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Stars That Died

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who is Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Who is Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.? The world knows him by his stage name of Lil Wayne. Formerly a member of the rap group the Hot Boys, he joined the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager. He worked with B.G. on the album True Story and eventually recorded for the label. Get It How U Live, released in 1997, was Lil Wayne's first album with Hot Boys, and Tha Block is Hot, his solo debut, came out 1999. Block debuted in the top ten on the American Billboard 200 chart and Lil Wayne was nominated for "Best New Artist" from The Source magazine the same year. Following this success, Wayne soon featured on other rappers' singles, including "Bling Bling" by B.G. and "#1 Stunna" by the Big Tymers in 2000.

After his hit debut album Tha Block Is Hot and two more albums released with little promotion, Lil Wayne reached higher popularity with 2004's Tha Carter and its two subsequent albums Tha Carter II (2005) and Tha Carter III (2008). He appears on several mixtapes and singles of other artists.

He was born September 27, 1982, he grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School. At age eleven, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Lil Wayne recorded freestyle raps on Williams' answering machine; Williams would eventually mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. When he was 12, he played the part of the Tin Man in his middle school drama club's production of The Wiz. He dropped out of school at age 14 but later earned his GED.

1997, Lil Wayne formed the group Hot Boys along with rappers Juvenile, Turk, and B.G.; at age 15, Wayne was the youngest member at that time. Hot Boys' debut album Get It How U Live! was released the same year, followed in 1999 by the group's major-label debut Guerrilla Warfare, which reached #1 on the Billboard magazine Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #5 on the Billboard 200. During their career, the Hot Boys had two charting singles, "We On Fire" from Get It How U Live! and "I Need a Hot Girl" from Guerrilla Warfare. Lil Wayne was also featured on Juvenile's single "Back That Azz Up", which reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.[8] Let 'Em Burn, a compilation album of unreleased tracks recorded during 1999 and 2000, came out in 2003, several years after the group disbanded. It reached #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #14 on the Billboard 200.

Lil Wayne's debut solo album Tha Block Is Hot at age 17 featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and went double platinum, climbing to #3 on the Billboard album charts. The album earned him a 1999 Source magazine award nomination for "Best New Artist", and also became a Top Ten hit. The lead single was "Tha Block Is Hot". After the release of Tha Block is Hot, Lil Wayne was featured on the single, "Bling Bling", with B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Big Tymers.

Wayne has a daughter named Reginae Carter with Antonia "Toya" Johnson, his high school sweetheart. The two were married on Valentines Day of 2004; they divorced in 2006. During his acceptance speech for "Lyricist of the Year" at the 2008 BET Awards, Lil Wayne announced that he is expecting a son. His newborn son is, Dwayne Carter III, was born Oct. 22 at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. The child's mother is still unknown. In an interview with Blender, Lil Wayne revealed one of his favorite bands from childhood to be rock group Nirvana, and cites them as a major influence in his music.

He has announced several possible projects following Tha Carter III, including a collaboration album I Can't Feel My Face with rapper Juelz Santana that has been in production for several years. On the website, he has discussed a possible R&B album titled Luv Sawngz, for which he will heavily rely on a vocoder. He has also talked with singer Lloyd about doing a collaboration album in the future. DJ Drama stated that there would be a third installation of the Dedication mixtape series with Lil Wayne, who has instead stated that he will do an full album under the title. In interviews, Wayne has asserted that he might make an album titled Tha Carter IV. On June 19, 2008, Lil Wayne and T-Pain formed a supergroup called T-Wayne and planned to release an album.

The lineup for New Orleans' 2008 Voodoo Experience concert, to be held in October, will feature Lil Wayne. Jonathan Cohen of Billboard magazine reported that the event will mark his biggest hometown headlining set of his career. Lil Wayne will be reuniting with Hot Boys alongside Juvenile, Turk, and B.G. They plan to release an album after B.G.'s solo album Too Hood to Be Hollywood is completed. Wayne also performed as the 2008 Virgin Mobile Music Fest with Kanye West, performing his "Lollipop (remix)" featuring West and also lip-syncing to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You". Lil Wayne also performed at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards with Kid Rock ("All Summer Long"), Leona Lewis ("DontGetIt (Misunderstood)") and T-Pain ("Got Money"). Lil Wayne was also featured on the 34th season premiere episode of Saturday Night Live as the musical guest and is also set to perform at Vanderbilt University's homecoming on October 23. Wayne was then revealed to be performing at the 2008 BET Hip Hop Awards along with Ludacris, T-Pain, The Game, and Young Jeezy among others, where he leads all nominations with 12 total. He won 6 of them, and one with Dj Khaled for the song "Out Here Grindin'." He is expected to start a nationwide tour, practising with a live band and working on logistics. It was revealed that M.I.A. dropped out of performing on the tour due to her pregnancy, however Jay Z is expected to perform with Wayne on the song "Mr. Carter" at select shows.

In an interview on MTV's Mixtape Monday, Wayne stated that Tha Carter IV is "nice" but fans should be looking for Dedication 3 with DJ Drama. Following Tha Carter III's achievement of selling over 2 million copies, becoming 2008's best record, Wayne re-signed with Cash Money Records for a multi-album deal. On September 24, Lil Wayne published his first blog for ESPN in their issue, ESPN The Magazine. Wayne revealed he was a tennis fan, a Green Bay Packers fan, a Boston Bruins fan, a Los Angeles Lakers fan, and a Boston Red Sox fan.

On November 11, 2008, Wayne became the first hip-hop act to ever perform at the Country Music Awards. He played alongside Kid Rock for the song, "All Summer Long", in which Wayne did not rap but instead played guitar along Kid Rock's band. Shortly after, Wayne was nominated for eight Grammys - the most for an artist nominated.

On January 23, 2008, Lil Wayne was arrested alongside two others. His tour bus was stopped by Border Patrol agents near Yuma, Arizona. A K-9 Unit recovered 105 grams of marijuana (3.7 ounces), almost 29 grams of cocaine (1.02 ounces), 41 grams of MDMA (1.4 ounces) and $22,000 dollars in cash. Lil Wayne was charged with four felonies: possession of narcotic drug for sale, possession of dangerous drugs, misconduct involving weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was granted permission to travel outside of the state and remain out of custody on the $10,185 bond he posted. On May 6, 2008 Wayne returned to court in Arizona to plead not guilty to the charges.

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