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Lil Wayne
LIL WAYNE BY CHRIS ALLMEID.jpg
Lil Wayne in 2020
Born
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.

(1982-09-27) September 27, 1982 (age 41)
Other names
  • Weezy
  • Weezy F. Baby
  • Tunechi
  • President Carter
Education University of Phoenix
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record executive
  • entrepreneur
Years active 1995–present
Agent
Title
  • Founder of Young Money Entertainment
  • Co-founder of Trukfit Clothing
Spouse(s)
(m. 2004; div. 2006)
Partner(s)
  • Nivea (2002–2003, 2009–2010; ex-fiancée)
  • Lauren London (2007–2009)
  • La'Tecia Thomas (2019–2020; ex-fiancée)
  • Denise Bidot (2020–present)
Children 4
Awards Full list
Musical career
Origin Hollygrove, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Labels
Lil Wayne logo.svg

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known professionally as Lil Wayne, 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. From then on, Wayne was the flagship artist of Cash Money Records before ending his association with the company in June 2018.

Early life

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.

Career

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. The Hot Boys became popular following the release of the album Guerrilla Warfare (1999) and the song "Bling Bling".

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.

Lil Wayne reached higher popularity with his fourth album Tha Carter (2004) and fifth album Tha Carter II (2005), as well as several mixtapes and collaborations throughout 2006 and 2007. He gained more prominence within the music industry with his sixth album Tha Carter III (2008), with first-week sales of over one million copies in the US. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and included successful singles "A Milli", "Got Money" (featuring T-Pain), and "Lollipop" (featuring Static Major)—the latter being his first single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

In February 2010, Wayne released his seventh studio album, Rebirth, which experimented with rap rock and was met with generally negative reviews. His eighth studio album I Am Not a Human Being was released in 2010.

Lil Wayne - Beacon Theatre
Lil Wayne at Beacon Theatre in 2007

Tha Carter V was released on September 27, 2018, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 480,000 album-equivalent units, including 140,000 pure album sales. It is the second-largest streaming week for an album behind Drake's Scorpion with 433 million streams. It is also Carter's fourth US number-one album. Every song on the album charted on the Billboard 100, while simultaneously charting 4 songs in the top 10, also becoming the first artist to debut two songs in the top 5.

Lil Wayne has sold over 120 million records worldwide, including more than 20 million albums and 70 million digital tracks in the United States, making him one of the world's best-selling music artists. 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. He has won five Grammy Awards, 11 BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards and eight NAACP Image Awards. On September 27, 2012, he became the first male artist to surpass Elvis Presley with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100, with 109 songs. Lil Wayne also currently serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label, Young Money Entertainment.

Personal life

Relationships and children

Carter has four children. His first child, daughter Reginae, was born November 29, 1998, when he was 16, to his high school sweetheart Toya Johnson. They later married on Valentine's Day 2004 and divorced in 2006.

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, was born to actress Lauren London on September 9, 2009. His fourth child, Neal, was born on November 30, 2009, to singer Nivea. Trina also became pregnant with Carter's child, but later suffered a miscarriage.

In July 2014, it was rumored that Carter was dating singer Christina Milian whom he attended the ESPY Awards with. They later confirmed their relationship. The couple split at the end of 2015 after collaborating on various singles, videos, and concert dates.

Wayne was engaged to model La'Tecia Thomas, but called off the engagement in May 2020.

In June 2020, it was announced that Wayne had started dating Denise Bidot, another model. In November 2020, they reportedly broke up. Shortly after, it was reported that the couple had reconciled.

Beliefs and interests

In an interview with Blender, Carter revealed one of his favorite bands from childhood to be rock group Nirvana, and cites them as a major influence in his music.

Lil Wayne
Wayne in 2006

After earning his GED, Carter enrolled at the University of Houston in January 2005. He dropped out in the same year due to his conflicting schedule. He also revealed on The View that he switched to the University of Phoenix and majored in psychology taking online courses. An article in Urb magazine in March 2007 asserted that Carter had been earning high grades at Houston.

On September 24, 2008, Carter published his first blog for ESPN in their issue, ESPN The Magazine. Carter revealed he was a fan of tennis, the Green Bay Packers, the Boston Bruins, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Red Sox.

Philanthropy

On February 19, 2008, Carter and Cortez Bryant revisited their alma mater McMain Secondary School to get students to design an invitation to the gala introducing Carter's nonprofit One Family Foundation.

Other ventures

Young Money Entertainment

Books

Carter wrote a memoir of his experience in Rikers Island called Gone Til' November: A Journal of Rikers Island that was released October 11, 2016.

Discography

Lil Wayne logo
Lil Wayne's general marketing logo, used since 2010
Studio albums
  • 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)
  • Tha Carter VI (TBA)
  • I Am Not a Human Being III (TBA)

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes
2000 Baller Blockin' Iceberg Shorty
2007 Who's Your Caddy? Himself
2009 Hurricane Season Lamont
2010 Freaknik: The Movie Trap Jesus Voice role

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2004 MTV Cribs Himself September 22, 2004
The L-Bow Room October 21, 2004
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn October 29, 2004
2004
2008
2010
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 (voice) 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 Season 6, Episode 1: "Lil Wayne Challenge"
The World According to Paris Season 1, Episode 8: "Every Day Is My Birthday"
2012 Loiter Squad Season 1, Episode 7: "Episode 7"
2016–present Skip and Shannon: Undisputed Himself, musical guest Theme song performer Episodes 1
2017 Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta Himself Season 1, Episode 1: "Lil' Trouble in the A"
2020 The Masked Singer Robot/Himself Season 3: Eliminated in Episode 1

Awards and nominations

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Lil Wayne para niños

  • List of artists who reached number one in the United States
  • List of best-selling music artists in the United States
  • List of best-selling singles in the United States
  • List of best-selling singles worldwide
  • List of best-selling albums by year in the United States
  • List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart

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