Lil Wayne, 40, has had the rap game on lock for years. And quite frankly, entertaining the masses has been all he’s ever known.

Hailing from the musical city that is New Orleans, LA, for Lil Wayne, entertaining others quickly became something he loved to do from the very beginning.

“My grandma would wake me up at like 10 or 11 p.m. when I had school the next day. I was like seven or eight years old,” he recalled. “She’d wake me up, and I gotta go in the living room and I gotta perform, and I’m not about to go up there and do nothing. I’ve been practicing at school with some play we working on, it wasn’t advised. She wanted me to work on it during the daytime because it was just for her.”

Lil Wayne remembers having to perform for his grandmother and her friends, not necessarily songs that he would’ve chosen, but ones that they wanted to hear.

“I got to sing songs that they enjoy, and I gotta do the dance moves that they know,” Lil Wayne continued. “And I’m only seven or eight years old. After I would go lay back down after that whole event and was walking back to my room, I could hear them laughing and saying, ‘Girl, that boy knows he something.'”

It was in these moments that Lil Wayne, whose given name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., knew he was destined for fame.

After that, it wasn’t long before someone else discovered his undeniable talent. The machine that pushed Lil Wayne into superstardom was Cash Money Records, founded by brothers Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Baby” Williams. The record deal made him one of their youngest official signees at age 11. 

Signing At A Young Age

“When it comes to music and opportunities, you know, again, I haven’t worked a day in my d-mn life,” Lil Wayne said. “I’ve literally been doing this since 7 or 8 years old. And I signed at 11. So, I’ve never had a real job … besides this. So I’ve been living my dreams ever since, and I just been making sure I maintain and keep going.”

His Perception Of Money

As previously reported by AfroTech, Lil Wayne tried to give his first big paycheck to his mother. However, when she returned it, he quickly learned the value of money.

“She was like, ‘Boy that’s yours, you made that,'” he shared. “That right there, that just taught me how to be with money at that moment. It taught me that it doesn’t mean nothing.”  

Similarly, signing his first deal taught Lil Wayne the same thing.

“So when we got the deal and it became [real], my mind was already blown,” “Tha Block Is Hot” emcee said. “It was like the money. It was no different. Put it like this, I had goals. I didn’t have those types of things before, I had goals, like, ‘Okay, now we’re here.’”

At that moment, Lil Wayne wanted more. Beyond just being the best rapper in his city of New Orleans or the best emcee within his crew, the superstar wanted to become the best rapper alive.

Did He Fulfill That Dream?

Since his foray into the rap game, Lil Wayne has smashed records across the board. According to MTV, he broke Elvis Presley’s record for the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 2012 thanks to The Game’s “Celebration,” which he was featured on, bringing his total chart entries to a whopping 109.

Additionally, he has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, including more than 25 million albums as well as 92 million digital tracks across the U.S.

Beyond his own talent, Lil Wayne has also brought forth some of today’s biggest names in Hip-Hop, including Drake and Nicki Minaj under his Young Money imprint, which dominated the 2010s.

Look to see Lil Wayne recognized in September with the BMI Icon Award at the 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Miami, FL. The highest recognition during the event places him in the company of previous honorees Patti LaBelle, Snoop Dogg, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, and more.