Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known professionally as Lil Wayne, is an American rapper. Lil Wayne's career began in 1991 at the age of nine, when he was discovered by Bryan "Baby" Williams and joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo The B.G.'z, alongside fellow New Orleans-based rapper B.G., then known as Lil' Doogie. In 1996, Lil Wayne and B.G. joined the southern hip hop group Hot Boys, with Cash Money label-mates Juvenile and Turk. Hot Boys debuted with Get It How U Live!, that same year. Most of the group's success came with their platinum-selling album Guerrilla Warfare (1999) and the 1999 single "Bling Bling". For many years, he was the flagship artist of Cash Money Records, before ending his long-tenured deal with the company in June 2018.
Lil Wayne's solo debut album Tha Block Is Hot (1999) was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA). His subsequent albums, Lights Out (2000) and 500 Degreez (2002), went on to be certified gold. Wayne reached higher popularity with his fourth album Tha Carter (2004), which was led by the single "Go D.J." and his appearance on Destiny's Child's Top 10 single "Soldier", that same year. The album was followed by Tha Carter II (2005), as well as several mixtapes and collaborations throughout 2006 and 2007. Wayne gained more prominence with his sixth album Tha Carter III (2008), which became his most successful album to date, with first-week sales of over one million copies in the United States. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and includes the hit singles "Lollipop", "A Milli" and "Got Money".
Following the success of Tha Carter III, Wayne decided to record a rock-esque album titled Rebirth. The album, released in 2010, was certified gold by the RIAA, despite a generally negative critical response. In March 2010, Lil Wayne began serving an 8-month jail sentence in New York after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007. Wayne's eighth album I Am Not a Human Being (2010), was released during his incarceration. His 2011 album and first following his release, Tha Carter IV, sold 964,000 copies in its first week of availability in the United States. It includes the singles "6 Foot 7 Foot", "How to Love" and "She Will". On September 27, 2012, Lil Wayne passed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 109 songs. The record has since been passed by other artists. Lil Wayne's twelfth studio album, Tha Carter V, has been delayed multiple times and has no scheduled release date. Lil Wayne has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including more than 15 million albums and 37 million digital tracks in the United States, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.Lil Wayne also currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Young Money Entertainment.
Early Life[edit | edit source]
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. was born on September 27, 1982, and grew up in the impoverished Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. His mother, a cook, gave birth to him when she was 19 years old. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his father permanently abandoned the family. Although Wayne and Birdman have a father-son relationship and Birdman calls Carter his son, Wayne's biological father and namesake (Dwayne Carter) is still alive. Lil Wayne has also spoken about his deceased stepfather, Reginald "Rabbit" McDonald, who he has said he considers his real father. Carter has a tattoo dedicated to Rabbit, who was murdered before Carter became a star. Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School. Wayne attended McMain in the early 1990s for two years. He moved to the Marion Abramson Senior High School.
In a CBS interview with Katie Couric, Wayne described why he goes by the name of "Wayne" instead of his given name, Dwayne. Carter explained, "I dropped the D because I'm a junior and my father is living and he's not in my life and he's never been in my life. So I don't want to be Dwayne, I'd rather be Wayne". Couric asked Wayne if his father knew of this and Wayne replied with a smile, "He knows now."
He wrote his first rap song at age eight. In the summer of 1991, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Carter recorded freestyle raps on Williams's answering machine, leading him to mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. He also recorded his first ever collaboration album True Story with rapper B.G.. At the time, Carter was 11, and B.G. was 14, and was billed as "The B.G.'z". When he was 12, he played the part of the Tin Man in his middle school drama club's production of The Wiz. At age 12, he deliberately shot himself with a 9 mm handgun, and off-duty police officer Robert Hoobler drove him to the hospital. At McMain Magnet School, Carter was an honors student, but he dropped out at the age of 14 to focus on a musical career.
