Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana), known professionally as Lil Wayne, aka Weezy F. Baby or Lil Tunechi, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record executive. His career began in 1995, at the age of 12, when he was signed by rapper Birdman, joining Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label. Formerly a member of the rap group Hot Boy$, he joined the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager. Get It How U Live, released in 1997, was Lil Wayne’s first album with Hot Boy$. From then on, Wayne was the flagship artist of Cash Money Records before ending his association with the company in June 2018. Regarded as one of the most influential hip hop artists of his generation by XXL, he has often been cited as one of the greatest rappers of all time.
Lil' Wayne's first solo album, Tha Block is Hot (1999), was certified platinum.
His following albums, Lights Out (2000) and 500 Degreez (2002), went gold. Tha Carter (2004) brought Lil' Wayne even more success, specifically the hit single Go D.J..
Tha Carter II (2005) and Tha Carter III (2008) were his next studio efforts, with the latter being a runaway success selling over 1 million copies in the first week of release in the United States alone and winning the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. It included the the singles Lollipop, A-Milli and Got-Money.
Lil' Wayne released two albums in 2010; Rebirth, a rock concept album and I Am Not a Human Being, which was released while Carter served time for criminal possession of a weapon.
Tha Carter IV (2011) featured singles 6 Foot 7 Foot, How to Love and She Will.
By August 2012, Carter passed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 109 songs.
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. was born on September 27, 1982, and spent his first few years in the impoverished Hollygrove neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana's 17th Ward. His mother, a cook, gave birth to him when she was 19 years old. His parents divorced when he was two and his father permanently abandoned the family. When CBS interviewer Katie Couric asked why he used the name Wayne instead of his given name, Carter explained that "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". Asked if his father knew of this, Carter replied, "He knows now". Carter has said that he considers his deceased stepfather Reginald "Rabbit" McDonald to be his real father. Carter has a tattoo dedicated to McDonald.
Carter was enrolled in the gifted program at Lafayette Elementary School. He later attended Eleanor McMain Secondary School for two years, where he was an honor student and a member of the drama club, playing the Tin Man in the school's production of The Wiz. After matriculating to Marion Abramson Senior High School, Carter dropped out at age 14 to focus on his musical career.
Carter wrote his first rap song at age eight. In the summer of 1991, he met rapper and Cash Money Records co-founder Bryan "Baby" Williams (known currently as Birdman), who mentored him and encouraged his love of hip-hop; Birdman included Carter on several Cash Money tracks, and Carter would often record freestyle raps on Williams' answering machine.
In 1994, at age 12, Carter suffered a near-fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. At the time he said the injury was accidental. Decades later Carter claimed that it was an attempted suicide after he was told by his mother that he would have to end his rap-related associations. Carter credits off-duty police officer Robert Hoobler, who he calls "Uncle Bob", with saving his life by insisting the dying child be driven immediately to hospital in a police car rather than waiting for an ambulance to become available. Other accounts indicate that several officers played a part in deciding on and implementing that course of action.
In 1997, Carter joined the Hot Boys along with rappers Juvenile, B.G., and Turk. At age 14, 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.
Carter's debut solo album, Tha Block Is Hot, was released when he was 17 and featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys. It debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and was later certified platinum by the RIAA less than two months after its release. The album earned Carter a 1999 Source magazine nomination for "Best New Artist", and also became a Top Ten hit. The lead single was "Tha Block Is Hot". After the release of Tha Block Is Hot, Carter was featured on the single "Bling Bling", with B.G., Juvenile, and Big Tymers. Carter's verse appeared only on the radio version of the song, while on the album version he performed on the chorus.
His second album, Lights Out, was released in 2000, and failed to attain the level of success achieved by his debut but was certified gold by RIAA. Critics noted 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 its lyrical content and style. The second single, which received less attention, was "Shine" featuring the Hot Boys. Near the release of Lights Out, Carter was featured on the single, "Number One Stunna" with Big Tymers and Juvenile, which peaked at number 24 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart.
Carter's third album, 500 Degreez, was released in 2002. It followed the format of his previous two, with significant contributions from the Hot Boys and Mannie Fresh. While being certified gold like its predecessor, it also 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 failed to match the success of his previous singles. After the release of 500 Degreez, Carter was featured on the single "Neva Get Enuf" by 3LW.
In the summer of 2004, Carter's fourth studio album, Tha Carter, was released, marking what critics considered advancement in his rapping style and lyrical themes. In addition, the album's cover art featured the debut 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 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart. After the release of Tha Carter, Lil Wayne was featured in Destiny's Child's single "Soldier" with T.I., which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.
