Childhood and adolescence
Rapper Lil Wayne was born on the 27th of September, 1982, in New Orleans. He was the only one and an unwanted child in the already shaky family. Obviously, the baby was the last straw for his father and he left the family when Dwayne was not even a year old.
In spite of everything, one man whose name was Reginald Carter, tried somehow to help Lil’s family when he was a child. Reginald Carter replaced father for Lil, and he gave him the last name “Carter”.
Lil didn’t do well at school. He was hanging out in the street around in the criminal Orleans with his friends, listening to rap.
In 1993, at the age of 10, Lil met with artist named Lil Slim who was working with a young label Cash Money Records. Lil was impressed with his rap. Slim promised to Wayne to introduce him to the leadership of his own label, Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams.
In six months Wayne met with them. Even though Wayne couldn’t impress the CEO of the company, he was given their card for future cooperation. Ambitious, Wayne continued to call them until they took him under their wing and let him hang around the offices.
Wayne's first recording for Cash Money Records was “True Stories” (1993). He performing with another skilled rapper, B.G., under the name the BGs. Outside the studios, Lil had a dangerous life. He sold crack, and accidentally shot himself in the chest.
Being a part of the Hot Boys, Wayne got his first taste of success. Their debut album “Get It How U Live” in 1997, sold more than 400,000 copies. Their next effort “Guerilla Warfare” (1999) did even better, selling more than 1 million copies. At the age of 16, Lil Wayne was on his way to music fame.
In 1999, Lil Wayne released his solo album with “Tha Block Is Hot” in 1999. The album was a great hit and it reached the top of the hip-hop charts. The recording became double platinum.
The sales of Wayne’s next two albums “Lights Out” (2000) and “500 Degreez” (2002) were modest compared to his debut album. Then Wayne released his first collection from his underground mixtapes: “Da Drought” (2003).
In 2004, Wayne released the album “Tha Carter” that was hugely popular. It helped Wayne to create his reputation as one of rap's leading performers. The single “Go D.J.” did well on the hip-hop, rap and pop charts.
Then Wayne released “Tha Carter II” in December 2005. The album was on the second spot on the Billboardpop charts.
Over the next few years, Wayne released several more popular mixtape recordings, including “Dedication, Vol. 2” in 2006. Around the same time, Wayne teamed up with Cash Money mentor Bryan William to create the album “Like Father, Like Son” in 2006.
In 2008, Wayne released his next album “Tha Carter III” that hit the top of pop, rap and hip-hop charts, selling more than 1 million copies during the first week of its release. The album has several successful singles, including hits like “A Milli” and “Lollipop”. Jay-Z and T-Pain appeared on the album.
Babyface, Busta Rhymes, Robin Thicke, and Juelz Santana also made cameos for the album. The album won the Grammy Award for best rap album, and Wayne got three more honors at the February 2009 awards ceremony. He won the Grammy for best rap song for “Lollipop” and also earned the Grammy for best rap solo performance for “A Milli”.
Lil Wayne released his seventh studio album “Rebirth” in February 2010. His eighth studio album “I Am Not a Human Being” was released that same year. Both albums were well-received.
In August 2011, Wayne released his fourth installment of “Tha Carter” series, “Tha Carter IV”, which was very successful. For the first four days the album was downloaded 300,000 times on iTunes, which set a new record on the media-downloading application.
In March 2013, Wayne released his 10th studio album “I Am Not a Human Being II”. The album sold 217,000 copies in its first week and was on the second place on the Billboard 200 chart.
Recently, Wayne has been busy building up his Cash Money record label, working with other recording artists and even helping underprivileged kids. The rapper created a charitable organization to help urban youth, the One Family Foundation.
Wayne is known to be fond of smoking marijuana. He had troubles with the law on several occasions in recent years. He was arrested for drug possession in 2006, and again on drug-related charges in January 2008.
Wayne created his Moutain Dew soda brand and signed a deal with PepsiCo to promote it. But PepsiCo refused to work with Wayne in May 2013 after he released his song with derogatory lyrics about civil rights icon Emmett Till.
Wayne was married before to a high school girlfriend, with whom he has a daughter named Reginae.