Tha Carter IV is finally here. In the three years since Lil Wayne announced the fourth part of his Carter series, the New Orleans MC released three albums, three mixtapes, won four Grammys, signed two superstars (Drake, Nicki Minaj) ,welcomed three children into the world, served 8 months in New York’s Rikers Island for gun possession and has seen C4 pushed back several times, among other things. XXL looks back on Wayne’s road to Tha Carter IV.—XXL Staff
With Tha Carter III still fresh, Wayne began recording the next installment to his Carter series, Tha Carter IV, in 2008. Tunechi would put the album on hold several times in the course of the next three years, namely to drop a rock/rap hybrid project, Rebirth, a collection of Carter IV throwaways, I’m Not a Human Being in 2010 and an 8-month prison sentence in Rikers Island for gun possession that same year.
On October 22, 2008, Weezy’s first son, Dwayne Carter III was born at the Christ Hospital in Cincinati. The identity of the woman was unknown at the time, but later confirmed as Sarah Vivan.
Weezy continued his string of no shows on October 28, 2008 when he refused to go through Banknorth Garden security before his JAM’N 94.5 performance in Boston. Wayne left, leaving co-headliner Jay-Z to fill in.
On November 14, 2008, Wayne dropped the first of several projects to hold his fans down in preparation for Tha Carter IV: The DJ Drama-Hosted Dedication 3.
On November 12, 2008, Lil Tunechi became the first hip-hop artist to appear at the Country Music Awards when he performed alongside Kid Rock for a rendition of his track, “All Summer Long.” Wayne, sporting a Tennessee Titan jersey, strummed on a guitar while Rock sang.
Wayne Tracks Dissing 50 Cent Surface (November 2008)
Though Wayne seemingly hadn’t bitten on 50 Cent’s bait, tracks of the rapper subliminally dissing Fif leaked in November 2008. Rather than strike back immediately, 50 suggested that Weezy explain the record. Wayne has yet to address the track to date.
Lil Wayne Leads All Grammy Nominees (December 2008)
On December 4, 2008, Mr. Carter nabbed eight Grammy Nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year for Tha Carter III.
Lil Wayne Announces Rebirth January 2009
After contemplating a re-release of Tha Carter III, Weezy decided to experiment with a rock album, Rebirth. Once again, Tha Carter IV was put on hold.
Lil Wayne vs. Katie Couric February 2009
Wayne made a memorable appearance on Katie Couric’s All Access Grammy Special. Wayne took Couric bowling, revisited Hurricane Katrina, addressed the absence of his father and famously quipped, “I’m a gangsta, Ms. Katie.”
Lil Wayne Wins Big At the Grammys February 2009
On February 8, 2009, Wayne took home four Grammys, including Best Rap Album for Tha Carter III, Best Rap Solo Performance for “A Milli,” Best Rap Song for “Lollipop” and Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for T.I. and Jay-Z’s “Swagga Like Us.” Wayne also took the stage with the aforementioned MCs, Kanye West and a very pregnant M.I.A. for a historic performance that night.
Lil Wayne Sues QD3 Over The Carter Documentary (April 2009)
In April 2009, news surfaced that Wayne filed a lawsuit against QD3 and his production company requesting an injunction of his Carter documentary earlier that year. Wayne reportedly filed the suit shortly following the movie’s second screening at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The rapper claimed he’d been promised final cut approval, but the court document cited that QD3 made an attempt at a “scandalous portrayal.” Word has is Wayne wanted scenes of him sipping syrup to be edited out of the film. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael S. Mink denied Wayne’s suit on April 21.
Lil Wayne Officially Signs Drake to Young Money (June 2009)
After a bidding war in which every label from Def Jam to Warner Bros. tried to acquire Drake’s services, the Toronto MC solidified his bond with Wayne by signing with the rapper’s Young Money imprint. Long known for being a rhyme animal, the coup established Wayne as a capable CEO.
Lil Wayne Kicks Off America’s Most Wanted Tour (July 2009)
Weezy tapped new signee Drake, Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy and his Young Money stable for the America’s Most Wanted tour. The 32-city (10 dates were later added) trek took Wayne and crew across America, starting with a date in Scranton, PA on July 27 and ending in Sunrise, Fla on September 6.
