Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and label executive.
Signing to Birdman’s Cash Money Records at just 11 years old, Lil Wayne is widely regarded as one of the most prodigious and influential rappers of his generation. After spending his early years as a member of the Hot Boys with labelmates Young Turk, Lil Dougie, and Juvenile, Carter dropped his debut solo album Tha Block is Hot in 1999 at 17 years old. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and was certified platinum by the RIAA just one month after its release. Since then, Carter has released a number of bestselling albums, including the prolific Tha Carter series.
Alongside his studio releases, Lil Wayne is also known for revolutionizing the mixtape format. Throughout his career, Carter has released 20 mixtapes, 17 of which were released between 2002-2009. This lightning-fast, ultra-direct approach to putting out music set the stage for an entire generation of homegrown rap artists. From Future to Young Thug to Chance the Rapper, countless artists have cited Lil Wayne’s mixtapes as primary influences on their sound and style. Additionally, Lil Wayne perfected in his mixtapes the art of rapping over other artists’s songs, creating an ongoing musical conversation across generations.
Carter is also the founder and CEO of his own label Young Money Entertainment. Starting in 2005, the label’s roster has included artists such as Drake, Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled, and Tgya, to name just a few.