Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. His chef mother, Jacida "Cita" Carter, was 19-years-old when he was born and his father, Dwayne Michael Turner, permanently abandoned the family when Dwayne Jr. was 2. He calls himself Lil Wayne rather than Lil Dwayne as he was originally named after his father but has nothing to do with him now.
Wayne's first contact with hip-hop was listening to local Cash Money Records artists like Pimp Daddy, who inspired his initial rap name, Shrimp Daddy. He wrote his first rap song at the age of eight and soon after began rapping at block parties.
At age 11, Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label. He was initially one half of the teenage hip-hop duo, The B.G.'z, along with B.G. The duo disbanded when Cash Money Records co-owner, Birdman decided to let the two have solo careers.
In 1997, he was chosen for the popular teenage hip-hop group Hot Boys, which also included Juvenile, Young Turk and B.G. At age 15, Carter was the youngest member at that time. Their 1999 major-label debut Guerrilla Warfare reached #5 on the Billboard 200.
The first time the word "bling" was used on record was when Wayne rapped, "I got 10 around my neck, and baguettes on my wrist, Bling!" on Big Tymers 1998 track "Millionaire Dream."
Wayne has recorded several songs titled after his surname, including "Mr. Carter
," which found him linking up with Shawn Corey Carter, aka Jay-Z, "Dr. Carter
" and "President Carter."
In 2005, Lil Wayne was named president of Cash Money, and in the same year he founded Young Money Entertainment as an imprint of Cash Money. Later that year, however, Lil Wayne stepped down as president to focus on his career.
How tall is Lil Wayne? According to most sources, the rapper is 5 feet, 6 inches.
Wayne is covered in tattoos, even across his eyelids. As Weezy rapped on Destiny Child's "Soldier
," he's "marked up like the subway in Harlem."
Wayne has four children by four different mothers. His first child, daughter Reginae, was born when he was 15 to his high school sweetheart Antonia "Toya" Carter (née Johnson). They married on Valentine's Day of 2004 and divorced in 2006. His second child, Dwayne III, came next on October 22, 2008, the mother being a student named Sara. He had his third child, Lennox Samuel Ari, on September 9, 2009 with actress Lauren London. His fourth child, Neal, was born to singer Nivea on November 30, 2009.
Being bankable appears to run in the family. At the age of 12, Wayne's oldest child Reginae appeared on her mother's BET reality show, TOYA: A Family Affair earning a respectable $22,000.
Wayne is a keen sports enthusiast and a fan of the Green Bay Packers, the Boston Bruins, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Red Sox. He has written blogs for ESPN, notably reporting at the ESPN Super Bowl party.
A cynic would say that like many rappers, Lil Wayne has made himself wealthy by boasting about how much cash he's made. Certainly, such hits as "Got Money
" have given him a very healthy bank balance. However, the Young Money Billionaire has been sued on so many occasions that "Lil Wayne" and "lawsuits" have become synonymous. They include:
" has provoked several lawsuits, with producer Jim Jonsin claiming that he was owed half a million dollars in unpaid royalties for his work.
2) In February 2010, Darius "Deezle" Harrison and music publishers at The Royalty Network filed a suit demanding $2.5 million regarding unpaid royalties on "Mrs. Officer
3) In June 2011, Dallas producers Play-N-Skillz filed a lawsuit against him claiming Wayne owes them at least $1 million in unpaid royalties for "Got Money."
Wayne served a prison sentence in Rikers Island prison facility after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007. He was released on November 4, 2010 after serving eight months of his year long sentence. His I Am Not a Human Being album topped the Billboard 200 whilst the rapper was still laid up in jail.
Wayne's hit single "Lollipop" was the best-selling digital single worldwide in 2008 and the highest selling ringtone of the 2000s.
Wayne has achieved impressive sales figures with his The Carter series of albums. Tha Carter IV sold an impressive 964,000 albums in its US debut week in September 2011, the highest sales week for any male artist since Tha Carter III moved 1.01 million back in 2008.
At the age of 12, a year after Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, his mom told him he couldn't rap anymore. The young Weezy couldn't face this and made a suicide attempt, shooting himself with his mother's pistol. He details the event on "Let It All Work Out
," the closing track of Tha Carter V
He's a very proficient lyricist, but he's not good with hooks, preferring to just flow when he's working on a track.