 16, 2011, because they need more time to make the album perfect and they’ll have a “monster” single coming soon that will possibly be titled “Blows My Brains” or “She’s Always In My Head”. On May 26, the 3rd single, “How to Love” was released. Tha Carter IV was eventually pushed back to August 29, 2011. A song called “Dear Anne (Stan Part 2)” was released in June, when the snippet was released back in April. Lil Wayne said the song was throw away track for Tha Carter III. He said it was originally suppose to be on Tha Carter IV when it leaked, but decided not to put it one there. He said he’s not a fan of the song since it was so old. Lil Wayne said that he that liked the beat, but not the lyrics, and was thinking about redoing “Dear Anne.”
For preparation for Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne will release a mixtape titled, Sorry 4 the Wait. It was named this because he is saying sorry to his fans because they have been waiting on the release of Tha Carter IV. He said it will consist of about 10 tracks and will be similar to No Ceilings but better.
Lil Wayne said that he that liked the beat, but not the lyrics, and was thinking about redoing “Dear Anne.” In July 2011, Lil Wayne confirmed in an interview with MTV that Tha Carter IV is finished.
On March 12, 2011, rapper Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit tweeted that Lil Wayne will be featured on the song “Ready To Go” from Limp Bizkit’s upcoming album Gold Cobra, although it was later revealed that the song did not make the final tracklist.
Lil Wayne has announced several possible upcoming projects, including a collaboration album I Can’t Feel My Face with rapper Juelz Santana that has been in production for several years. And also working on Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins’ album Still Cool in late 2011. 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. On June 19, 2008, Lil Wayne and T-Pain formed a duo called T-Wayneand planned to release an album. On June 8, 2010, Drake confirmed that he and Wayne are planning to release a joint album in the future. Lil Wayne and Baby will release a second Like Father, Like Son.Wayne and Drake will release a collaboration album sometime in the near future.
- 1999 Tha Block Is Hot (Platinum)
- 2000 Lights Out (Gold)
- 2002 500 Degreez (Gold)
- 2005 Tha Carter (Gold)
- 2005 Tha Carter II (Platinum)
- 2008 Tha Carter III (Platinum)
- 2011 Tha Carter IV (Platinum)