Tha Carter II, the follow-up to the original Tha Carter album, was released in December 2005, this time without production by longtime Cash Money Records producer Mannie Fresh, who had left the label. Tha Carter II sold more than 238,000 copies in its first week of release, debuting at number 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and went on to sell 2,000,000 copies worldwide. The lead single "Fireman" became a hit in the US, peaking at 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Other singles included "Grown Man" with Currensy, "Hustler Musik", and "Shooter" with R&B singer Robin Thicke. Carter also appeared on a remix of Bobby Valentino's "Tell Me", which rose to number 13 on the U.S. R&B Charts. In 2005, Carter 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, Carter reported having stepped down from the management of both labels and had handed management of Young Money over to Cortez Bryant. In 2006, Carter collaborated with Birdman for the album Like Father, Like Son, whose first single "Stuntin' Like My Daddy", reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Instead of a follow-up solo album, Carter began to reach 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 Carter with DJ Drama and contained the acclaimed socially conscious track "Georgia Bush", in which Carter critiqued former 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 Carter rapping over a variety of beats from recent hits by other musicians. A number of prominent hip hop magazines such as XXL and Vibe covered the mixtape. Rolling Stone magazine considered the mixtapes Da Drought 3 and The Drought Is Over 2 "among the best albums of 2007". At the end of 2007, an MTV poll selected Lil Wayne as "Hottest MC in the Game", The New Yorker magazine ranked him "Rapper of the Year", and GQ magazine named him "Workaholic of the Year". In 2008 he was named "Best MC" by Rolling Stone.
Despite no album release for two years, Carter 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. On Birdman's 2007 album, 5 * Stunna, Carter appeared on the singles "100 Million" and "I Run This" among several other tracks. Carter also appeared on tracks from albums Getback by Little Brother, American Gangster by Jay-Z, and Graduation by Kanye West and Insomniac by Enrique Iglesias. "Make it Rain", a Scott Storch production that peaked at number 13 on the Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for 2008.
Tha Carter III was originally scheduled to be released in 2007, but it was delayed after several recordings were leaked and distributed through mixtapes, including The Drought Is Over Pt. 2 and The Drought Is Over Pt. 4. Lil Wayne initially planned to release The Leak, a separate album with leaked songs and four additional tracks, on December 18, 2007, with Tha Carter III delayed to March 18, 2008. Instead, The Leak became an EP with five songs and was released digitally on December 25, 2007.
Tha Carter III was released on June 10, 2008, with first-week sales of over 1 million copies, the first to do so since 50 Cent's The Massacre (2005). The album's first single "Lollipop", featuring Static Major, became the Carter's most successful song at the time, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming his first top 10 single as a solo artist and his first number one on the chart. The third single "Got Money", featuring T-Pain, peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 100. Tha Carter III went on to win four Grammy Awards, including best rap album and best rap song, which he won for "Lollipop". On July 14, 2008, the Recording Industry Association of America certified Tha Carter III two times platinum.
Carter also appeared on R&B singles "Girls Around the World" by Lloyd, "Love In This Club, Part II" by Usher, "Official Girl" by Cassie, "I'm So Paid" by Akon, "Turnin' Me On" by Keri Hilson, and "Can't Believe It" by T-Pain; rap singles "My Life" by The Game, "Shawty Say" by David Banner, "Swagga Like Us" by T.I., "Cutty Buddy" by Mike Jones, All My Life (In the Ghetto) by Jay Rock and the remix to "Certified" by Glasses Malone; and pop single "Let It Rock" by new Cash Money artist Kevin Rudolf.
In 2008, Carter performed at the Voodoo Experience in October in New Orleans, which was described by Jonathan Cohen of Billboard as his biggest hometown headlining set of his career. He also performed at the Virgin Mobile Music Fest with Kanye West, where they performed the remix of "Lollipop" and lip-synced to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You". Lil Wayne also performed at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards with Kid Rock ("All Summer Long"), Leona Lewis ("DontGetIt (Misunderstood)") and T-Pain ("Got Money") and performed "Lollipop" and "Got Money" on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. He later performed at the homecoming rally at Vanderbilt University and the 2008 BET Hip Hop Awards, where he received 12 nominations. He won eight awards at the BET Hip Hop Awards, one of which included the "MVP" title. After M.I.A. dropped out of performing on the I Am Music Tour due to her pregnancy, Jay-Z performed "Mr. Carter" with Lil Wayne at select shows.
Following Tha Carter III's achievement of selling over 3 million copies, becoming 2008's best-selling record, Carter re-signed with Cash Money Records for a multi-album deal. On November 11, 2008, Carter became the first hip hop act to perform at the Country Music Association Awards, playing "All Summer Long" alongside Kid Rock, in which Carter inaudibly strummed guitar strings alongside the guitarist in Kid Rock's band. Shortly after, Wayne was nominated for eight Grammys – the most for any artist nominated that year. He was then named the first MTV Man of the Year at the end of 2008. He won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for "A Milli", Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for his appearance in T.I.'s single "Swagga Like Us", and Best Rap Song for "Lollipop". Tha Carter III won the award for Best Rap Album. MTV News listed Carter number two on their 2009 list of the Hottest MCs In The Game.
In September 2009, Carter was profiled in an episode of VH1's Behind the Music and was a presenter of the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. In film, Carter produced and composed music for and starred in the direct-to-video film Hurricane Season. A documentary of Carter, titled The Carter, was released at the Sundance Film Festival.
