Born as Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. on September 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Dwayne Michael Turner and Jacinda Carter, who was then 19 years old, Lil Wayne was forced to bid goodbye to his father who abandoned him and his mother right after he was born. During that time, he and his mother were forced to survive by themselves in the criminal-infested community at Hollygrove division of New Orleans.
Fortunate enough, soon afterwards, his mother met Reginald “Rabbit” McDonald, who eventually became his stepfather. Years later, his stepfather moved the family out from the poverty-stricken Hollygrove to East New Orleans. By that time, Lil Wayne had begun to develop his interest in hip hop and rap music.
Influenced by Cash Money Recording artists like Pimp Daddy and U.N.L.V., he began rapping at block parties. His performance at one of the parties caught the attention of Lil Slim, a Cash Money rapper. Through the recording artist, Lil Wayne met the Cash Money Records moguls, Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams. Though his free styling talent left strong impressions on the two tycoons, Lil Wayne did not get a contract with Cash Money until he repeatedly left freestyles recording on Baby’s answering machine.
At the tender age of 11 years old, Lil Wayne at last got his shot to sign up with Cash Money, being the Records’ youngest rapper. A year after signing the contract, Lil Wayne caught in an incident that almost took his life. He accidentally shot himself in chest with his stepfather gun, putting him on life support for two weeks.
Recovering from his incident, Lil Wayne marched on to welcome his first gig, in which he was hooked up with another newcomer, Lil’ Doggie, later more well-known as B.G., to form a rap group The B.G.’z. With this group, the young rapper only recorded and released one album, “True Story“.
t was during this time that he was forced to drop out of 10th grade. He has a daughter, Reginae Carter, with high school sweetheart, Antonia, but was not allowed to meet his child. However, things quickly changed for the better after his stepfather passed away in early 1997. Getting permission to work with Baby once more, he left his unsuccessful stories behind and then embarked to form a new group, called “The Hot Boys”, with Juvenile, Turk, and B.G in 1997. Despite the fact that the group was considerably successful, Lil Wayne and his friends officially went on their separate ways in 2001
Though Lil Wayne had been known in several states by 1999, it wasn’t until he released his solo debut, “Tha Block Is Hot“, that he really got his big break, being known all over the States. His solo album peaked at number three on Billboard’s album chart and at number one on Billboard Top R’n’B/Hip-Hop Albums
Releasing two more efforts before his 2004 album “The Carter”, this album is what will be remembered as Wayne’s masterpiece. He would release two more volumes of this album in the coming years, each of them going platinum.
From 2004-to now, Wayne’s “worst” selling album is still gold. He has been the face of mainstream hip hop, and has been featured in over hundreds of songs – turning them into hits for each respective artist he works with. A rapper since the 90s, it’s hard to ignore the impact and longevity that Wayne has held in hip-hop.
Today we salute and wish a happy birthday to Lil Wayne!