Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982), better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American Grammy Award-winning rapper. Formerly a member of the rap group the Hot Boys, he joined the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager. 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 in 1999.
After gaining fame with two other albums in the early 2000s, 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 earned various accolades following Tha Carter III, including eight Grammy Awards nominations. He has had two number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 ("Lollipop" with Static Major and being featured on "Down" by Jay Sean). He will release a rock album titled Rebirth in 2009.
Hot Boys: Weezy's rise to prominence began with the Hot Boys, a short-lived group he formed with Juvenile, B.G., and Turk. The all-star collective went on to establish Cash Money Records as a staple in southern hip-hop. The group's 1997 debut, Get It How You Live, was met with a standing ovation. Their major label debut, Guerilla Warfare (Universal), was released a year later. It was followed up with Let Em Burn in 2002.
Lil Wayne Gone Solo : Using the Hot Boys as a springboard, Lil Wayne went on to certify his status as a veritable standalone MC.
In 1999, he debuted with Tha Block is Hot, which featured former group members (Juvenile, Turk, and B.G.) on more than half of the album's 17 songs. The disc was entirely produced by erstwhile Cash Money beatsmith Mannie Fresh. Despite the big name collaborations, Tha Block is Hot was a commercial flop.
Wayne redeemed himself with Lights Out, his second go-round, in 2000. The CD was certified gold, but Wayne still had a lot to prove to his critics.
The Growth: As Lil Wayne matured into his twenties, he had amassed enough knowledge from the rap game to make a big impression. Accordingly, his latter albums, 500 Degreez (2002) and The Carter II (2005), placed in the upper echelons of southern rap.
Today, Weezy is widely hailed as one of the leading emcees around. Since releasing his best album, 2005's Tha Carter II, he has lent his weight to other artists on more than 100 collaborations.
Tha Carter III: The third installation of Lil Wayne's Carter series proved to be his most commercially successful album ever. Despite early leaks and mixed reception, Tha Carter III docked at the top of Billboard's 200 Albums Chart, having moved over 1 million units in its first week.