New Orleans, LA, is known for its rich history and culture. From Mardi Gras to the rich food scene, the city has no shame about making its mark and taking up space; this is particularly evident through its people. One prominent example is the Hip-Hop dynasty of Cash Money Records, namely the self-proclaimed best rapper alive – Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter, Jr.

Lil Wayne hit the scene as a member of the group Hot Boys and eventually went on to enjoy a lucrative and successful career as a solo artist. This era was specifically documented with his series of Carter LPs. Across that album sequence, Lil Wayne was able to produce hits such as “Go DJ,” “Mrs. Officer” and “6 Foot 7 Foot.”

Amid so much success, the Louisiana rapper found himself in hot water with the IRS. A previous report from AfroTech outlined how he once had a $14,194,944 tax debt bill. However, his fellow rap colleague and Hip-Hop’s top billionaire Jay-Z pulled him out of that multimillion-dollar hole. “There’s people like Jay-Z. He helped me when I was really, really, really down. Really, really, really down,” Wayne said to a crowd during a performance in Chicago. “Jay don’t want me to tell nobody. That man helped me with my taxes. He’s a real friend, y’all.”

This admission could explain why Carter didn’t buy into what the internet says about his net worth. According to Insider, Lil Wayne said he had nothing close to what the sites shared was his net worth of over $150 million. Celebrity Net Worth says that number is closer to $170M.

“Honestly, I’m gonna let everybody know now, when you go check a motherf-cker’s net worth and that shit be saying some crazy numbers, I don’t have a cent close to that sh-t,” Carter said in an interview on The Nine Club in 2016. It’s fair to assume that Lil Wayne’s overall asset balance and what information was on the internet didn’t match. And this is why he was hard-pressed on his agent about what the public could assume about his wealth.

“So I be always calling my agent and being like, ‘I’m telling you, bro, I’m gonna fire the sh-t out of you,” he continued. “I Googled that. You know what I mean? I’m like, I’m a zillion-dollar rapper on Google, bro. It’s motivation, that’s all. It’s just motivation.”

Nerd Wallet explains that net worth is calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets. But this does not mean that those with high incomes have more significant net worths. Or, in Lil Wayne’s case, people with more modest current earnings have lower net worths. “People with modest incomes can accumulate significant wealth and a high net worth if they buy appreciating assets and are prudent savers,” the outlet explains.

Now that some time has passed and his tax troubles are behind him, Lil Wayne has continued to be successful in music, releasing a compilation album, I Am Music, which dropped on March 31, 2023.

His lyricism isn’t the only thing that makes up the “I Need A Hot Girl” rapper’s value. For those curious about how Wayne amassed his millions, let’s look into what makes up Carter’s fortune.

Lil Wayne's Musical Legacy

Rather than going the Disney route like other child stars, Weezy avidly pursued a career as a rapper as young as nine years old. His ambition caught the attention of Birdman at Cash Money Records, who eventually placed the young star in groups like The B.G.’s and Hot Boys before the Southerner’s solo career started. In 1999, at just 17 years old, Wayne shared his debut album, The Block is Hot, which ultimately went Platinum. That success surely tasted sweet, but it didn’t last as 2000’s Lights Out and 2002’s 500 Degreez failed to generate the same buzz.

It was 2004’s Tha Carter that helped put the 41-year-old back on the map, and he’s continued the series with four more installments arriving from 2005 to 2018. As per Complex, in 2011, Tha Carter IV sold over one million copies in its first week out, proving just how much the digital landscape has changed with the invention of streaming platforms.

Outside of his most successful series, the father of four also shared Rebirth and I Am Not a Human Being in 2010, the latter of which got a sequel in 2013. The start of the 2020’s introduced us to a more mature version of Wayne on Funeral, and in 2023 he and long-time friend 2 Chainz joined forces for Welcome 2 Collegrove.

Between penning his verses on albums and dozens of guest features, Carter has made it a priority to support other artists through his Young Money Entertainment label. Drake was once a signee of his “HYFR” collaborator, as was Nicki Minaj. However, both rhymers have since launched their own labels to follow in Wayne’s footsteps and build empires of their own.

If you tally all of his chart-topping hits, Billboard recorded him having 109 songs to hit the charts, giving him the title of the male artist with the most entries at one point. Ironically, the artist to dethrone him was his protégé, Champagne Papi.

Other Creative Ventures Enhance Rapper's Earnings

Like many of his contemporaries, Wayne has done some exploration of acting in film and television. His first credited role was in 2000’s Baller Blockin’, and others on the multi-talent’s resume include Who’s Your Caddy?The BoondocksHurricane Season and the 2023 House Party remake.

In 2016, Lil Wayne released a book outlining his time in prison. “Gone ‘Til November: A Journal of Rikers Island” is a personal account of his eight months at the infamous facility in 2010 for charges related to a gun found on his tour bus.

Elsewhere, Spectre by Supra is Lil Wayne’s footwear line that helped enhance his net worth too. The exclusive shoe partnership launched in 2012 and catered to skaters; several models hit the market at the time and now remain in the coveted collections of sneakerheads. Tunechi also released a clothing line for skater culture under the TRUKFIT, or “The Reason U Kill For It,” label.

Finally, the New Orleans native is associated with Bogey Cigars and partnered with Beats by Dre to launch Tunechi Beats by Dre in 2012. Wayne might not be ready to reveal what his net worth is if not $170M, but his hard work and dedication to his craft from the 90s until present day speaks for itself.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is the Number One Richest Rapper?

According to Scotsman, the answer as of 2024 is Jay-Z who has a reported net worth of $2 billion. Next is the embattled Sean “Diddy” Combs, sitting at $800M, Dr. Dre with $500M and Ye takes the fourth spot thanks to his $400M net worth. If you’re curious where Lil Wayne ranks on the list, it’s in the eighth spot ($170M), after Drake and Eminem ($250M each) and Uncle Snoop ($185M).

Who Is Richest Between Drake and Lil Wayne?

Though Weezy played an instrumental role in helping his Canadian friend come up in rap, Drake has since surpassed his former Young Money boss. The 6ix God’s net worth is reportedly $80M higher than Wayne’s, largely thanks to the success of his OVO brands, film/TV production credits and consistent album releases over the past few years.

Is Drake a Billionaire?

As GeeksForGeeks reminds us, Drizzy has yet to join Jay-Z in the billionaire boy’s club. Of course, being worth $250M does mean he’s already a quarter of the way there and isn’t showing signs of stopping anytime soon. His record-breaking $400M deal with Universal in 2022 is just an indication of what’s to come from Drake as he moves closer to 40.