Lil Wayne on Family, Fame and Fans

Samara Mackereth
Katie's Take

Katie's Take

Despite his millions of fans, his success and his love for performing live, there is an expiration date for Lil Wayne’s music.

He plans to focus on his four children. In the meantime, Lil Wayne is the larger-than-life personality who has been rapping since he was 8, touring since he was 15, and who has topped Elvis Presley on the number of Billboard’s Hot 100 appearances.

“I never set a goal,” he explained. “I just let it happen and I’m always looking for the next thing to surpass.”

Born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., his success belies an impoverished childhood in New Orleans. His father left the home and “his mother was mom and dad from day one.

“I’m a man so I know explanations and excuses for why men leave,” said Lil Wayne. “If he reaches out to me, I would definitely not decline it. But I am so happy the way I am.”

Despite his tough circumstances, he was a honors student in school. But music was his passion. While friends were playing hide-and-seek, Lil Wayne’s favorite game was pretending he was a contestant on “Star Search.”

Helping him make him music dreams come true was Birdman, the rapper and record producer. Eventually Lil Wayne got his own label and now mentors other artists.

There were problems along the way. In 2010, he spent 8 months in prison for criminal weapons possession. And a series of health scares reportedly nearly took his life. Famously, he told Katie in a 2009 interview: “I’m a gangster, Miss Katie.”

But these days, he’s busy with his music, his children and he just finished a 38-city tour: “I’m there only for the fans.

“I never did any of this to be financially successful,” Lil Wayne said. “I did this because I love it.”