A native of New Orleans, Lil Wayne grew up in the Hollygrove section of town. As an aspiring young rapper, Wayne rapped at neighbor parties and it was at one of these parties that he was overheard by members of U.N.L.V., a group signed to Cash Money Records. Wayne was given contact information and followed up on them in a autograph signing session where he met the Cash Money CEO’s Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams. An impromptu freestyle session led to serious consideration on the parts of the Williams brothers. After Wayne found out the location and phone number of Cash Money Records, he visited on an almost daily basis while also leaving freestyles on their answering machine. Such dedication on the part of the 12-year-old Wayne moved the Williams brothers and they signed the young rapper; pairing him up with another newly signed young rapper named Big Goochie and released their group effort “TRU Story nigga”, under the name The B.G.’z.
As Wayne became more serious about the rap game and started to wear gang-affiliate attire, his mother became concerned about the Williams brothers’ influence on her son, as she had knowledge of the Williams brothers’ thorough street reputation. She pulled Wayne out of Cash Money. However, after running away from home for a week and convincing his mother that his erratic behavior had nothing to do with the Williams brothers, he stayed with Cash Money Records. But before Cash Money blew up, tragedy struck.
While playing with a loaded gun, Wayne shot himself in the chest and almost bled to death. When the police arrived, he claimed the unregistered gun had belonged his stepfather, Reginald “Rabbit” Carter. This landed Rabbit a six month prison bid. Then shortly after Rabbit came home, he was abducted and murdered. As Brian came to pick up Wayne for studio sessions one afternoon, he was informed of the tragic news, and decided to raise Wayne on Rabbit’s behalf as Wayne’s surrogate father. Wayne now has a large tattoo of the words “Bang Bang” on his chest to commemorate his shooting and also has “Rabbit” tattooed on his arm, in honor of his beloved slain stepfather.
As the youngest of the Hot Boys Wayne was 16 at the time of their debut, “Get It How You Live”.
Even more noteworthy, most young rappers of teenage years perform bubble gum rap until at least their 20’s. Lil Wayne, however, performed gangsta rap in the strictest sense since an early age. Because of his impressive lyrical talents, he continues to sell records with ease.
On his latest CD, Tha Carter, Lil Wayne returns with a much improved flow mimicking the style of Jay-Z and features the hit single “Go DJ”, a cover of the U.N.L.V. underground classic of the same name. He has also been featured on 3LW’s “Neva Get Enuf” and Destiny’s Child’s “Soldier”
It should also be noted that Wayne is the first known person to use the now-popular slang term “Drop It Like Its Hot.” He first said it in the 1999 hit by Juvenile, “Back That Thang Up.” By 2004, the term was so popular that legendary rapper Snoop Dogg used it as a comeback hit. He also coined to more popular phrase, “Bling-Bling”.
Following acclamations for Tha Carter, newly minted Def Jam president Jay-Z entered into a bidding war with Cash Money for Wayne’s services. Wayne eventually resigned with Cash Money and earned himself a new label, “Young Money,” distributed through Cash Money/Universal which first featured his crew Squad Up. But the group soon broke, and now Lil Wayne has a new group named Young Money. The Group consists of Curren$y, a local rapper previously on C-Murder’s TRU Records, Boo of Boo and Gotti, and a new up and coming rapper named Mack Maine also from the Hollygrove area of New Orleans.