Lil Wayne Officially Signs Nicki Minaj to Young Money August 2009
Roughly two months after securing Drake for his team, Weezy put his CEO hat back on and inked Nicki Minaj to his Young Money Entertainment.
Lauren London Gives Birth to Wayne’s Third Child September 2009
On September 12, 2009, actress Lauren London gave birth to Wayne’s third child (and second son) Lennox Samuel Ari Carter at Los Angeles’ Cedar Sinai Hospital.
Lil Wayne Drops emNo Ceilingsem Mixtape October 2009
Weezy released his No Ceilings mixtape on October 31, 2009. The tape mainly features Birdman Jr. spazzing over popular instrumentals like Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" and F.L.Y.’s “Swag Surfin.”
Lil Wayne Pleads Guilty to Felony Gun Possession October 2009
Well over two years after being arrested with a .40 caliber handgun and marijuana in New York, Wayne plead guilty to a felony gun possession charge on October 22, 2009. He’s initially scheduled to be sentenced in February and is expected to serve up to one year in prison as part of the plea deal.
The Carter Documentary Hits Theaters (November 2009)
Despite Wayne’s attempt to stop the movie, QD3’s The Carter documentary was released on November 17, 2009. The doc topped iTunes’ movie chart in its first week of release.
Nivea Gives Birth to Lil Wayne’s Fourth Child November 2009
On November 30, 2009, R&B singer gave birth to Wayne’s third son, Neal Carter. Young Money president Mack Maine announced the birth on Twitter. "Thank god!!! Baby Neal was born healthy to Nivea Nash and Dwayne Carter!!!!” he tweeted. “Thanx 4 all the blessings n support!!!! Love ya heard me!!!"
Young Money’s emWe Are Young Moneyem Compilation Hits stores December 2009
High off the recent signings of Drake and Nicki Minaj, Wayne’s Young Money crew released We Are Young Money on December 21, 2009. The disc featured the Lloyd-assisted “Bedrock,” which peaked at No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album went on to sell over 500,000 copies to date.
Lil Wayne Detained in Texas After Cops Find Marijuana on Tour Bus December 2009
U.S. Border Patrol Agents, with the help of drug-sniffing dogs, found marijuana on two of Lil Wayne’s tour buses. Weezy is amongst a dozen detained, before being released. The bus was en route to Laredo, Texas following a concert stop.
Lil Wayne Releases Rebirth February 2010
With a rock-infused sound, Weezy’s seventh solo studio album Rebirth moves 176,000 units its first week and lands at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. The album features the likes of Kevin Rudolf, Nicki Minaj and Eminem.
Lil Wayne Sentencing Postponed for Dental Reasons February 2010
On February 9, 2010, Wayne’s sentencing on gun possession got pushed back from February 9 to March 2 after defense lawyer Stacey Richman’s reprieve that her client needed to get a string of dental surgeries completed as approved by Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon.
Lil Wayne Sentencing Postponed Again Due to Courthouse Fire (March 2010)
On March 2, 2010, Wayne’s sentencing is once again postponed, this time due to a fire in a Lower Manhattan courtroom. The incident allows Weezy to make a impromptu appearance at Jay-Z’s Madison Square Garden show in New York City. Wayne did call himself the Fireman at one point.
Lil Wayne Begins Serving 8-Month Prison Sentence in Rikers Island (2010)
After two postponements, Lil Wayne finally begins serving his prison sentence in Rikers Island on March 8, 2010. Though he was initially expected to serve one year as part of his plea deal, the rapper's prison term was cut down to eight months.
Lil Wayne Is Ordered Not to Sign Autographs in Prison (March 2010)
On March 12, 2010, news surfaced that Wayne got banned from signing autographs in order to send the message that he’s not a celebrity while in prison.
