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Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States), better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American rapper. He met the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager and eventually recorded for the label. He was a member of the rap group, Hot Boys.
In 1997, Wayne formed the group Hot Boys along with rappers Juvenile, Turk, and B.G., who released their debut CD Get It How You Live that year. In 1998, the group's major-label debut Guerrilla Warfare was released; it was followed in 2003 by Let Em Burn.
His solo career began with The Block is Hot in 1999. After releasing the albums Lights Out in 2000 and 500 Degreez in 2002 to little success, in 2004 he released the bestseller Tha Carter and eventually was featured in the popular song "Soldier" by the R&B group Destiny's Child. Tha Carter II followed in 2005.
In 2006, he collaborated with rapper Birdman for the album Like Father, Like Son. He later featured on Fat Joe's single "Make it Rain" that year. In 2007, he also appeared on the R&B single "You" by singer Lloyd, among 864 recording appearances and verses he recorded that year alone.
In 2007, an MTV poll selected Lil Wayne as 'Hottest MC in the Game.' The same year, he was named one of the "Men Of The Year" for Workaholic by GQ Magazine, and in 2008 he was named "Best Rock Star Alive" by Blender Magazine.
He was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Dwayne was in the gifted program at Lafayette Elementary School, and was in the drama club in middle school. At age eleven, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Wayne recorded freestyle raps on Williams' answering machine; Williams would eventually mentor the young Wayne and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. Wayne then dropped out of school at age 14 and began touring.
At the age of 16, Wayne had a daughter named Reginae Carter with Antonia "Toya" Johnson, his high school sweetheart. The two later divorced.
Career with Hot Boys
The first music album to feature Lil Wayne's vocals was the debut album of the Cash Money-signed group Hot Boys titled Get It How U Live!, released in 1997; Lil Wayne was the youngest member of that group. In 1998, Wayne was featured on the song "Back That Azz Up" by Juvenile. The second album by the group, titled Guerrilla Warfare, was released in 1999 before Wayne's solo debut was released.
Wayne's debut solo album Tha Block Is Hot featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and went double platinum, climbing to #3 on the Billboard album charts. The album earned Wayne a 1999 Source magazine award nomination for "Best New Artist", and also became a Top Ten hit. After the release of Tha Block is Hot, Wayne was featured on the single, "Bling Bling", with B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Big Tymers.
His 2000 follow-up album Lights Out 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 Hot 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. 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. Near the release of Lights Out, Wayne was featured on the single, "1# Stunna" with Big Tymers and Juvenile, which rose to 24th place on the U.S. R&B charts.
Wayne's third album 500 Degreez, released 2002, 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 albums
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. Tha Carter gained Wayne significant recognition, selling over 1 million copies in the United States, while the single "Go DJ" became a Top 5 Hit. 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.
December 6, 2005 brought the second installment of Tha Carter series, Tha Carter II. 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.
From the release of Tha Carter II to the end of 2005, Lil Wayne was featured in two singles as a featured performer. His first single was on a remix of Bobby Valentino's "Tell Me", which rose to #13 on the U.S. R&B Charts.
In 2005, Wayne was named president of Cash Money, and in the same year he founded Young Money Entertainment as an imprint of Cash Money. However, as of late 2007, Wayne reports that he has stepped down from the management of both labels and has handed management of Young Money over to Cortez Bryant.
Focus on mixtapes and guest appearances
In the years following "Tha Carter" albums, no major solo album was released. Wayne did have a collaboration album with Birdman, called Like Father, Like Son. Instead, Wayne reached his audience through a plethora of mixtapes and guest appearances on a variety of pop and hip-hop singles. 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 Vibe
Despite no album release for two years, Wayne appeared in numerous singles as a featured performer. Wayne's first performance in 2006 was on the remix of Chris Brown's "Gimme That", which rose to #15 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B charts. Another single, "Make It Rain" with Fat Joe, rose to #13 on the Hot 100, #6 on the R&B, and #2 on the U.S. Rap Charts. His next performance, on Lloyd's "You", peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B, the highest ever for a song featuring Wayne. Wayne's first performance of 2007, with DJ Khaled, Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and Birdman on "We Takin Over", rose to #11 on the Rap charts. Lil Wayne and Birdman again teamed up, after the release of "Like Father, Like Son", on the song "Pop Bottles". The single reached #15 on the R&B charts, and #6 on the Rap charts. His next featured single, "Duffle Bag Boy" with Playaz Circle, reached #15 on the Hot 100, #4 on the R&B and #2 on the Rap charts. The next single, "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" with Wyclef Jean and Akon, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100. Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Fat Joe, Birdman, and Rick Ross all teamed-up on the "I'm So Hood" remix, which rose to #19 on the Hot 100, #9 on the R&B, and #5 on the Rap charts. Wayne was also featured on Little Brother's 2007 album Getback on the 9th Wonder produced "Breakin My Heart", as well as on Jay-Z's American Gangster album, on the song "Hello Brooklyn 2.0".
On October 3, 2007, Vibe ranked a list of 77 of Lil Wayne's songs from 2007, deciding upon the best song from Wayne on the year. They ranked Wayne's verse in "We Takin Over" as his best song of 2007, with "Dough Is What I Got" (a freestyle over Jay-Z's "Show Me What You Got") from Wayne's Da Drought 3 the #2 song.
On July 22, 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested in New York City following a performance at the Beacon Theater. NYPD discovered Wayne and another man smoking marijuana near a tour bus on 61st and Columbus. After taking Wayne into custody, police discovered a pistol on his person, and he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana.
On October 5, 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested in Boise, Idaho, following a performance at Qwest Arena. Wayne was arrested on felony fugitive charges after Georgia authorities accused the rapper of possessing a controlled substance. Wayne was freed on $20,000 bond. The incident was later described as a "mix-up" and the fugitive charges were dropped.
On January 23, 2008, Lil Wayne was arrested alongside two others. His tour bus was stopped by Border Patrol agents near Yuma, Arizona. Lil Wayne had a .44 caliber pistol. A K-9 Unit recovered 105 grams of marijuana (3.7 ounces), almost 29 grams of cocaine (1.02 ounces), 41 grams of Ecstasy (1.4 ounces) and $22,000 dollars in cash. It was released that he has his Concealed Weapons License, completed for the state of Florida; however the power of jurisdiction falls under state ruling, and his legitimacy of possessing a firearm in the state of Florida holds no significance in Arizona. He has since been released on bail of $10,185.
Tha Carter III and beyond
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 18 2008, 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 25, 2007. Tha Carter III now has a release date of May 13 2008.. The first single "Lollipop", featuring Static has been released. The single jumped to the #9 position on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first Top 10 single for Wayne as a solo artist.
He has announced several possible projects following Tha Carter III, including a collaboration with rapper Juelz Santana entitled I Can't Feel My Face. He has also told the website HipHopDX.com about a possible R&B album titled Luv Sawngz by him, singing using a vocoder. He has also tentatively scheduled a collaboration album with singer Lloyd titled Best of Young Worlds. 
In January 2008, DJ Drama stated that there would be a third installation of the Dedication mixtape series with Wayne, who has instead stated that he will do an album, not mixtape, under the title.
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Lil' Wayne made a guest appearance in the Cartoon Network television series The Boondocks in the "Invasion of the Katrinians" episode . Wayne also appeared on Black Entertainment Television's "Access Granted" in 2007.
- Tha Block Is Hot (1999)
- Lights Out (2000)
- 500 Degreez (2002)
- Tha Carter (2004)
- Tha Carter II (2005)
- Tha Carter III (2008)
- The Leak (2007)
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