Fame and fortune is something that most celebrities and artists aspire for. Those who are bitten by the acting bug go on to become actors and actress. Those who are attracted by the beauty of creating films go on and become directors. Those who are blessed with a beautiful voice become singers. Those who have something to say and the talent to make rhymes, go on to become rappers.
Many would argue that hip-hop was at its peak in the ’90s. It was during this era that the big names of hip-hop rose to become popular mainstream artists. Their brand of music was now becoming mainstream and it was becoming big business. If you were a fan of hip-hop in the ’90s, it really didn’t matter if you listened to east coast or west coast artists because the fact of the matter was, you had a lot of talented artists to choose from. It was during this golden age of hip-hop that Lil Wayne first got a taste of the life that he would later lead.
Lil Wayne’s own record label, Young Money, is the current leader in terms of the quality of artists that they have in their roster. This record label is the culmination of his hard work and wise strategic decisions in the business. Lil Wayne’s rise to power and fame in the hip-hop industry is a colorful story of success. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about Lil Wayne.
12. His Prison Record
After a performance at the Beacon Center in New York City, Lil Wayne was caught by police for smoking marijuana near a tour bus. This was around 11:30 PM, just after the concert ended. The police then proceeded to search Lil Wayne and found a .40 caliber pistol on his person. This led the police to charge Lil Wayne with criminal possession of both marijuana and the weapon. He pleaded guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to jail for 1 year on March 8, 2010. While serving his sentence in Rikers Island, his friends created a website for him to communicate with his fans; it was called Weezy Thanx You. The website publishes the letters that Lil Wayne sends out which describes his daily routine and sends thanks to his fans for their continued support. He got out on November 4th, 4 months shy of a full year.
11. The Value of His Art Collection
In September 2015, Lil Wayne was sued for unpaid bills on his Private Jet. Signature Group turned to law enforcement authorities when Lil Wayne no longer made payments for his Gulfstream II private jet. The payments were $55,000 a month and his current debt amounted to $2 million. The police came to Lil Wayne’s house early in November armed with a court order. His security team was forced to let them in the property and they proceeded to sequester several art pieces and plaques to pay for the debt. The appraiser that the team brought along with them valued Lil Wayne’s art collection at about $30 million.
10. The Reason Why He Goes by “Wayne”
Lil Wayne wasn’t always Lil Wayne. He was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. In an interview, Lil Wayne was asked about why he changed his name from Dwayne to Wayne, he answered candidly by saying that he changed his name so that he will not be associated with his father. He then continues to explain that he is a junior, which makes his father a senior, so he wants nothing to do with his biological father because he left him and his mom when he was just a child. Even by telling his story of not wanting anything to do with his father, he still gave the name to one of his sons, whom he named Dwayne Carter III.
9. How He and Christina Milian Broke up
Christina Milian, the singer and dancer star of the reality TV show, Christina Milian Turned Up became Lil Wayne’s latest Ex when she saw a picture of another woman posting pictures in Lil Wayne’s house. The girl in the picture was only wearing barely-there short shorts and a sports bra. Christina confronted the rapper about the girl but he insisted that there was nothing going on between them. Christina took this as a sign that Lil Wayne could no longer be trusted and ended the relationship. Through teary eyes, Christina then told her sister that she never loved anyone like how she loved Lil Wayne.
8. How He Met Drake
Just because Drake is signed under his record label, Young Money, it doesn’t immediately mean that Lil Wayne was the one who discovered the talented Canadian artist. This is a popular misconception with both fans of Drake and Lil Wayne. The truth is, the honor should go to Jas Prince. It was sometime in 2008 that Jas Prince, a producer who wanted to make it big like his father, founder of Rap-a-Lot Records, James Prince, got to listening to Drake’s songs on MySpace. At the time Drake was the top unsigned talent on the site and Jas Prince wanted to change that by hounding Lil Wayne to listen to the music – which by the way he didn’t, until one day Jas just decided to pop a CD in and play it. Lil Wayne heard talent and invited Drake to come on the next flight in. Drake obliged, arriving the very next day on November 18, 2008, a date immortalized in his song “November 18.”