Bench Warrant Issued for Lil Wayne's Arrest in Arizona (March 2010)
On March 16, 2010, a bench warrant was issued for Lil Wayne's arrest after he failed to appear before a Superior Court Judge in Yuma, Arizona because he had already begun serving his sentence in Rikers Island. The warrant stems from a January 2008 stop at a border checkpoint nearly 80 miles of Yuma. Authorities charged Wayne after they found Ecstasy, cocaine and a gun on his bus. Weezy pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Lil Wayne's Prison Job is Revealed (April 2010)
In an article published on April 7, 2010, Weezy’s ex Toya spills the beans of Wayne’s job inside the confines of Rikers Island, telling US Magazine, “They got him on suicide watch for other prisoners. He watches the crazy prisoners and makes sure they don't kill themselves." Toya then accuses US of misquoting her, but Wayne later confirmed to Rolling Stone Magazine that he was indeed on suicide watch at Rikers.
Former Rikers Island Employee Sues, Claims She Was Forced to Admit Spying on Lil Wayne (April 2010)
On April 29, 2010, former Rikers Island guard Amelia Negron made headlines when Rikers’ officials said she snuck a peek at Lil Wayne. Not only did Negron deny the reports to New York Daily News, she also claims that union higher-ups forced her to falsely admit to spying on the rapper. She consequently announced plans to file a federal lawsuit against the city.
Jim Jonsin Sues Lil Wayne Over Lollipop April 2010
On April 20, 2010, producer Jim Jonsin filed a suit against Lil Wayne for $500,000, claiming he’s never received a royalty check for Weezy’s smash “Lollipop.”
Bangladesh Sues Lil Wayne Over A Milli May 2010
In an article published by Vibe on May 4, 2010, producer Bangladesh revealed that he was following Jim Jonsin’s lead, suing Wayne for $500,000 in unpaid royalties for the single “A Milli.”
Lil Wayne Caught With Music Contraband in Rikers Island May 2010
On May 12, 2010, it was reported that the New Orleans rapper was caught with contraband in jail after officials found him concealing headphones and an MP3 player inside of a potato-chip bag. Prisoners are allowed to purchase a basic AM/FM radio, but not an MP3 player.
Lil Wayne Officially Signs Cory Gunz to Young Money May 2010
Wayne, still behind bars, acquires the services of Cory Gunz for his Young Money imprint. Gunz, known for his quick-tongued delivery and complex rapid wordplay, is the son of former New York City rap veteran Peter Gunz.
Young Money's Flagship Artist Drake Drops Debut Thank Me Later June 2010
Drizzy Drake finally releases his highly anticipated debut LP, Thank Me Later on June 15, 2010. The album sells 447,000 copies its first week to grab the No. 1 position on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Thank Me Later features production from the likes of Swizz Beatz, Kanye West and Drake’s go-to man behind the boards Noah “40” Shebib. Guest appearances include Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and T.I.
Lil Wayne Sentenced to Three Years Probation June 2010
On June 30, 2010, Weezy, still imprisoned in Rikers, appeared before a judge via a video monitor and pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a dangerous drug, according to Reuters. Weezy is slapped with three years probation stemming from the 2008 Yuma, Arizona arrest.
Lil Wayne Is Hit $1.13 Million Tax Lien from IRS (July 2010)
On July 16, 2010, news reports said the Internal Revenue Service filed a $1.13 million tax lien against the rapper in Dade County Circuit Court for income taxes owed from 2004, 2005, and 2007, according to the Detroit News.
Former Manager Sues Lil Wayne August 2010
Former Lil Wayne manager Melissa Philipian claims that Wayne didn’t pay for her services, even after booking him for 20 shows, and sues him for $500,000 plus 15 percent of his earnings in 2005. The case is settled out of court for roughly $375,000.
Lil Wayne Releases I'm Not a Human Being from Behind Bars (September 2010)
While still serving his sentence for gun possession in New York’s Rikers Island, Lil Wayne released a collection of Carter IV throwaways, I’m Not a Human Being. Released on his birthday, September 27, the 12-song set, which featured most of the YMCMB family, debut at No.2 on the Billboard 200 charts—selling 925,000 copies to date.
