As Young Money's CEO, Lil Wayne — who's been rapping since he was first signed to Cash Money at age 9 — now oversees one of the hottest record labels in the game with a star-studded roster that includes Nicki Minaj and Drake. Now, though, the 31-year-old is gearing up for his Tha Carter V LP and rap retirement.
Maybe that's what got Tunechi in a reflective mood when he sat down with Elliott Wilson for the latest installment of his CRWN series. Weezy opened up about his rise to hip-hop superstardom and how he wants to be remembered when he hangs up his mic for good, among other eye-opening topics.
Here are 12 things we learned:
1. Lil Wayne Took A Meeting With Jay Z, But Didn't Sign
According to urban legend, back when Jay Z became the president of Def Jam, he tried to sign Wayne. But Wayne clarified that, saying, "It wasn't like that. It wasn't like Jay was reaching out for me, like I want you over here. He expressed interest and you know me, I was a super [Jay Z] fanatic, I was on the first thing smokin'. I went over there, we met, I met with Jay, but history turned out to be what history is."
2. Lil Wayne Hears All Your Criticism
All the hip-hop greats have been criticized, so Wayne doesn't expect to escape the same fate. "Who am I to be any different?" he said. "They gon compare my new stuff to my old stuff like an athlete. They compared their new play to their old play, but when you finish, they can't do nothing but say, 'Ooh, look at what he done.' So I know what I've done, I know what I did and I know what I can do ... and they do, too."
3. There's No Drake Vs. Kendrick Battle In Wayne's Eyes
After Kendrick Lamar dropped his incendiary "Control" verse where he called out Drake, among others, by name, there was a little rift between K.Dot and Drizzy. But for Wayne, there's no real battle there. "Ain't nobody versus nobody. Everybody do they own thing to me. Music is music. See to me, the music and battling is different. I don't think that battling, unless it's a classic battle, I don't think that that's music. I don't think people wanna hear it more than once or twice. If you're battling you're talking about somebody, you're going at somebody or you saying you're this, that and the third. OK, it's good for the time. But it's not music. Music lasts forever."
4. Wayne Hopes He Fits In With Biggie, 'Pac, Jay, Eminem
Biggie, Tupac, Jay Z and Eminem are the pinnacle of rap royalty, and Wayne believes he belongs in the same breath. "I definitely look at it like that. I don't think that the new artists even putting us in their competition. When I say 'us' I hope that I fit in that 'us.' I hope I fit in that and if I do, I hope they look at it as I'm trying to get there. Me, I still look at it like I'm trying to get there."
5. Lil Wayne Wishes He Could Perform With That Kanye West Mask
Wayne went to Kanye West's Yeezus concert in Atlanta and found himself nearly out of breath from the experience. Oh, and he was beside himself over the masks he wore. "That ni--a did a whole show with a mask on. I was like, damn, I wish I could do some sh-- like that, just go out there with the mask on like that ni--a had that mask on. If the show was two hours, he had that bitch on for a hour and 57 minutes. He revealed himself when Jesus came out ... you know you gotta take that mask off for Jesus."
6. Wayne Makes A Lot Of Sports References When He Talks
Lil Wayne doesn't just love sports: He lives sports. So it's no shocker that he raps about and uses sports metaphors when he speaks. After all, if it doesn't come on ESPN's "SportsCenter," Wayne "doesn't know it happened." He compared Jay Z to Kobe and Jordan and Kendrick Lamar's battle moment to Allen Iverson's infamous crossover of Michael Jordan.
7. Lil Wayne Wants To Be Reincarnated As ... Lil Wayne
When recounting his platinum success as a 14-year-old with Tha Block Is Hot on up to present day, Wayne revealed that if reincarnation was a real thing, "If I had to go back and do it a billion times, I hope I come back as this same ni--a and do it again."
8. Wayne Won't Stop Rapping About The P-Word
Anyone who's listened to Wayne's lyrics knows that he's enamored with p---y. But if people think he has any intentions of stopping, well, you don't know Wayne. "What the f--- else you want me to talk about? If you wanna hear somebody talk about some p---y, I'm your man. You let me do a solo album called P---y and I'm outchea. I'll do five of them bitches, P---y I."
9. Wayne Doesn't Want To Be The Best Rapper Alive Anymore
When he was making his bones as an MC after Hov "retired," Wayne declared he was the best rapper alive. But now he doesn't want to be that anymore because "I have awesome artists, simple and plain, and I'm not trying to outshine them at all. I have artists that I feel like I want you to be better than me. It's about them, it's about us."
10. Lil Wayne Was Early For 'Soldier' Verse
Wayne considers his "Soldier" guest spot to be the platform that shot his career off into another orbit. Why? "Because it was Beyoncé. That sh-- was big." Needless to say, he and co-collaborator T.I. were on it. "We was there early!"
11. Wayne Couldn't Rap How He Wanted Before Tha Carter
There's a very noticeable difference between Wayne's flow pre-Carter and post-Carter. The reason for that is nobody wanted to hear anything outside of the Cash Money collective's signature New Orleans sound. "I actually used to couldn't rap how I wanted to rap. We had to have that 'Woadie,' that was our thing. After 500 Degreez, I was still having to be that Cash Money, New Orleans trendsetting whatever. Then from there, Tha Carter, I'm doing my own thing now and I'm rapping how I wanna rap on that bitch."
12. Lil Wayne Just Wants To Be Remembered As 'Cool'
Wayne used to shoot for being remembered like Biggie or 'Pac, but now that his history "already done that," he just wants to be remembered as a "humble spirit, a good spirit, good soul like a Willie Nelson." He wants people to say, "Man, that n---a was cool and he did great music."