He was introduced to mainstream rap as the young "Hot Boy" rapper. Lil' Wayne grew up quickly and enjoyed a steady stream of hits in the process. The New Orleans rapper began his long stint with Cash Money as part of the Hot Boys, a popular late-'90s supergroup also comprised of Juvenile, Turk, and B.G. that set the stage for respective solo careers. Juvenile and B.G. made their solo debuts first in 1999 and racked up a pair of simultaneous big hits, "Back That Azz Up" and "Bling Bling," respectively. Lil' Wayne made his solo debut later that year and similarly came out of the gate with a huge hit, the title track of his album, Tha Block Is Hot (1999). Following this wave of astounding success in 1999, the Cash Money frenzy simmered a little bit thereafter. During the two years between Lil' Wayne's second album, Lights Out (2000), and his third, 500 Degreez (2002), Cash Money consequently purged itself of Hot Boys, dropping Juvenile, B.G., and Turk while retaining only Lil' Wayne. The label's loyalty paid off, as 500 Degreez sold massively, driven by the single "Way of Life." ''The Carter'' was released two years later. Lil Wayne was born on September 27, 1982, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As a member of the platinum supergroup the Hot Boys, Lil Wayne has already made his mark as one of the world's youngest top talents. No one can match his quick wit, lyrical dexterity or down-home Southern charm. He is one of the few hardcore reality-rappers that can write rhymes without profanity. When he blesses the microphone, Lil Wheezy, as he is affectionately know in New Orleans, drops words so full of game and street wisdom, that he makes a person wonder how a young boy learned so muchgame. "I look at life like an older person," explains the 16-year-old rapper. "I think five or ten years older because of who I've been with all my life." Born and reared in the 17th Ward community of Hollygrove, a place riddled with violence and poverty, Wayne struggled to do right, but increasingly found himself attracted to the lure of street life.
He listened religiously to local rappers like UNLV and Pimp Daddy-both of whom were signed to Cash Money Records at one point. But Wayne did more than just listen to his favorite rappers, he was constantly penning his own rhymes, dreaming that someday he would make it. His day came sooner than expected when a friend introduced him to Cash Money Co-CEOs and founders Bryan "Baby" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams. "Cash Money had a rapper named Lil' Slim from Hollygrove," recalls Wayne. "He used to say, 'I'm goin' to tell Baby and Slim about you.'" One day Lil' Slim had an autograph session and Lil Wayne met them. "Baby told me to rap and I did. He gave me a card with his numbers, I started blowing up his pager and calling his office everyday until Baby saw that I really wanted to be down and he put me on."
Lil Wayne made his first appearance as a member of the short-lived group The B.G.'z, featuring another young talent named Lil' Doogie, now known as B.G., and later appeared on B.G.'s underground album, "True Story" in 1993.In 1997, Wayne joined forces with Juvenile, B.G. and Young Turk to form the Hot Boys, and dropped their blazing debut, "Get It How U Live," which sold over 400,000 copies in the South and helped Cash Money secure a distribution deal with Universal Records. Lil Wayne made a series of guest appearances on the Big Tymers' "How U Love That?" Volumes I and II, Juvenile's triple platinum selling "400 Degreez" and B.G.'s gold-certified "Chopper City In The Ghetto." Currently, the country is reeling from his stellar performance on the Hot Boys' gold-certified sophomore album, "Guerrilla Warfare." Now Lil Wayne drops his debut solo project, Tha Block Is Hot- easily one of the best albums of the year. "Basically, I'm giving my fans more of what they want," says Wayne. "My records still goin' to have the Big Tymers, B.G., Juv and Turk on there, but it's goin' to feature me rapping more, so fans can get an idea of what I'm about."
Produced by Cash Money's resident beat maestro Mannie Fresh, "Tha Block Is Hot" rocks some of the hit-making producer's most creative work yet. On the title track, which is the lead single and features B.G. and Juvenile trading lyrical shots with Lil Wheezy; Fresh drops an eerie set of strings over a bubbling syncopated beat and a funky bass vamp that'll have heads bobbing from New Orleans to New York. "High Beaming" is a jazzy track with a strong beat featuring a terse snare, jingling sleigh bells and accented by funky timbales. In addition, the keyboards and jazzy guitar riff provide the perfect soundscape for Wayne and B.G. to flow over. Another stand-out track is the future chart-buster, "Latin Respect," which features a beat inspired by the rich and complex poly-rhythms of salsa combined with a touch of New Orleans' Mardi Gras party music. One of New Orleans' most beloved lyricists has finally stepped to the plate, and judging from the sound of Tha Block Is Hot, he's packing serious heat for the Y2K.
Lil Wayne Goes for The Gold
Lil' Wayne's "The Carter" certified gold.