7. What He Did For Money When He Was A Kid
The rapper regularly talks about selling cocaine in his lyrics but he has denied that he has ever sold any to anyone. He however, shared that when he was just 11 years old, he already got high on cocaine. He revealed that he didn’t know what it was but used it anyway. He also started having sex and selling marijuana which he not only peddled, but also smoked. He also got upset with a question regarding his alleged addiction to a codeine cocktail or what is popularly referred to as Purple Drank. Annoyed, Lil Wayne told the interviewer that “people need to mind their own business.”
6. How Popular He Is
Lil Wayne’s talent is undeniable and he has the numbers to prove it. In 2011 Lil Wayne made music history by becoming the first ever recording artist to get six number 1 songs on Billboard’s airplay, Hip-hop, R&B chart in one single year. The previous record holder was Usher with four number 1 songs earlier in 2011. The six songs that gave Lil Wayne his record were as follows: “Im on One”, “Motivation”, “Look at Me Now”, “6 Foot 7 Foot”, “How to Love”, and “She Will”.
In the 2012 Guinness Book edition, Lil Wayne was also listed as the artist with the most Billboard Hot 100 songs in rap in the period from 1999-2010. His record was a whopping 64 singles.
5. He Quit School
Lil Wayne left school when he was only 14. As the story goes, it was his mom that decided to pull him out of school. Lil Wayne’s mom discovered a pistol in her son’s backpack and she decided that she needed to pull him out of school before something bad happened. As it turned out, this may have been the single most defining decision in his life since he soon made music professionally and exploded in the music scene as a genius of rap. President Obama even referred to Lil Wayne as an example in a couple of his speeches. Though in those speeches he pointed out that Lil Wayne was very talented and that if the kids were not as talented, then they needed to stay in school.
4. What His Mom Told Him To Do
Lil Wayne and his mom, Cita, have always been really close. When his father left them when he was two, it was his mother who raised him. His mother was only 19 years old when she gave birth to the rap legend and when she was 21, she was forced to marry Dwayne Sr.. The marriage didn’t last because Lil Wayne’s father was quite abusive with his mother. Maybe it was this abuse that led Cita to tell her son what she told him. When Lil Wayne was young boy, Cita told her son to kill anyone who bullied him.
3. Lil Wayne Almost Died
In an interview in 1999, the interviewer asked Lil Wayne about the time that he shot himself. Lil Wayne gestured smoking with his hands stating that he was “full of weed” and “tripping young” and “playing with it[the gun].” He continued to explain that he didn’t know that even if you remove the clip, there would still be a bullet in the chamber if it had been cocked. He continued gesturing the cocking motion of an invisible gun and holding the invisible gun and made the exploding gesture. He then showed the interviewer where the bullet hit him in the chest.
2. When He Will Retire
As young as he was in 2011, at only 29 years of age, he had already expressed his desire to retire from the music industry when he’s 35. This was an interview conducted by WQHT Hot 97’s radio host, Angie Martinez. Lil Wayne further explains that the reason for his decision was because of his four children, saying that he doesn’t want to be selfish and be busy in the studio when they need him during a vital point in their lives. In 2012, Lil Wayne revealed to his fans that the Tha Carter V will be his final album. He reiterated this during the South by Southwest (SXSW) interview.
1. How He Got Into The Hip-Hop Business
Lil Wayne started early in rap, among other things. His first rhymes were written by him when he was only 8 years old, a full 3 years before he would start having sex. Lil Slim, a former rap artist for Cash money, heard Lil Wayne rap in the hood and was so impressed by this young rapper who was writing his own rhymes that he promised to introduce him to Birdman and maybe have him get signed by Cash Money. It was then in May, 1993 that Lil Wayne rapped for Birdman.