Published May 08, 2013Lil Wayne is always full of surprises. From his jail stint to baffling rock crossovers to his sudden focus on skateboarding, we can never quite predict what the rapper will be up to next. He manages to delay his albums for seemingly interminable lengths of time while still keeping up a prolific output, making him one of the most intriguing figures in rap.
For the full rundown of all the ups and downs of his storied career, be sure to read Exclaim!'s new Timeline feature, which traces Weezy's life from childhood right up to the present. Obviously there's a lot of information, so to get you started, here are five highlights from the feature. And pick up the latest copy of Exclaim! Magazine to read our entire Lil Wayne Timeline.
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About Lil Wayne:
5. Lil Wayne's original rap alias was Gangsta D.
In spite of his troubled home life, Dwayne [Michael Carter] is a gifted student and shows signs of being a talented performer. He starts rapping at age eight, performing at neighbourhood parties under the name Gangsta D.
4. Lil Wayne stopped writing down his rhymes in 2003.
In 2003, Wayne decides to stop writing rhymes — not that he isn't going to rap anymore, he just doesn't want to commit anything to paper. The very process of writing, he feels, is constraining his creativity. "When I stopped writing, I noticed everything was real now," he'll tell VH1. "I can't talk about nothing but what's real. Because I can't write nothing down." He uses up his last written lines on a 35-minute non-stop rhyme marathon called "10,000 Bars," released as SQ 7. The recording is a mixture of full verses, song fragments and half-fleshed out bars. Wayne tears each page out of his rhyme book after recording it.
3. A feud with the NBA caused Lil Wayne to publicly brag that he slept with basketball star Chris Bosh's wife.
Wayne reveals that he's been banned from NBA events. "If you're wondering why you didn't see me at the All-Star Game it's because I was banned from attending all NBA events," he yells. "The Miami Heat got me banned… Fuck the NBA! Fuck LeBron! Fuck SheWade! Fuck Chris Bosh! And I fucked Chris Bosh wife!" He later apologizes to LeBron James and the City of Miami, but refuses to back down from his statements about Bosh and his wife, Adrienne Williams.
2. Lil Wayne is credited with inventing the word "bling."
The single "Bling Bling" hits No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and popularizes "bling" in the cultural lexicon. While Wayne does not have a verse on the original version of the song, he's responsible for its memorable chorus. In a 2009 interview with VH1, Baby will give Wayne credit for inventing the word "bling." "If I had have knew better, I would have copyrighted that shit," he'll say.
1. Lil Wayne accidentally shot himself as a child.
In November 1994, 12-year-old Dwayne comes home early from school early. In his parent's bedroom, he discovers a blue steel Taurus 9 mm handgun — depending on which version you hear, the gun either belongs to Rabbit, or was left behind by a friend of the family. Dwayne begins playing with the gun, imitating Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver in front of the mirror. He drops it and it accidentally discharges, hitting him in the chest. Wayne is rushed to hospital where he spends two weeks in intensive care. "I didn't know that, even when the clip was out, you could still have the one in the chamber," he says. "It went off." Wayne's stepfather, "Rabbit" McDonald, goes to jail for possession of an illegal handgun as a result.