Lil' Wayne is golden. Propelled by the strength of his single, "Bring It Back," the rapper's latest release, "The Carter" has just been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. "The Carter" is Lil' Wayne's fourth album.
Along with "The Carter's" Gold status, Lil' Wayne also celebrated a birthday, September 27, 2004. The rapper turned 22. He shares the same birthday as Canadian pop rocker Avril Lavigne, who is now 20; 3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold who's 26; and actress Gwyneth Paltrow who turned 32.
Lil' Wayne Goes To Prison — To Shoot 'Go DJ' Video
Closed Ohio State Reformatory was also used for 'Shawshank Redemption.' Lil' Wayne spent the day in jail on Tuesday.
The rapper was shooting a video for "Go DJ," the next single from his album Tha Carter, at the closed Ohio State Reformatory, according to The Associated Press.
About 30 teens showed up to match the taping at the 108-year-old prison, which has been used in several films and music videos, most notably in "The Shawshank Redemption," "Air Force One" and a Godsmack video.
The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society reportedly needs between $10-$20 million to renovate the closed facility, which was shut down in 1990. Lil' Wayne helped the cause, paying about $2,000 to film his video in the west cellblock.
Lil' Wayne Gunning For #1 Debut With 500 Degreez
Youngest in Cash Money's camp out to prove label still blazing. Don't let the recent departure of label cornerstones Juvenile and B.G. alter your opinion of Cash Money Records.
Instead, notice the success of the Big Tymers' Hood Rich, which debuted at #1 earlier this year, and the excitement surrounding the release of Lil' Wayne's third album, the ambitiously titled
500 Degreez, on Tuesday (July 23). This is the rationale Lil' Wayne subscribes to, at least.
"If you cut on your TV any time today, tomorrow, the following month, the month after that or the rest of this year, you gonna see Cash Money in your face," Lil' Wayne said. "We're still a company and we're still blazing, man. We the hottest thing out this year.
"If you speak on companies that's blazing this year, you got to say Cash Money," he continued. "We killing it. We got Big Tymers just came out. They touched #1. I know when I drop, I'm gonna see #1. It's crazy, man. We're here. Whatever problems we had, we swallowed them, digested 'em and forgot about them."
Forging ahead, Lil' Wayne teamed with fellow Southern hot boy Petey Pablo on "Gangsta Sh--" and visits intimate portions of his own relationships on "Young 'N Blues." With the latter, Wayne gives a rare peek into the mind and heart of a hip-hop thug.
"I kept it gangster and that's hard for a lot of people to do, touch on a sensitive subject and still keep it gangster and still have the 'hood agree with you on that," he said. "I had to write something on it, and I don't write books, poems. I had to write a rap. I recorded it, but I didn't mean for it to be on the album. I recorded it to LL Cool J's 'I Need Love' beat, and Mannie [Fresh] heard it. He was like, 'Nah, this got to go on your album with another beat.' "
Although Juvenile's 1998 album, 400 Degreez, made Cash Money Records a household name, it was "Bling Bling," a song from B.G.'s 1999 album, Chopper City in the Ghetto, that sparked a catchphrase that became the New Orleans label's calling card. Since then, the label has suffered from the departure of those two marquee acts over alleged financial and creative differences, leaving Lil' Wayne as one of the only long-term acts on the notoriously materialistic imprint, whose recent roster moves include the signing of veteran gangster rapper Mack 10 and West Coast singer TQ (see "For Lil' Wayne, Bling Bling Still A 'Way Of Life' ").
Being a last man standing of sorts doesn't faze Wayne, who remembers a speech from label co-owner and Big Tymers member Baby.
"When we first got in the game, Baby sat down and told us that he's going to give us enough stability financially and enough love from his heart where we would never have to take this sh-- too serious," Wayne said. "I don't know who listened, but I did. I never cared about what was lacking or if we were dying out or if somebody was dissing bling bling. I never cared about all that. I know I make good music. As long as I know that, then I'm all good."
Wayne also takes pride in the new Cash Money partnerships with veteran beatmakers Jazze Pha and Rodney Jerkins, two hitmakers who will deflect some of the pressure from long-time Cash Money producer Mannie Fresh.
"We're deep with the producers right now," Wayne said. "We've got a three-all-star team which stars the first, the veteran, the best, Mannie Fresh. Then you got Jazze Pha and we got Rodney Jerkins. It's crazy."
Wayne hopes fans will soon be going crazy for another Cash Money-related development, his own Young Money Entertainment. The business' first release will be from Sqad Up, a rapping quintet of which Wayne is a member.
This expansion works well with Cash Money's freshly minted business plan. "Baby and Slim just woke up one morning and were like, 'Just us in the circle thing is cool, but to keep this tree strong, let's get a few more branches,' " Wayne said. "That never hurts if you pick 'em right."
