As we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Complex in 2012, we’ve begun revisiting some of our favorite stories. Exactly five years ago, Lil Wayne and Travis Barker appeared together on the magazine’s cover. Wayne’s statement that he was “better than Jay-Z” appeared as a cover line, causing a flurry of discussion in certain circles when that issue hit stands.
The full transcript of Toshitaka Kondo’s interview with Lil Wayne has never been published before now. Though it is five years old, the conversation sheds new light on the complex relationship between hip-hop’s two Mr. Carters—and the never-ending quest for respect that is hip-hop. With Lil Wayne’s “It’s Good” being named his No. 1 verse of 2011, this interview seems more relevant than ever.
At the time Wayne was in the prime of his mixtape era. Tha Carter III was still more than a year away. Meanwhile Jay-Z had just ended his retirement and returned to the rap game with the first singles from Kingdom Come. Wayne obviously viewed Jay with a great deal of respect, but that didn’t stop the young Cash Money millionaire from asserting his own claim to rap’s No. 1 spot. Because really, what else is there?
Weezy had been up in the studio all night working on his Juelz Santana collaboration Can’t Feel My Face, which may explain why our interview, which was scheduled for 11 a.m., didn’t get started until almost 2 p.m. But the wait was well worth it.
Wayne was rested, focused, and spoke with passion about everything from his childhood in New Orleans to the finer points of firing an AK. He let us know how he was raising his daughter Reginae and why he calls Birdman his “Daddy.” Wayne also shared his thoughts (at the time) about Jay-Z, Kanye West, Pharrell and The Clipse—as well as his surprising picks for the (other) best MCs in the game circa 2006.
Interviewed by Toshitaka Kondo (@ToshitakaKondo); Photography by Matt Doyle
Complex: So what’s going on with you, man?
Lil’ Wayne: Money, man.
I heard you were in the studio real late. You were in there until like, 7?
So what have you been recording for us so far?
Everything man. I ain’t never record for no one single thing; I just be recording.
Okay, so how’s Tha Carter III coming along so far?
I ain’t working on that right now. I’m working on, like, Can’t Feel My Face.
Well what’s…have you guys decided yet whether that’s coming out as…?
That’s an album.
That’s definitely coming out as an album?
Have you figured out what situation you’re going to go under?
Nah, I don’t know yet.
Everything you hear I gets paid for. You hear me on everything, I get paid for everything. I made $10 million without putting an album out.
Regarding Tha Carter III, I’ve been reading in King about how with Tha Carter you had been doing kind of like the four-bar punches, but when we talked for MTV you said with Tha Carter II you’d recorded all one-takes and stuff. What’s been your recording process for Tha Carter III in terms of your approach?
I’m just a monster, man. I just go in there, and whatever comes or wherever I stop…If I want to add something else to it, I do it. I’m just a monster. It’s really like, you can’t put no comment…You know what I mean? I’m just a monster. I just go in there and do what I do. Nobody can’t do what I do anyways, so there’s really no strategy to what I do. Cause if there was a strategy that means you could go in there and do it too.
Oh, so you’re saying it’s not really a strategy cause if there was you could mimic it?
But you can’t really be mimicked.
I feel you. A lot of people have been following you since you were first on Juvenile’s album, even way back with Cash Money, a lot of people didn’t know you’d become what you’ve become now—regarded as one of the top rappers in the game. At what point in your career did it dawn on you that you were like ‘Oh shit, I’m up there. Like, I’m one of those dudes?’
I would say the only point in my career where that dawned on me is now. I mean, I always felt I should have been there, and I still feel people don’t put me there. But now I know that lyrically I’m there. And I know that people don’t want to put me there. So now I know that I can say fuck whoever is there cause I’m sposta be there, and they can’t fuck with me. So, I know I could say that now. I got that… I came to that point now.
Like, just now?
Not just now. Like, you know, recently.
What was it?
