From his 1999 debut They Block Is Hot to his They Carter album series, Lil Wayne positions his clever wordplay and gravelly cackle against steamy, bounce-infused beats; with each release, he reminds the masses just how to make a mill. Lollipop ft. Static Major Drop the world ft. Eminem Amilia Hustler Music Fireman Mirror ft Bruno Mars Go DJ Got money ft T- Pain How to love Prom Queen.
In his short career, Lil Wayne has sold millions of albums, appeared with some of the rap and pop industries most popular stars and won four Grammy Awards. Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr was born in September 1982 and grew up on the outskirts of New Orleans.
His talent was recognized at an early age by Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. The eight-year old impressed Williams with his original songs, and he began mentoring the boy after school.
Although he recorded his first album, “True Story” with rapper B. G in 1993, it wasn’t until 1997, when Carter was 15 that he had his first taste of the big time. “The Block is Hot” which went straight into the album charts at number 3 and earned him a Source magazine award nomination for Best New Artist.
Carter’s 2000 album, “Lights Out” wasn’t favorably received by the public and didn’t do as well as his debut. Likewise, “500 Degree” released in 2002 failed to make an impact on the charts that his debut album had done.
“They Carter II” outdid its predecessor, selling over two million copies worldwide and peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Lil Wayne has collaborated with numerous artists over the years, both those within the rap world and also those in the more mainstream record business.
He featured on the Destiny’s Child single “Soldier” in 2004, collaborated with rapper Bird man on the album, “Like Father, Like Son,” worked with Chris Brown on “Give me That”, “American Gangster” with Jay-Z and “Insomniac” with Enrique Iglesias. “They Carter III” was originally due to be released in late 2007 but many of the songs were leaked to the fans.
However, despite working on it for several months, the album came to nothing and instead, “They Carter III” was released in June 2008. It proved to be the rapper’s biggest selling album to date, with over a million copies sold in its first week and the single, “Lollipop” going to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, the first time Carter topped the singles chart.
In October 2008, Lil Wayne headlined the Voodoo Experience concert in his hometown of New Orleans and also announced plans to reunite with the Hot Boys to release a new album of material. In February 2010, Carter changed direction and released a rock album called “Rebirth”.
The album’s most successful single “Prom Queen” only reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. He has four children by four separate women, becoming a first time father at 15 when his high school sweetheart gave birth to a baby girl.
In March 2010, he began a yearlong prison sentence, later reduced to 8 months, for an incident involving illegal firearm possession. Lil Wayne may appear to be the stereotypical rapper: bad-boy lyrics, tattoos, with a criminal record and multiple offspring.
Fittingly, the last mixtape he released before spending eight months in prison, was his final classic. “Run This Town” was the tape’s highlight, as Wayne jumped on the moment’s hottest song, making the Jay-Kanye original, obsolete.
He spends the track’s opening thirty seconds name-checking every relevant ESPN show, before unleashing a two-minute verse without breaks. Only peak- Wayne, at his most eccentric, could twist a drug-induced ode to death into a perky tale of life.
In recent years, having witnessed cough syrup’s presence throughout Future’s discography, it’s hard to imagine him being able to do so, without Little Wayne ; and specifically, “I Feel Like Dying.” Masterfully, Wayne uses the simultaneous pandemonium to produce one of the greatest lyrical exercises of his career.
Backed by Swizz’ trademark horns and claps, Wayne does lyrical gymnastics for three-straight minutes. Kanye may have been the first rapper to call-out George Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but Little Wayne’s response is the only one that matters.
Due to an endless amount of leaks while recording the album, Wayne was forced to package all the tracks into a mixtape; for all intents and purposes, known as The Carter 3 Sessions. On “Something You Forgot” Little Wayne uses the ’80s ballad as the back-drop for a tale of regret and lost love.
Over the next two years, 50 Cent, T.I., and Young Jeezy grabbed it momentarily; but only when Little Wayne proclaimed himself the Best Rapper Alive” on 2005’s They Carter II, did it feel like hip-hop was close to crowning a new king. The following year, Jay-Z returned with his first single “Show Me What You Got.” The track, as well as its accompanying album, Kingdom Come, felt forced.
In April 2007, he boldly used the beat for The Drought 3, flipping the chorus into “Dough Is What I Got.” In an instant, the torch was passed. On “Amen”, David Roughing’s “Hey Woman” provides a melancholic vibe for Wayne to spill his emotions for four-straight minutes.
Wayne blacked out so effortlessly, so often, that his brilliance made him immune to following the rules taught in Grammar School. Hip-hop accepted Little Wayne’s habit of beat-jacking, in large part because his remixes frequently supplanted the originals.
Jones.” Wayne didn’t just use the beat to showcase his unmatched prowess, but also crafted an entirely new song out of the triumphantly dark instrumental. Ten years on, “Sky Is the Limit” is the best anthem in Wayne’s catalog, if not one of the greatest in hip-hop’s last decade.
Most importantly, though, it represents Wayne at his most urgent; one year before being unanimously considered the Best Rapper Alive”, on this track, he was still playing the role of underdog. Mind you, Love Me is an infectious slice of spooky pop-rap while the creeping funk of Rich as Fuck inspires Wayne to one of his sharpest flows of this era.
Released exclusively to Tidal as They Carter V lingered in legal purgatory, this set of Wayne leftovers unsurprisingly lacks cohesion. Given the barbed title, it’s a disappointment that there’s little reference to his battles with former mentor Bird man, while the uninspired writing and messy beats mean most of these cuts were better left on the studio floor.
Photograph: Erika Golding/Getty Images Wayne’s They Carter series has produced some of his most seminal records, so it’s disappointing to find the fourth installment feeling so superfluous. The 17-year-old little Wayne’s ferocious debut encapsulated the Cash Money Records machine with Annie Fresh’s rumble’n’bump beats and ample appearances from Weezy’s group Hot Boy and Big Timers.
His froggy flow would smooth out, and quotable lines would become more cutting, but there’s plenty of no-nonsense street bars and plaintive musings from a kid who was already a father. Wayne puts the frustrating delays and legal wrangles with Bird man in his rearview mirror with a personal, big-hearted record that combines modern sounds and thrilling early-00s pastiches.
As brilliant as the studio albums are, Wayne’s 2005-2007 mixtape run is the stuff of lore, when his best rapper alive” claims went from chest-beating pronouncements of superiority to undeniable truth. The unofficial mixtape version of They Carter III, made up of tracks tossed once they leaked, is easily stronger song-to-song than the album.