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“3 Peat” – Lil’ Wayne

As much damage as I think Lil’ Wayne has done to music, particularly to hip-hop, he has a ridiculous number of songs that I just can’t help but like.  I’ve had this love/hate relationship with Wayne for years.  I want so bad to dislike his music both in reality and principle, but I have been unable to control my head bobbing.  “I Feel Like Dying”, “A Millie”, “Mega Man”, “Lollipop”, and of course “3 Peat”… The list is absurdly, disgustingly, hopelessly long.

Lil’ Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter, September 27, 1982) was born when his mother, a cook, was 19 only years old. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his father permanently abandoned the family.  Although Lil Wayne and Birdman have a father-son relationship and Birdman calls Carter his son, Lil Wayne’s biological father and namesake (Dwayne Carter) is still alive. Lil Wayne has also spoken about his deceased stepfather, Rabbit, who he has said he considers his real father.  Rabbit was murdered before Wayne became a star, and he has a tattoo dedicated to him. 

In a CBS interview with Katie Couric, Wayne described why he goes by the name of “Wayne” instead of his given name, Dwayne.  Carter explained, “I dropped the D because I’m a junior and my father is living and he’s not in my life and he’s never been in my life. So I don’t want to be Dwayne, I’d rather be Wayne”. Couric asked Wayne if his father knew of this and Wayne replied with a smile, “He knows now”.  Awesome.

Wayne wrote his first rap song at age eight. In the summer of 1991, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Carter recorded freestyle raps on Williams’s answering machine, leading him to mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. He also recorded his first ever collaboration album True Story with rapper B.G.  At the time, Carter was 11, and B.G. was 14, and was billed as “The B.G.’z”.  At age 12, Wayne accidentally shot himself with a 9 mm handgun, and off-duty police officer Robert Hoobler drove him to the hospital.  Wayne almost died due to the accident.

Since dropping out of school at the ripe age of 14, however, Wayne has done nothing but succeed.  The discography of Lil Wayne consists of 10 studio albums (including one collaborative album), one remix album, 25 mixtapes, 147 singles (including five collaborative singles and one-hundred twelve as a featured artist), seventeen promotional singles and 101 music videos.  Holy. Shit.

EVERY SINGLE ALBUM he’s released has gone either gold or platinum.  Tha Carter III went 3x Platinum, and Tha Carter IV went 2x Platinum.  The man is clearly a hit making, money creating machine.  There’s reason to take his claim of being “The best rapper alive” seriously.

So.  I am left with this decision of whether to love Lil’ Wayne who is clearly beloved by everyone on earth, or to condemn him for his misogynistic, violent, and drug promoting lyrics.  Is he a genius who can create exactly what the public is looking for?  Does that make him an artist, or simply a very marketable musician?  Should I respect him based on the fact the I enjoy his music, despite the fact that, intellectually, it’s worse than bad?

I don’t know.

Lyrics here.

More about Lil’ Wayne here.