It was just making $10 million off of rapping and I ain’t put out one album. Just doing shit like that. Being on everybody’s singles, still on everybody’s single…
When you say you made 10 million dollars, how do you do that without an album?
Be on everybody’s single. I get paid for everything I do.
So everything you hear I gets paid for. You hear me on everything, I get paid for everything. I made $10 million without putting an album out.
That’s a lot of money. Like what is that encompassing? The “Soldier” song? What were some of the things…?
Nah, it started all the way from—that was one of the big moves though, that was one of the big moves.
But you know man, I’ve done over… Dog, just to name a few, I’ve done Destiny’s Child, I’ve done Nelly Furtado, I’ve done Justin Timberlake, I’ve done Chris Brown—I done Chris Brown again last night. I’ve done Mya, Kelly Rowland. These are new people that’s coming out. These are new singles…
Yeah, I was about to say…
Mya, Kelly Rowland. All of this is stuff y’all ain’t heard.
What’d you do with Justin Timberlake?
Something for Timbaland. I did like 24 bars on there…
So it’s not gonna be on Justin’s album obviously because that’s just dropped.
I don’t know. It’s for Tim.
Oh I see what you’re saying. So now that you’re one of the top rappers in the game, how much does it cost to get a Wayne cameo?
The reason why you hear me on everything is because I don’t hit people in the head with no price, I just like my points. If your album sell, I cake up. I know that song gon' sell if anything, so I cake up.
Oh nah, if you’re cool we’ll work it out. Like most of the time the best thing to do instead of trying to be like…The reason why you hear me on everything is because I don’t hit people in the head with no price, I just like my points. If your album sell, I cake up. I know that song gon' sell if anything, so I cake up.
So what kind of points are you asking for?
I make my lawyers do that. It depends on what we think the song gonna do and how much I’ve done on the song. Like we might have a song, like that song you just asked me about I done 24 bars. So that’s two verses. You know we gotta hit niggas in the head on the points for two whole verses. Some niggas can get a 16, some niggas can get a 8, some niggas can get a 16, a hook, another 8. You know what I mean? And like I said, it depends on the character—I mean the size of who we’re dealing with. If we know the song ain’t gonna be no serious song, we ain’t trying to get no serious points.
We might come harder at the price. We might hit you in the head for the goin’ price. Cause we might know that okay, even if this song is hot, your company ain’t about to shop it like it’s supposed to be shopped.
So when we do a song like Destiny’s Child’s “Soldier” and shit like that, I’ll be like I won’t charge y’all, let me get my points though.
Oh, so for Destiny’s Child’s “Soldier” you weren’t even charging. You were just trying to get your points.
Okay, I see what you’re saying. How’s the whole school thing going so far? Are you still in school?
Yeah, I made the honor roll this year.
You made honor roll?
Okay, how many classes are you taking?
Okay, since you’re in your executive role now, have you been reading any books for that? Like maybe a Jack Welch book, or any executive books…?
Nah, I’m not into all that because the only way you’re going to be who you are is by being you. You know what I mean? You read books and you start getting caught up in something you read about and try to do that shit. Or you probably, not even knowing, you trying to do it, and thinking it’s right cause you’ve read it. You fuck around and forgot where you even saw it, but you know this… Like I said, I ain’t even get into any reading. I’d rather let a motherfucker write a book on me when I’m said and done, ya dig?
So you don’t read a lot of books then?
Well for school you’ve got to read a lot of books right?
Of course, man, and that’s enough! You know what I mean?
That shit is torture. So I really don’t even…I’m still a student so you probably gotta ask me this question when I’m out of school. Right now books are like, you know, ugh.
I feel you.
Yeah. And then, you know, I take psychology, so some of my assignments and exams and all that shit be based on regular shit. There don’t be no books like from the library and shit like that. They’ll be some shit like, ‘Go get the newspaper and read this article and tell me what you think’ and shit like that.
If you were gonna use this line in a song, ‘Argue all day about who’s the best MCs—Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas’—what would you say? What would you say if you were going to use that line in one of your songs?
