"I always believe that to be the best, you have to smell like the best, dress like the best, act like the best. When you throw your trash in the garbage can, it has to be better than anybody else who ever threw trash in the garbage can". — Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne is a multi-Grammy Award winning rapper who has been selling records since the age of 11. Here are 43 things you may not know about him.
1. In The Beginning
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1982. He grew up in a neighborhood called Hollygrove, which is one of the poorest and roughest parts of the city.
2. Child Star
Even as a kid, Lil Wayne had a natural talent for rapping; he wrote his first song when he was eight. When he was only 11 years old, he was signed with the record label Cash Money Records. He came out with an album called True Story.
3. Packing Heat
When he was only 11 years old, Lil Wayne started carrying his first pistol, a tiny .32 Derringer. During an interview, Wayne said, "You can’t go nowhere not strapped. That’s life".
4. Mama’s Boy
Wayne pulled a blade on his first stepfather, Terry, after Terry was intimidating Wayne's mother. Wayne never cut Terry, but the stepfather left the family soon after the incident.
5. Kids and Guns Don’t Mix
When Wayne was 12,he accidentally shot himself in the chest with his stepfather's .44 Taurus Magnum. The projectile missed his heart by only two inches and shot straight out of his back. For two weeks, Wayne was in the hospital on life support.
Wayne’s mother disapproved of the Cash Money Records crowd since she knew that many of the rappers had delinquent records. For two years, she forced Wayne to focus on school rather than rapping.
7. The Brains
Wayne had straight As when he was in public school, and earned his high school diploma by taking the test for the GED. He also attended college at the University of Houston. During an interview, he said that college felt like this first time he ever really went to school, compared to the chaos of his urban public high school. When he realized his rap career was becoming more serious, Wayne left Houston and took online classes through University of Phoenix to finish his Bachelor’s Degree.
8. Daddy Issues
Although though his real name is "Dwayne," the rapper decide to drop the "D" and go by "Wayne". He never got to meet his father, and he didn’t want to grow up to be anything like him.
9. Good Morning, Son
Lil Wayne finally began to have a good father-son relationship with his second stepfather, who was nicknamed “Rabbit". He said that Rabbit is the man who he considered to be his "real" father. Sadly, Rabbit was gunned down when Lil Wayne was only 14.
10. Good Choice
When he was younger, Wayne called himself "Shrimp Daddy" in homage to the 90s rapper Pimp Daddy. He later changed it to Lil Wayne.
11. No Job, No Problem
Since he started rapping young, Lil Wayne has never worked a job except for an unpaid volunteer gig he did at a summer camp.
12. Hustle Harder
From 1997 to 2012, Wayne rapped in 597 guest features, although only a fraction of them are widely known to the public.
13. Growing Up Fast
Wayne lost his virginity when he was only 11 years old to a girl who was 13. At 16, his 14-year-old high school girlfriend, Antonia Johnson, got pregnant. They now have a daughter named Reginae.
14. Boy Band Beginnings
Lil Wayne was in a rap group called The Hot Boys when he was 15. One of their popular songs was "We On Fire".
15. Wedding Bells
In 2004, Wayne married his high school sweetheart Antonia Johnson. They got a divorce in 2006 but remain good friends and continue to raise Reginae together.
16. Wasn’t Meant to Be
In 2005, Wayne almost joined a group called Boyz N Da Hood. He worked with them on a collaboration, but ultimately decided not to get together with the group.
17. Lone Wolf
When he was 17 years old, Wayne started his solo career. His first album was called The Block is Hot. The record went platinum and earned him the award as "Best New Artist" from Source magazine. That first album actually doesn’t have any swearing in it: Wayne's mom asked him to watch his language.
18. You’re Talking To The Sergeant
Lil Wayne was featured in the Destiny’s Child song "Soldier," and it helped him to become more recognized in the mainstream music scene.
19. The Golden Phonograph
Lil Wayne has won a total of 5 Grammy Awards, and he has been nominated 24 times. He has also performed during the Grammys multiple times.