On December 23, 2009, Carter released a collaboration album with Young Money, We Are Young Money, with its lead single being "Every Girl". The second single was "BedRock", featuring Lloyd, with the third being "Roger That". On May 24, 2010, the album was certified gold by the RIAA with over 500,000 copies sold. Carter is featured on the song, "Revolver", with Madonna for her greatest hits album, Celebration (2009). He was also featured on the Weezer song, "Can't Stop Partying", on Raditude (2009). In late 2008, Carter announced plans to reissue Tha Carter III with leftover recordings, and was to be titled Rebirth, originally scheduled to be released on April 7, 2009, before being delayed several times. Rebirth instead became his sixth solo album, released on February 2, 2010.
Originally thought to be an EP, Carter released his tenth album, I Am Not a Human Being, on his 28th birthday, September 27, 2010. The album has sold over 953,000 copies in the U.S. and spawned successful single "Right Above It", which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tha Carter IV was later delayed into 2011, after Lil Wayne began recording from scratch after his release from prison. He described his first song since his release as "a 2010 version of A Milli on steroids". The album's lead single, "6 Foot 7 Foot" featuring Cory Gunz, was released on December 15, 2010, and made available for digital download on iTunes on December 16, 2010. The song is produced by Bangladesh, who also produced "A Milli".
On March 8, 2011, Carter released another song, "We Back Soon", produced by StreetRunner, though it was not included on the official track listing of Tha Carter IV. The second single, "John", was released on March 24, 2011, which features Rick Ross and is produced by Polow Da Don. The album's artwork was unveiled on April 20, 2011. The album was originally scheduled to be released on May 16, 2011, but Mack Maine had confirmed its delay until June 21. On May 26, 2011, the third single, "How to Love", was released. A song called "Dear Anne (Stan Part 2)", that was cut from Tha Carter III was released in June.
In preparation for Tha Carter IV, Carter released a mixtape, Sorry 4 the Wait, with all the beats coming from other artist's songs, similar to his mixtape No Ceilings. Tha Carter IV debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 964,000 copies, making it Carter's third chart-topping album of his career. On January 8, 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan was elected the seventh artist (second male artist) all-time best-selling tracks digital with 36,788,000 million to the end of 2011.
After numerous delays, I Am Not a Human Being II was released on March 26, 2013, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 selling 217,000 copies in its first week; “”My Homies Still", "Love Me", and "No Worries" were released as singles prior to its release. The album was met with generally mixed reviews, with most critics noticing the declining quality of his releases. Carter toured North America with 2 Chainz and T.I. on the second America's Most Wanted Festival. On May 3, 2013, Pepsi dropped Carter, who was a spokesperson for Mountain Dew, due to offensive lyrics about civil rights icon Emmett Till. On September 1, 2013, Carter released the fifth instalment of the "Dedication" mixtape series, with Dedication 5. The mixtape featured 29 tracks, with guest appearances from The Weeknd, Chance The Rapper, Jae Millz, Birdman, T.I., Vado, Kidd Kidd, and 2 Chainz among other members of Young Money.
An expected album release in 2014 failed to materialize amid disagreements between Lil Wayne and Cash Money Records. The dispute was exacerbated by the appearance in 2015 of the mixtape Sorry 4 the Wait 2. Lil Wayne then joined the music-streaming service TIDAL, through which he released the mixtape Free Weezy Album. It was not until 2018, after the artist and Cash Money Records parted ways, that the long-anticipated Tha Carter V finally appeared, to generally favourable reviews and with his usual commercial appeal. Funeral (2020) was Lil Wayne’s fifth album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. In 2020 he also pleaded guilty to illegally taking a handgun and ammunition on a private plane. He was expected to receive up to 10 years in prison, but, shortly before his sentencing in January 2021, he was pardoned by then President Donald Trump.
Carter is currently working on Tha Carter VI and I Am Not a Human Being III
Below is a list of other nicknames that Dwayne Carter uses, in alphabetical order:
Apple Eagle Weezle
The BB King
Big Daddy Kane
Big Money Weezy
Bring The Money Home
Cash Money Hot Boy
Cash Money Makaveli
Dr. Carter M.D
I Can't Feel My Face
I Got Enough Money On Me
Lil Birdman Junior
Lil Full Clip Me
Little Big Kahuna
Little Russell Crowe
Money Making Weezy
Mr. Coach Carter
Mr. Crazy Flow
Mr. Director's Chair
Mr. Doctor Carter
Mr. Lawn Mower
Mr. Water Coolers
Mr. Weezy Baby
The New Orleans Nightmare
The Number One Hot Boy On Fire
Ocean Drive Slim
Off The Heezy
The Pussy Monster
Quick Draw McGraw
The Rapper Eater
The Rhyming Oasis
That Lil Nigga With The Rope Full Of Diamonds
Tommy Gun Tunechi
Tunechi The Boss
Weezy Da Crack
Weezy Da King
Weezy Fuckin' Baby
Weezy F Crazy
Weezy The Dime
Weezy The Don
Wizzle F Baby
Young Ass Weezy
Young Fly Wizzy
Young Heart Attack
Young Money Democrat
Young Ozzy Osbourne
Young Roy Jones, Jr
Young Tuna Fish
Young Wayne Carruth
Young Weezy Baby