Lil Wayne is a rapper who...
At the age of 16, Wayne had a daughter named Reginae Carter with Antonia "Toya", his high school sweet heart. The two later divorced.1
Lil Wayne later enrolled and is currently attending the University of Houston in Houston, Texas since early 2005, where he is majoring in political science. 2
According to the Cash Money Records website, Wayne later switched his major to psychology. 31
It is confirmed that Lil Wayne was engaged with "Superhead" but they cancelled it. Wayne is now rumored to be engaged with Lauren London.
Wayne's first contact with hip-hop was listening to local Cash Money Records artists like Pimp Daddy and U.N.L.V., whom he would later credit as his earliest influences. Wayne began rapping at block parties as a child. His performance at one of the parties caught the ear of Lil Slim, a Cash Money rapper from the neighborhood, who gave Lil Wayne his phone number. He went to an autograph-signing session with Lil Slim, and there met Cash Money Records owners, "Baby" and "Slim" Williams. His freestyling abilities impressed the Williams brothers, but they were initially reluctant to sign him. Eleven-year-old Wayne started to record freestyles on Baby's answering machine and would frequently visit Cash Money offices. When Baby saw so much engagement in the young rapper, he signed him. Wayne later was hooked up with another newcomer, Lil' Doogie (who would later become as famous as B.G.), to form The B.G.'z. The group released their first and only album, True Story, in 1995.
In 1997, Wayne formed the Hot Boys along with Juvenile, Turk, and B.G., and they released their seminal debut CD Get It How You Live. The record's success earned fans throughout the South and Midwest. He further distinguished himself on the Hot Boys' multi platinum-selling Universal debut, Guerrilla Warfare, which was released in 1998 and was followed by their 2003 release, Let Em Burn.
Tha Block Is Hot (1999)
Main article: Tha Block Is Hot
Wayne's debut solo album featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and went double platinum, climbing to #3 on the Billboard album charts. The title track became a Top Ten hit.4
Other notable tracks included "F*** Tha World"--a rare instance of Wayne using profanity in his early career--in which he describes the pressures that accompany having a daughter at age 16.
Lights Out (2000)
Main article: Lights Out
Wayne's follow-up album failed to attain the level of success achieved by his debut, although is was certified Gold. At this point in his development as an emcee, Wayne was criticized for coasting on his fame and the collective success of the Hots Boys. Critics pointed to the lack of coherent narratives in his verses as evidence that he had yet to mature to the level of his fellow Hot Boys.5
Notable tracks included "Everything," which Wayne dedicated to his late stepfather Reginald "Rabbit" McDonald, and "Grown Man," in which Wayne raps about the responsibilities that come with adulthood.
500 Degreez (2002)
Main article: 500 Degreez
Wayne's third album followed the format of his previous two, with significant contributions from the Hot Boys and the distinctive beat-making of producer Mannie Fresh. While certified Gold like its predecessor, it too failed to match the success of Wayne's debut. The title was a reference to the recently estranged Hot Boys member Juvenile's recording, 400 Degreez.
Tha Carter (2004)
Main article: Tha Carter
In the summer of 2004, Wayne released Tha Carter. Often cited as a highlight of his career, Tha Carter marked a significant development in Wayne's flow and delivery, as the young rapper began to employ more original diction and syntax, while occasionally experimenting with his voice and inflection. In addition, the album's cover art featured the debut of Wayne's now-signature dreadlocks.6
Tha Carter gained Wayne significant recognition, selling 878,000 copies in the United States, while the single "Go DJ" became a Top 5 Hit.7
The album was loosely organized around the theme of Wayne's mansion, which he refers to as Tha Carter. The tracks "Walk In," "Tha Carter," and "Walk Out" employ this concept, as Wayne takes the listener through his house, rapping about the activity therein. Before the release of the album, Wayne garnered attention by releasing a mixtape called The Prefix, which included him rapping over a handful of beats from Jay-Z's The Black Album. Wayne's connection to Jay-Z continued on Tha Carter, when he referred to himself as, "The best rapper alive, since the best rapper retired" on the track "Bring It Back," referencing Jay-Z's subsequent retirement after releasing The Black Album. This statement by Wayne marked the first time he called himself "The Best Rapper Alive" on a recording. Wayne's continued use of the boast from this point on in his career has essentially transformed the phrase into yet another nickname for the rapper.
Tha Carter II (2005)
Main article: Tha Carter II
December 6, 2005 brought the second installment of "Tha Carter" series. The album marked yet another shift in Wayne's career, as it was his first major release to lack the beats of longtime Cash Money Records producer Mannie Fresh, who had since left the label. As a result, Tha Carter II contained a more diverse range of production style than had previously been present on Wayne's recordings. Tha Carter II sold more than 238,000 copies in its first week of release, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. The lead single, "Fireman," became a hit in the US, peaking at 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single, "Grown Man", received little attention, while the third single "Hustler Musik" received a video and gained moderate airplay. Other notable tracks include "Fly In," "Carter II," and "Fly Out" which mirror the series of "walk" tracks that appeared on Tha Carter. Wayne also furthered his claim of being the "Best Rapper Alive" by including a track of the same name on the album.
The Mixtape Years (2006-2007)
Wayne's popularity continued to climb in the years following "Tha Carter" albums, yet no major solo album debuted during this period. Instead, Wayne reached his audience through a plethora of mixtapes and guest appearances on a variety of pop and hip-hop singles.8
Of Wayne's many mixtapes, Dedication 2 and Da Drought 3 received the most media exposure and critical review. The former, released in 2006, paired Wayne with DJ Drama and contained the acclaimed socially conscious track "Georgia.......Bush," in which Wayne critiqued President George W. Bush's response to the tragic 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 Wayne rapping over a variety of beats from recent hits by other musicians. The impressive flow, varied deliveries, charisma, dexterous freestyling that appeared on these mixtapes vaulted Wayne into the public eye, and won him a number of features in prominent hip-hop magazines, such as XXL and Vibe910
Tha Carter III (March 25th 2008)
Main article: Tha Carter III
After numerous delays, Wayne's first solo studio release is finally expected in stores in March of 2008. Initially planned to be released in 2007, Tha Carter III's largest delay came after the majority of the tracks were leaked and distributed on mixtapes, such as "The Drought Is Over Pt. 2" and "The Drought Is Over Pt. 4." Wayne initially decided to use the leaked tracks, plus four new tracks, to make a separate album, titled Tha Carter III: The Leak. The Leak was to be released December 18, 2007, with the actual album being delayed until March 25, 2008,11
The release of The Leak in this format never came to fruition, but an official EP titled The Leak and containing five tracks was released digitally on December 25th, 2007. Tha Carter III now has a release date of March 25th, 2008.12