20. Baby Mama
In 2008, Lil Wayne met a high-school-aged woman, Sarah Vivian, at a club he visited after one of his concerts in Cincinnati, Ohio. He got her pregnant and they had a son, Dwayne Carter III.
21. Sk8er Boi
In his free time, Wayne loves to skateboard. During an interview with ESPN, he said that skateboarding is very therapeutic for him because it forces him to clear his head. He said that the feeling he gets when he finally lands a new trick is almost as satisfying as winning a Grammy Award.
Since he had been with the record company nearly all his life, he became the obviously choice as the new CEO of Cash Money Records. He also started a new record label of his own: Young Money Records.
23. Behind Bars
In 2007, Wayne was convicted for drug and weapon possession. He spent 242 days in Riker’s jailhouse out of his year-long sentence. He was released on good behavior. When asked what he did to pass the time, Wayne said he mostly played UNO.
24. Not For Nothing
In the world of rap, spending time in lockup actually gives an artist more street cred. After he was released from jailhouse, Wayne's records sold even more than before.
25. Baby Mama #2
Wayne had a short-term relationship with an actress named Lauren London, who got pregnant with his third child. They had a son together, Cameron. Similar to the first two baby-mamas, London was only 15 years old at the time. Wayne and London were secretly engaged for a while, but eventually broke up.
26. The Mentor
Lil Wayne was responsible for mentoring some of rap and hip hop’s biggest stars, including Drake and Nicki Minaj.
27. Just Like Dad
Wayne’s daughter Reginae Carter loves to rap, too. She joined Young Money Entertainment when she was 14 years old, and joined an R&B group called OMG Girlz.
28. No Pen Required
In 2002, Wayne decided to stop trying to write his lyrics ahead of time and began freestyling. He believes that freestyling makes the words become more meaningful.
29. Smells Like Teen Spirit
While he obviously looks up to other rappers, and he even has a tattoo in honor of Jay-Z on his face, Wayne says that his favorite band is Nirvana.
30. No Judgement
Wayne is quoted saying that he never listens to his competitors' work, and sticks to listening to music outside of the rap genre. He doesn’t want to be influenced or feel the need to compare himself to other rappers.
31. Health Issues
Lil Wayne suffers from epilepsy and has had multiple seizures throughout his life.
32. Baby Mama #3
Wayne met a singer named Nivea B. Hamilton, whom he got pregnant with baby number four. The couple were engaged for a short period of time, and recorded a song together called, "She Feelin Me," but they eventually cut things off. They have a son together named Neal.
33. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Wayne is Roman Catholic, and he takes time to go to church while he is on tour.
34. Inside Look
In 2014, Lil Wayne started his own YouTube channel where he planned to do weekly "Weezy Wednesday" videos with behind-the-scenes facts about his life.
35. The Big Bucks
According to Forbes, Lil Wayne earns roughly $600,000 every time he performs in public.
36. Hot Merchandise
Wayne has his own clothing line called TRUKFIT. The brand's site explains that when Wayne was growing up in New Orleans, a truck selling designer clothing would pull up in his neighbourhood, creating lineups for the merchandise. Whenever anyone was wearing something nice like a Ralph Lauren Polo, it was called a "trukfit" instead of an outfit.
37. What Time Is It?
Wayne also has a watch brand called Wize and Ope. The logo has a cute teddy bear-type creature, but the brand’s site says that the logo is an alien named Wize, who studied Earth culture from space. Wize visited the planet, got to know people, and became more "ope" or "open minded".
38. Giving Back
Wayne started a charity called the One Family Foundation in order to help underprivileged youth in New Orleans. The charity gave a lot of aid to families after Hurricane Katrina.
39. Mr. President
During his Presidency, Barack Obama revealed that he was a fan of Lil Wayne.
40. Filming Frenzy
Lil Wayne has credits in over 60 TV shows and movies.
41. Fizzy Pop
The rapper has a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Mountain Dew.
42. In the Spot
In 2015, Wayne threatened to sue production companies, who had got their hands on a Lil Wayne adult tape that allegedly showed him with nothing but his socks on, with two more-than-accommodating women. Lil Wayne said that he certainly did not consent to the recording, and made it clear that if any company produced it, he would "sue the heck out of them".