Lil Wayne (American Rapper)
Lil Wayne Biography
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is a famous American hip hop recording artist who has achieved several feats in the field including winning the prestigious Grammy Award. Starting off as a pro at the age of nine with ‘Cash Money Records’, Wayne became part of the American teenage hip-hop duo, ‘The B.G.’z’ along with rapper Lil’ Doogie. After a couple of years, he joined American hip hop group ‘Hot Boys’ along with Young Turk, Juvenile and Lil’ Doogie, who is now known as B.G. Eventually, the group’s fame zoomed with its single ‘Bling Bling’ and platinum-selling album ‘Guerrilla Warfare’. He came out with his solo debut album during that time titled ‘Tha Block Is Hot’ which received a platinum certification from ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ (RIAA). This was followed by a series of other hit and popular albums by the hip hop sensation that not only earned him international fame but also cemented his position among the notable international hip hop artists. He became one of the all-time best selling music artists with a global sale of over 100 million records. His most remarkable and successful album ‘Tha Carter III’ sold more than one million copies in the US in its first-week and won him the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Rap Album’. Lil Wayne founded his own record label ‘Young Money Entertainment’.
Lil Wayne Childhood & Early Life
Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. on September 27, 1982, in New Orleans, Louisiana, US. When he was two years of age, his parents divorced and Wayne started living with his mother, a cook. He was raised in Hollygrove, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of New Orleans.
He was quite close to his stepfather Rabbit who was eventually killed. Wayne has a tattoo in Rabbit’s memory.
Talking about why he dropped the ‘D’ from his name, Wayne mentioned in a CBS interview, “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”.
He started writing rap songs at just eight years of age and met American rapper, record producer and co-founder of ‘Cash Money Records’ Bryan Williams better known by stage names Birdman and Baby in 1991.
Impressed by the talent of eight-year-old Wayne, who recorded freestyle raps on answering machines of Birdman, the later became Wayne’s mentor and included him in ‘Cash Money Records’. Eventually, the two started sharing a father–son bonding with Birdman calling Wayne his son.
He joined the American teenage hip-hop duo ‘The B.G.’z’ and along with rapper Lil’ Doogie came up with the group’s debut album ‘True Story’ on July 29, 1995, by ‘Cash Money Records’, which also marked his debut collaboration album.
He met with an unfortunate accident at 12 when he accidentally shot himself with a 9mm handgun and was rushed to hospital by an off-duty police officer, Robert Hoobler.
He attended ‘Eleanor McMain Secondary School’ for a couple of years and then ‘Marion Abramson Senior High School’ but dropped out at 14 years of age to concentrate on his musical pursuits.
He became a part of the hip hop group, ‘Hot Boys’ in 1996. The second studio album of the group ‘Guerrilla Warfare’ released on July 27, 1999, and topped the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and reached No. 5 on Billboard 200 giving the group including Wayne a basic recognition.
Wayne came up with his debut solo album ‘Tha Block Is Hot’, which was released by ‘Cash Money Records’ on November 2, 1999. The album that became a Top Ten hit and reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 was given platinum certification by RIAA.
His next two albums ‘Lights Out’ (2000) and ‘500 Degreez’ (2002) although earned gold certification from RIAA failed to catch up with the success of ‘Tha Block Is Hot’.
His fourth album ‘Tha Carter’ released by ‘Cash Money Records’ and ‘Universal Records’ on June 29, 2004, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and marked a first-week sale of 116,000 copies in the US. It also received gold certification from RIAA.
He became the president of Cash Money in 2005 and in that year itself he founded the record label ‘Young Money Entertainment’ which is an imprint of ‘Cash Money Records’. However, in late 2007 he mentioned giving up the management positions from both the labels.
The sequel to ‘Tha Carter’ titled ‘Tha Carter II’ marked his fifth studio album and was released by ‘Cash Money Records’ and ‘Universal Distribution’ on December 6, 2005. It surpassed its predecessor by debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and selling over 238,000 copies in its first week.
‘Tha Carter II’ received gold certification from RIAA on January 18, 2006 and on March 23, it earned platinum.
Moving on, this virtuoso came up with what is considered to be his most remarkable and successful album till date, ‘Tha Carter III’, which released on June 10, 2008. The album not only topped the Billboard Hot 100 but also garnered triple-platinum certification from RIAA on February 12, 2009.
‘Tha Carter III’ fetched him the prestigious ‘Grammy Awards’ for ‘Best Rap Album’ in 2009. That year he also bagged three more Grammy Awards – ‘Best Rap Solo Performance’ for ‘A Milli’; ‘Best Rap Song’ for ‘Lollipop’; and ‘Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group’ for ‘Swagga Like Us’ shared with T.I., Jay-Z & Kanye West.
Other notable albums of Wayne include ‘Rebirth’ (2010), ‘Tha Carter IV’ (2011), and ‘Free Weezy Album’ (2015) among others. Over the years he has collaborated with several artists and featured in numerous singles of other singers.
He received kudos for his mixtapes as well such as ‘Dedication 2’ (2006), and ‘Da Drought 3’ (2007). He also forayed into acting with films like ‘Baller Blockin’ (2000) and ‘Hurricane Season’ (2009) and featured in TV series like ‘Saturday Night Live’ (2004, 2008, 2010), ‘Wild ‘n Out’ (2005) and ‘The Boondocks’ (2007).
Personal Life & Legacy
Wayne has four children namely daughter Reginae from his high school sweetheart, Antonia, with whom he was married from 2004 to 2006; son, Dwayne III, from radio broadcaster Sarah Vivan; son, Cameron, from actress Lauren London; and son, Neal, from singer, Nivea.
He was also romantically associated with rapper, Trina, and singer, Christina Milian.
From January 2005 he started attending ‘University of Houston’ post his GED, however dropped out later. He later took up online courses from the ‘University of Phoenix’ and majored in psychology.
Wayne has had his share of legal hassles several times including being convicted and sentenced to one-year of prison on March 8, 2010, for criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana. He served his jail term in ‘Rikers Island Jail’ and was released after eight months on November 4, 2010.
On October 11, 2016, his memoir ‘Gone Til’ November’ in which he shared his experience in Riker’s Island was released.
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