Rikers Island Under Investigation for Giving Lil Wayne Preferential Treatment September 2010
Rikers Island Correction Department began an investigation after the New York Post reported that Jail Capt. Latanya Brown was being accused of giving Lil Wayne preferential treatment in jail on September 6, 2010. Brown was questioned by investigators for spending additional time with Weezy and allowing him to stay in his cell while other inmates were locked out of their bunks and ordered into the recreation yard.
Lil Wayne Put in Solitary Confinement September 2010
On October 4, 2010, reports spread that Lil Wayne was put in solitary confinement in Rikers Island after being found with headphones and an MP3 player charger back in May. It was also reported that another prisoner had been hiding a second MP3 player for Wayne, as well. Thus, he was sent to the hole, where he spent up to 23 hours a day in the isolated cell for breaching prison rules.
Lil Wayne Released from Rikers Island (November 2010)
On November 4, 2010 Lil Wayne was released from Rikers Island after serving eight months of a year-long sentence for gun possession. The rapper celebrated his release with a party the following weekend at a Miami strip club.
On November 5, 2010, a day after his release from Rikers Island, the terms of Lil Wayne's probation were revealed. The documents obtained by TMZ stipulate that Wayne is not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol for the next three years. He also must submit to drug tests as requested by the probation department. Should he violate the terms of his probation, Wayne will be sent back to prison to serve the rest of his sentence.
Nicki Minaj Drops Her Debut Pink Friday November 2010
Following the success of Drake’s Thank Me Later, Nicki Minaj drops her highly anticipated debut, Pink Friday on November 22, the same day as Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Though she falls No.2 to Yeezy in the first week, Nicki goes on to outsell Mr. West behind the success of singles like the Drake-assisted "Moment 4 Life" and "Superbass." Pink Friday has sold 1.5 million copies to date.
Lil Wayne Surprises Drake and His Fans November 2010
On November 6, 2010, a newly-released Lil Wayne surprised fans when he made an appearance at Drake’s concert stop in Las Vegas. Not only were fans in shock, Drake later admitted to MTV that he was equally stunned when he saw his Young Money label head on stage with him. Weezy spoke to the crowd while on stage, saying, “I’m fresh home from my vacation and ain’t nothing, nothing, nothing like home!”
Lil Wayne Makes His First Post-Prison Musical Appearance on Birdman's Fire Flame November 2010
After his release from prison, Wayne left his fans hanging for nearly two weeks before making his first post-prison appearance with a new verse on Birdman’s banger, “Fire Flame (Remix)” “Fire Flame” also marked Wayne’s first post-prison video appearance.
Lil Wayne Ordered to Take DNA Test (November 2010)
Barely out of jail, news surfaced that Lil Wayne was ordered to take a DNA test to determine whether he was the father of a Missouri woman’s 8-year-old son. Wayne was initially scheduled to get tested in September 2010, but couldn’t because he was incarcerated at the time.
Lil Wayne Releases First Post-Prison Single December 2010
Hot 97 DJ Funk Master Flex premiered Lil Wayne’s first post-prison song, titled “6 Foot 7 Foot,” and first single off his upcoming Tha Carter IV album. The song features Young Money signee Cory Gunz and is produced by Bangladesh, who had previously sued Wayne over royalties for the track “A Milli.”
Jay-Z Jabs At Lil Wayne on H.A.M. January 2011
Jay-Z and Kanye West dropped their viral single “H.A.M.” and left fans wondering if Jay was taking shots at Lil Wayne and Birdman on the track. On the verse Jay spits, “Niggas fantasize about the shit that I do daily/Like these rappers rap about all the shit that I do daily/I’m like really, half a billi, nigga really you got Baby money/Keep it real with niggas, niggas ain’t got my lady money.” The line came after Birdman compared Hov and Weezy during an October 2009 interview, saying Wayne is a better rapper and has more money than Jay.
Lil Wayne Calls Out LeBron James and Dwayne Wade (January 2011)
Lil Wayne appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine’s January 2011 issue and when asked about LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, Weezy said: “Them niggas never speak to a nigga. They don’t chuck me the deuce or nothing. Nigga spent all that money on them fucking tickets. Come holla at me. We sit right by them little bitch-ass niggas. At least come ask me why I’m not rooting for you.”
