In Numbers: The stellar career of Lil Wayne
(Credit: Alamy)


In Numbers: The stellar career of Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne is one of the wealthiest rappers in the world. As the man behind the Young Money label, Lil Wayne has not only seen an unfathomable amount of success himself but has helped launch the careers of some of the most successful rappers we know today, including the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga.

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. Lil Wayne’s childhood friend Mack Maine equated the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans to warzones, recalling that, like its neighbouring states, Louisiana had such loose gun laws at one point that in Hollygrove, there were new dead bodies on the street every morning.

Quick to accept the offer of Birdman, Lil Wayne signed to his record label Cash Money as a mere teenager in the early noughties. He signed a record deal as part of the New Orleans rap crew The Hot Boys, but after the crew 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.

With 13 studio albums, one collaborative album, three compilation albums, five EPs, and a mind-blowing 29 mixtapes, we’re going to have a look at the entirety of Lil Wayne’s career to break down the facts and figures and present you with his career in numbers.

Lil Wayne’s solo albums

Since his emergence on the scene in 2004, Lil Wayne’s best-selling album of all time has been Tha Carter III. This was released in 2008 when Lil Wayne was at the height of his career. Having formed his label Young Money in 2007, Lil Wayne had not only a powerful following in the south, but as a result of his mega-roster, he then obtained a truly nationwide following.

Nicki Minaj was becoming a superstar on the East Coast, and Drake was blowing up in Canada. Tyga had the entire West Coast on his side, and (with every artist representing Young Money), Lil Wayne was becoming the centre of attention and was reaching dizzying heights.

With commercial rap hits such as ‘A Milli’ and ‘Lollipop’, upon its release, Tha Carter III debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It rode on the coattails on Wayne’s incredible mixtape run between 2004 and 2007 and received a Grammy award for ‘Best Rap Album’. It has since been certified as eight times platinum by the RIAA, having sold over eight million units in the US alone.

Lil Wayne’s most streamed song

As a lead artist, over his 18-year career span, Lil Wayne has released a total of 285 singles. However, his most streamed song of all time on the prevalent music streaming service Spotify is the second single from his 2008 album Tha Carter III, ‘A Milli’. The single, as of 2022, has been streamed approximately 418.4 million times and is arguably one of the most popular Lil Wayne songs of all time.

As a featured artist, Lil Wayne’s most streamed song is ‘Sucker For Pain’. A cross-genre track featuring Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Ty Dollar $ign and X Ambassadors. This track has no lead artist and is a single that features on the soundtrack for the 2016 film Suicide Squad. The rap-rock has nearly accrued a billion streams and has been streamed approximately 986 million times.

Lil Wayne’s biggest YouTube video

As a lead artist, Lil Wayne’s biggest YouTube video is for his 2011 single ‘Mirror’ featuring Bruno Mars. Featured on Lil Wayne’s critically acclaimed Tha Carter IV album, the track has racked up a total of 725 million views since its upload in 2011.

As a featured artist, Lil Wayne’s biggest video on YouTube is DJ Khaled’s ‘I’m The One’ on which Wayne appears with Quavo, Justin Bieber and Chance The Rapper. The video has surpassed a billion views and currently sits at 1.6 Billion views.

Lil Wayne’s net worth

Different sources state varying net worths. However, it is consistently reported that Lil Wayne’s net worth in 2022 lies somewhere between $150 – $170 million dollars. Lil Wayne helped launched the career of one of the world’s most successful rappers of all time, Drake, and as a result, has profited greatly from his success. The same can be said for Nicki Minaj.