New Orleans rapper and Young Money founder Lil Wayne is often considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. As one of the first rappers from the South to achieve mogul status, Lil Wayne provided hope to other young rappers from the South who hadn’t seen someone like them go very far.
Born and raised in the deprived Hollygrove area of New Orleans, Lil Wayne (real name Dwayne Carter) was discovered by Birdman when he was just a teenager. Shortly after seeing Wayne’s talent, Birdman signed the young rapper to his record label Cash Money in the early noughties. He signed a record deal as part of the New Orleans rap crew The Hot Boys. However, after the group disbanded with their producer Mannie Fresh abandoning the label, only Lil Wayne was left at Cash Money.
Lil Wayne released his debut album Tha Block Is Hot, on the label in 1999. Having already built a buzz by touring on the underground across the south and with multiple tracks receiving local airplay in the south, Tha Block Is Hot, pushed by Cash Money and Universal Music, debuted at number three on the Billboard 200.
Between 1999 and 2004, Wayne released two more studio albums, but they never reached the heights of his debut. However, he did multiple features, including a verse on the Destiny’s Child song ‘Soldier’. In 2004 Wayne released his fourth studio album, Tha Carter, which birthed his Carter album series. Fortunately, with his classic mixtape series Dedication alongside DJ Drama shaking up the underground, Lil Wayne became Cash Money’s face and, before long, its new star.
In the early noughties, Wayne had one of the most successful mixtape runs in rap history, and by the end of the noughties, the rapper had his own imprint of Cash Money, Young Money. The label launched the careers of Nicki Minaj, Tyga and Drake, to name a few. With Maybach Music Group being their only competition in the early 2010s, colloquially known as YMCM, Young Money was untouchable and was responsible for hits such as Tyga’s ‘Rack City’, Drake’s ‘Best I Ever Had’ and more.
Since being discovered by Birdman, Lil Wayne has released 13 studio albums, one collaborative album, three compilation albums, five EPs, and a mind-blowing 29 mixtapes. Below we have picked out the 25 Lil Wayne essentials.
25 essential Lil Wayne songs:
- ‘Tha Block Is Hot’
- ‘Gangsta Shit’ ft Petey Pablo
- ‘Get That Dough’ ft Baby, Tatteeze & Cristale
- ‘Money On My Mind’
- ‘The Best In The Business’
- ‘Get ‘Em’
- ‘Workin ‘Em’
- ‘Weezy Baby’ ft Nikki
- ‘A Milli’
- ‘Got Money’ ft T-Pain
- ‘Mr Carter’ ft Jay-Z
- ‘Drop The World’ ft Eminem
- ‘Pass The Dutch’
- ‘6ft 7ft’ ft Corey Gunz
- ‘John’ ft Rick Ross
- ‘My Homies Still’ ft Big Sean
- ‘Tunechi Rollin’
- ‘Tunechi’s Back’
- ‘Mona Lisa’ ft Kendrick Lamar