Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American hip hop recording artist from New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1991, at the age of nine, Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo, The B.G.’z, with fellow New Orleans-based rapper B.G.. In 1996, Lil Wayne joined Southern hip hop group Hot Boys, which also included rappers Juvenile, B.G., and Young Turk. Hot Boys debuted with Get It How U Live! that same year. Lil Wayne gained most of his success with the group’s major selling album Guerrilla Warfare (1999).
Lil Wayne’s debut studio album, Tha Block Is Hot (1999), was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next albums, Lights Out (2000) and 500 Degreez (2002), were certified gold. He reached higher popularity with Tha Carter (2004), which included the single “Go D.J.”, also appearing on Destiny’s Child’s top ten single “Soldier” that year. The album was followed by Tha Carter II (2005) and several mixtapes and collaborations throughout 2006 and 2007. Tha Carter III (2008) became Lil Wayne’s most successful album to date, with first-week sales of over 1 million copies in the United States. It included the number-one single “Lollipop”, as well as “A Milli” and “Got Money”, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
Lil Wayne’s debut rock album, Rebirth (2010), was certified gold despite a generally negative critical response. In March 2010, Lil Wayne began serving an 8-month prison sentence in New York after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007. I Am Not a Human Being (2010) was released during his prison sentence. His ninth album and first since his release, Tha Carter IV (2011), sold 964,000 copies in its first week of availability in the U.S. It featured “6 Foot 7 Foot”, “How to Love”, and “She Will”. On September 27, 2012, Lil Wayne passed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with 109 songs.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. was born on September 27, 1982, and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. He was born when his mother, a cook, was 19 years old. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his father permanently abandoned the family. Although Lil Wayne and Birdman have a father-son relationship and Birdman calls Carter his son, Lil Wayne’s biological father and namesake (Dwayne Carter) is still alive. Lil Wayne has also spoken about his deceased stepfather, Rabbit, who he has said he considers his real father. Rabbit was murdered before Carter became a star, and has a tattoo dedicated to him. Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School. Lil Wayne attended McMain in the early 1990s for two years. He moved to the Marion Abramson Senior High School.
In a CBS interview with Katie Couric, Wayne described why he goes by the name of “Wayne” instead of his given name, Dwayne. Carter explained, “I dropped the D because I’m a junior and my father is living and he’s not in my life and he’s never been in my life. So I don’t want to be Dwayne, I’d rather be Wayne”. Couric asked Wayne if his father knew of this and Wayne replied with a smile, “He knows now”.
He wrote his first rap song at age eight. In the summer of 1991, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Carter recorded freestyle raps on Williams’s answering machine, leading him to mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. He also recorded his first ever collaboration album True Story with rapper B.G.. At the time, Carter was 11, and B.G. was 14, and was billed as “The B.G.’z”. When he was 12, he played the part of the Tin Man in his middle school drama club’s production of The Wiz. At age 12, he accidentally shot himself with a 9 mm handgun, and off-duty police officer Robert Hoobler drove him to the hospital. At McMain Magnet School, Carter was an honor student, but he dropped out at the age of 14 to focus on a musical career