Mo' Cash Money: Lil' Wayne LPs
Meanwhile, Baby and Mannie Fresh shoot clip for 'No Love.' With the re-emergence of Juvenile and all the hype surrounding Baby's Best of Both Worlds collaboration with R. Kelly, it slipped under the radar that Lil' Wayne never dropped The Carter last year.
Now the Cash Money camp says he may drop The Carter altogether. According to a rep for the
camp, Wayne went back in the lab and recorded a whole new album's worth of material and plans to have something in stores by April. It's not clear whether Wayne's new disc will still be called The Carter.
Meanwhile, Juvenile is continuing his efforts to garner a platinum plaque for his comeback Juve the Great. The grown man with the adolescent name recently finished shooting a video for "Bounce Back" with another adult who has a kiddie moniker: Baby. That clip should air within the next couple of weeks.
Baby's been in front of the cameras a lot lately. He and Mannie Fresh just shot a clip for the Big Tymers' "No Love" with hip-hop video guest star extraordinaire Jazze Pha. And if Baby really wants to accomplish his goal of having Best of Both Worlds: Ghetto Thrillers out by April, chances are you'll see him and the Pied Piper on a video set sometime soon.
While Mannie Fresh's Big Tymers cohort is on the verge of pursuing other ventures, Cash Money's main producer has finally decided to record his first solo album, which is tentatively titled Mannie Fresh Presents. Fresh has already completed some tracks and should have his project ready later this year.
Another long-talked-about Cash Money record is coming down the pike soon, but don't look for too much rapping on it. Legendary soul singer Teena Marie has La Dona on tap. "La Dona is like the female don," Marie explained. "The female Mr. Biggs."
Mannie fresh produced her first single, "Still in Love," which features Baby, while elsewhere on the disc Marie re-teams with her "Fire and Desire" co-star, Rick James.
Cash Money Dares You To Call It A Comeback
Lil' Wayne's latest LP, The Carter, to drop on November 18. Not too long ago, the Cash Money Millionaires clique was one of the most prolific and potent crews in all of hip-hop. With artist albums from the likes of Lil' Wayne and B.G. to super-group collabos like the Hot Boys, Cash Money were on everyone's radar.
Now, after a short absence from the bling, Cash Money are rolling thick again, preparing to release an onslaught of new albums, including Lil' Weezy's latest, The Carter, scheduled for release on November 18, and new records from the Big Tymers, Juvenile and producer Mannie Fresh. But don't call it a comeback, says Lil' Wayne — Cash Money's been here the whole time.
"We ain't never left," barked Lil' Wayne defiantly. "Yeah, we turnin' our heads back to our yard this time. But all the time we did lay off, we was preparing. Now, we're going to be hitting you with all kinds of blows."
Weezy was only a 13-year-old kid when he joined Cash Money after being recruited by label founder Baby. Even though he's still the youngest in the crew, he's already a leathered rap veteran with what will be his fourth solo album by the age of 20. On the single "Get Something," you can hear the growth in his voice: His heaving yelps have given way to deeper, more resonant barks. Wayne says he finds himself just as hungry, if not hungrier, than he ever was in his adolescence.
"Back when I first started, it was like doing your homework," he explained. "It was like I was putting a song together just so I could get onstage, get the money, get the girls. Now it's different. Now it's like there's a whole other meaning behind this."
On The Carter, which he titled after his own surname and the fictional housing project in the 1991 flick "New Jack City," Lil' Wayne raps a lot about life, he says, like fatherhood and handling success at a young age.
On "I Miss My Dog," Wayne surprisingly reflects on his early Cash Money days, specifically the time when B.G. and Juvenile were still down with them, before they had a falling out last year (see "B.G. Kicks Drugs, Doesn't Need Baby's Birdfeed To Make Livin' Legend"). Rarely do rappers get sentimental about the past between the posturing and the boasts, but Wayne says it was something he was feeling at the time. "The Hot Boys, it's just a real factor," he admitted. "I don't want to give away what it's about but when people hear it, they'll know the real."
The Carter was produced, of course, by Mannie Fresh, who somehow found time to make beats despite having a full schedule rigging tunes for his group with Baby, the Big Tymers, who will release their new album, Big Money Heavyweights, on October 21.
In addition to his own LP, Lil' Wayne has been busy with his own record label, Young Money Entertainment, which will run through Cash Money/Universal Records. The first group to be released in early 2004 is the group Squad Up, which includes Wayne. Other artists include New Orleans rapper Gutter Gutter and the R&B duo Real.
"When we started," said Wayne, "Baby told us at the time that what the East Coast is doing is fine, what the West Coast is doing is fine, but now we're gonna bring the South to it. And it blew up. It's blowing up."
Common misspellings: "Little Wayne", "Lil' Wain", "Lil Wane", "Lil Wayn".