Born on September 27, 1982, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Lil Wayne worked with hip-hop group the Hot Boys before forging a solo career with albums Tha Carter and its hit follow ups II, III and IV. He won four Grammy Awards in 2009 for singles like “A Milli” and “Lollipop,” and has worked with artists ranging from Robin Thicke to Nicki Minaj. He was jailed in 2010 for weapon’s possession.
Lil Wayne started rapping at the age of 8. He later met brothers Bryan and Slim Williams, the founders of Cash Money Records, who were impressed enough with his skills to give him one of their business cards. Ambitious, Wayne continued to call them until they took him under their wing and let him hang around the label’s offices.
Lil Wayne’s first recording for Cash Money Records was True Stories (1993), performing with another skilled rapper, B.G., under the name the BGs. Away from the studios, he was living dangerously. He sold crack for a time, and accidentally shot himself in the chest, according to an article in Rolling Stone. “It was my mom’s gun,” Wayne told the magazine in 2008. “It was like a chopper hit me. But the bullet went straight through, and I bounced back in two weeks.”