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Lil Wayne:
Through The Years

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— by Shaheem Reid, with reporting by Rahman Dukes and Yasmine Richard

At 23, Lil Wayne is too young to be as forgetful as he as.

"Who? Who?" he says, slouching into a couch in his trailer on the set of his latest video, for Tha Carter II's "Shooter." The look on Wayne's face lands somewhere between a playful smile and a grimace when he's asked about former Cash Money Records artist Gillie Da Kid. Over the past few weeks, Gillie has gone public with claims that he ghost-wrote raps for Wayne back when Gillie was down with Cash Money a couple of years ago. (Gil signed to the label in late 2001 and left two and a half years later.)

"What Kid? What Kid? What Kid?" Wayne continues, declining even to give the allegation any credibility.

Instead, Wayne is looking toward the future — the very near future. He has so many projects going on that when he goes to the studio in Miami every night, he says he has to check a posted-up piece of paper to see which album he'll actually be laying vocals for. Sometimes it's for a project that he and Juelz Santana are putting together called I Can't Feel My Face. It was originally conceived to be an über mixtape, but now the young duo are thinking about making it an album.

Then there's a definite duet LP he's working on with Cash Money Records co-CEO Brian "Baby" Williams, called Like Father, Like Son, which drops on September 26. And there's the impending Tha Carter III, which is already one of the most anticipated LPs of the year.

Wayne, now the president of Cash Money (he was appointed last year), also has a full slate of guest appearances. Everybody wants to work with him, from Cam'ron to Fat Joe, and even and even "Miss" Beyoncé might have placed a call for another collabo (he guested on Destiny's Child's "Soldier" from Destiny Fulfilled.)

Weezy tells MTV News about why he would want to work with B again, what the future holds for his record label and why he needs to be even more creative as he approaches old age.

MTV: Before we go any further, tell me what in the world does "Weezy F. Baby. Please say, 'the Baby' " mean?

Lil Wayne: [Laughing] I'm ... just being arrogant. "Say, 'the Baby.' " Just me being me. No big clue, no mystery. "Say, 'the Baby.' "

MTV: You've been in the game for around 10 years, but over the past two, people have just started suggesting that you might be the best MC in the game. How do you take that?

LW: Humble, trying to look at it as success. I'm so greedy, I'm hungry, I'm young. So I feel like I ain't do nothing. Everybody is telling me, "You that dude, you that dude." I feel, like, naw, I got to get it where it's hands down. And I'm nowhere near that, so I don't even — I mean, I'm blessed and I thank God for every day for everything that happens for me. Other than that, though, I don't get comfortable, naw.

MTV: Tha Carter propelled you to elite status and Tha Carter II solidified it. Did you know your series was going to take you to the next level?

LW: Naw. I just always expect the best because I'm a competitor and if I'm competing, then obviously I'm trying to be better in everything. I have no challengers — the challenger is everything — so I try to be the best.

MTV: What's going to be the focus of Tha Carter III?

LW: My whole focus for this next album is for Lil Wayne as a person to get better. I'm getting older, have a lot more to talk about. I ain't just waking up and doing the usual. Creativity is everything. [When I was younger,] creativity, that wasn't it for me. I had something to go for me, and it was either "Bling Bling" or "Back That Thang Up." Now everybody is feeling me because of my talent. Now I have to get more creative.

MTV: What's going on with Cash Money? From the outside looking in, the roster looks completely depleted. Without even getting into the whole Mannie Fresh and Hot Boys defection, just a few years ago you had at least 10 acts: Gillie Da Kid, TQ — the list goes on. Besides Boo and Gotti, none of them came out, and nearly all of them have left.

LW: We have a roster, it's just that we have to show the world that roster. Right now, what I think about the future of Cash Money? As long as I'm there, we good. Me and the Birdman, he's dropping his last album, it's going to be called Like Father, Like Son. Crazy album. I think we're going to do a little movie with it, like "Murder Was the Case," like Snoop did. Then after that I got my own label, Young Money. I got my first artist coming, Currency the Hot Spitter.

MTV: On DJ Khaled's Listenn: The Album, you have a record "MIA" where you rap about living in Miami until they rebuild New Orleans.

LW: I just keep it real in my songs. I was in Miami and I said, "I'm gonna make a song for them." I sent it to DJ Khaled because I knew he'd put it on the radio that night. He said, nah, I want to keep it for my album. But you know, I'm New Orleans. Miami has embraced me and I love them for that.

MTV: You told us a while ago that you would be working with Beyoncé.

LW: I am? I am? I would love to. Jay! [Holla at me] ... It's all good. Let me sit up [sits upright on the couch].

MTV: Did you do the record for her album yet?

LW: I don't remember doing it. But I'mma kill it if I'm on it. She's talented, creative — we'll make great music.

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Photo: Cash Money/ MTV News

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 Lil Wayne
"Shooter" (featuring Robin Thicke)
Tha Carter II
(Cash Money/ Universal)

 Lil Wayne
"Hustler Musik"
Tha Carter II
(Cash Money/ Universal)

 Lil Wayne
"Go DJ"
Tha Carter
(Cash Money/ Universal)