Tha Carter IV Delays (2011)
Like its predecessor, Tha Carter III, Tha Carter IV has seen its share of delays over the years. Initially slated to hit stores before Wayne’s 2010 bid, the LP was postponed until the rapper’s release. The LP was then pushed back to 2011 where it’s May 16 and June 21 release dates were pushed back for August 29.
Play N Skillz Sue Lil Wayne for Got Money June 2011
Dallas producers Play-N-Skillz filed a lawsuit against Lil Wayne, claiming Weezy owes them at least $1 million dollars in unpaid royalties for “Got Money,” the third single from Tha Carter III album. Just a few days before, beatmaker David Kirkwood also filed a suit against Young Money and Cash Money, claiming the labels failed to pay him over $1.5 million in royalties for his work on the same album.
Lil Wayne Parties With Dallas Mavericks to Celebrate Their NBA Championship (June 2011)
Just months after making comments about LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, Lil Wayne was seen celebrating with the Dallas Mavericks at Miami’s Liv nightclub after the team’s NBA 2011 Championship win. Wayne, who also gave an impromptu performance, was photographed with Dirk Nowitzki as well as Trey Songz and a few others. Mark Cuban and the rest of the team were also in attendance, as well as Birdman and members of Young Money including Mack Maine and Jae Millz.
Lil Wayne Graces Cover of XXL’s July/August 2011 Issue (July 2011)
With Tha Carter IV's release approaching, Lil Wayne graced the cover of XXL’s July 2011 issue, in which he talked about everything from his recording process, Drake and Nicki Minaj’s success, and why he’ll never record with pop sensation Justin Bieber. The Young Money leader also revealed that he plans to retire soon and hints at Tha Carter IV possibly being his last offering.
Lil Wayne Drops Sorry 4 the Wait July 2011
A month prior to the release of Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne dropped the mixtape Sorry 4 The Wait, which he dedicated to the fans, apologizing for the wait. The tape features tracks like “Tunechi’s Back” and “Marvin’s Room,” among others.
Lil Wayne Hit With Lawsuit for Allegedly Stealing "Bedrock" (August 2010)
Done Deal Enterprises, a production company based in Georgia, sued Lil Wayne, Young Money, Cash Money and Universal Music Group for $15 million. The lawsuit accused Weezy of stealing the song “Bedrock,” from the album We Are Young Money, and the rapper was ordered to appear in court on Oct. 12. “Bedrock” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Birdman Confirms a Lil Wayne and Drake Joint Album in the Works (August 2011)
Just days after Jay-Z and Kanye West released their collaborative effort, Watch the Throne, Birdman told XXL exclusively that Lil Wayne and Drake have plans to release a joint album as well. “Wayne and I recently talked about [the Weezy/Drake collabo album]. That’s definitely going to get done,” the Cash Money label head said. “It’s older versus younger. I listened to a few songs [off Watch the Throne] and it feels like an older feel to me. I think with Drake and Wayne, they young… Then you got Jay-Z and them, who are older and really on their way out the game… So it’s two different types of music all the way across the board.”
Tha Carter IV Leaks, Lil Wayne Takes Shots At Jay-Z (August 2011)
Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV leaked on the internet a couple of days before its August 29th release date. And, immediately track No. 14, a song titled “It’s Good,” featuring Jadakiss and Drake, gave something to talk about. The reason for it? It seems Weezy finally fired back at Jay-Z for his diss on “H.A.M.,” on which he raps, “I’m like really, half a bill, nigga really you got baby money/keep it real with niggas, niggas ain’t got my lady money.” On “It’s Good,” Wayne retaliates by rhyming, “ Talkin’ bout Baby money, I got ya Baby money/kidnap yo bitch, get that how much you love yo lady money/I know you fake nigga, press yo breaks nigga/I’ll take you out, that’s a date nigga.”
Lil Wayne's Highly Anticipated Album Tha Carter IV Hits Stores (August 2011)
Roughly three years after being announced, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV finally hits stores today. With a healthy buzz and two singles ("She Will" at No.3 and "How to Love" at No.5) currently n the top 10, Weezy's poised to add a platinum plaque to his resume.