Career[edit | edit source]
In 1996, Carter joined the Hot Boys along with rappers Juvenile, B.G., and Turk. At age 15, Carter was the youngest member at the time. Hot Boys' debut album Get It How U Live! was released the same year, followed in 1999 by the group's major-label debut Guerrilla Warfare, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 5 on the Billboard 200. During their career, the Hot Boys had two charting singles, "We on Fire" from Get It How U Live! and "I Need a Hot Girl" from Guerrilla Warfare. Carter was also featured on Juvenile's single "Back That Azz Up", which reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. Let 'Em Burn, a compilation album of unreleased tracks recorded during 1999 and 2000, came out in 2003, several years after the group disbanded. It reached No. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 14 on the Billboard 200.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Lil Wayne has four children. His first child, daughter Reginae, was born when he was 16, to his high school sweetheart Antonia "Toya" Carter (née Johnson). They married on Valentine's Day 2004 and divorced in 2006. Internet rumors started circulating in August 2008 that Wayne's daughter had died in a car crash, which however he quickly cleared up as false saying "Please allow me to dispel any rumors or speculations and report that my daughter is alive, healthy and surrounded by family who cares and loves her dearly. The rumors are completely false and unfounded; neither Reginae nor any other member of my family has been involved in any car accident."
His second child, Dwayne III, was born on October 22, 2008, at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati to radio broadcaster Sarah Vivan. His third child, Cameron Carter, was born to actress Lauren London on September 9, 2009. His fourth child, Neal, was born on November 30, 2009, to singer Nivea. He also got rapper Trina pregnant but she suffered a miscarriage.
In July 2014, it was rumored he was dating singer Christina Milian whom he attended the ESPY Awards with. They later confirmed their relationship in mid-2015 after which they received criticism from their interconnected exes, singer Nivea and songwriter The-Dream. They split at the end of 2015 after collaborating on various singles, videos, and concert dates.
Discography[edit | edit source]
Studio albums[edit | edit source]
- Tha Block Is Hot (1999)
- Lights Out (2000)
- 500 Degreez (2002)
- Tha Carter (2004)
- Tha Carter II (2005)
- 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)
- Tha Carter V (2018)
- Funeral (2020)
Collaboration albums[edit | edit source]
- Get It How U Live! with Hot Boys (1997)
- Guerrilla Warfare with Hot Boys (1998)
- Let 'Em Burn with Hot Boys (2003)
- Like Father, Like Son with Birdman (2006)
Extended plays[edit | edit source]
- The Leak (2007)
- In Tune We Trust (2017)
Filmography[edit | edit source]
Filmography[edit | edit source]
|2000||Baller Blockin'||Iceberg Shorty|
|2007||Who's Your Caddy?||Himself|
|2010||Freaknik: The Movie||Trap Jesus||Voice role|
|2004||MTV Cribs||Himself||September 22, 2004|
|The L-Bow Room||Himself||October 21, 2004|
|The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn||Himself||October 29, 2004|
|Saturday Night Live||Himself, musical guest||Season 30, Episode 8: "Robert De Niro/Destiny's Child"|
Season 24, Episode 1: "Michael Phelps/Lil Wayne"
Season 36, Episode 10: "Jeff Bridges/Eminem & Lil Wayne"
|2005||The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||Himself||Season 13, Episode 84|
|Wild 'n Out||Himself, musical guest||Season 1, Episode 7: "Omarion"|
|2007||The Boondocks||Jericho's son||Season 2, Episode 9: "Invasion of the Katrinians"|
|2009||Late Show with David Letterman||Himself||Season 16, Episode 85|
|2011||America's Best Dance Crew||Himself||Season 6, Episode 1: "Lil Wayne Challenge"|
|The World According to Paris||Himself||Season 1, Episode 8: "Every Day Is My Birthday"|
|2012||Loiter Squad||Himself||Season 1, Episode 7: "Episode 7"|
|2017||Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta||Himself||Season 1, Episode 1: "Lil' Trouble in the A"|