What would I say?
You know the Jay line where he says “Argue all day about who’s the best MC, Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas’ on that “Where I’m From”? If you were going to use that in a song, how would you use it? Like, who would you put in those places? I guess you would say ‘Argue all day about who’s the best MCs,’ and then who would you say?
As in meaning who’s the best MCs now?
Yeah, like if that was your song and in 2006 you’re using that line in your song, who would you put in there?
I don’t like what Jay-Z's talking about and I’m gonna tell you why. Because he’s saying it like he had to come back, like hip-hop’s dead and all this…Like, I’m a hip-hop artist, B. What you mean it’s dead? So that means I’m not rapping the whole time?
I’d say something like, ‘Who’s the best MCs? Weezy, Juelz or Game?’
Okay, okay. Those are your picks for right now?
Uh huh… And my sleeper pick is Jim Jones.
That’s my future pick, my wildcard pick.
Yeah? Why’d you say Jim Jones?
Because niggas ain’t expecting him to come and here he come. And niggas thought like… “Ain’t nobody writing that shit but Jim.” Talkin’ bout “He ain’t doing nothin’ better…”
Okay, since I know you’re big on the sports metaphors—from a fan perspective, how do you feel about Jay’s return so far? How many songs have you heard of his?
I heard a couple, and I’ma tell you if I like what he talking about. But I don’t like what he’s talking about and I’m gonna tell you why. Because he’s saying it like he had to come back, like hip-hop’s dead and all this…Like, I’m a hip-hop artist, B. What you mean it’s dead? So that means I’m not rapping the whole time?
I’ve been in it 13 years daddy. How can it be dead? You know what I mean? If anything it’s reborn. Nawmean? So he’s probably having a problem with that. Like his whole aspect of coming back was ‘Because it was dead and y’all needed me.’ Like, “Nah, nigga.” I want him to know that.
You left on a good note. You left. This was your house. All the people in the house, all the artists were saying ‘Yo, this is Jay’s house. He’s bowing out gracefully. We all say he’s the best.’ All the players say ‘You the coach. You’re the best.’ We love it. You bowed out.
You come back and think this still your house? Nah nigga, we fucked bitches in your bed already.
Nawmean? Aaah. It’s not your house, daddy. And I just want him to know that. That’s from a competitive level. You know what I mean? That’s not no beefing or no hating shit or nothing like that. It’s just I am a rapper. And he always capitalize on rappers being very confident about themselves. Like when everybody ask him, “How do you feel about this person saying this about you?” if it’s anything about rap he’ll be like “They’re supposed to say that.”
You're talking about me when you say rap is dead. I mean, I’ve been out here rapping all my fucking life! What the fuck do you mean? And I'm better than you, daddy...
So I’m supposed to feel that you’re talking about me when you say rap is dead. I mean, I’ve been out here rapping all my fucking life! What the fuck do you mean?
I feel you.
And I’m better than you, daddy.
So you feel you’re better than Jay right now?
Who don’t? [Yells to a third Party] Ay-yo, am I better than Jay?
Third Party: Yeah!
Third Party: Why would you ask that shit?
Am I better? He ain’t gotta do that. You can look out that window and ask that question. He ain’t have to do that—you can stick your head out that window and answer that question.
So what would you say right now from what you’ve heard, is it Jordan with the 23 or Jordan on The Wizards?
I ain’t got nothin’ to do with all that. I ain’t got nothing to do with who he is. I’m better than him, though.
That’s how you feel right now?
No, that’s what I know.
I’m 24 years old, B. The dude’s like… I’m 24!
Yeah, I feel you.
That’s scary. I’m 13 years deep at 24. Five albums in. Ten million records sold solo.
Right. Speaking about the age thing, there was a recent police report where it looked like…
Yeah, rest in peace, my nigga Duckie got me the fake license when I was 19, because in New Orleans if you’re 21 you can ride around with your pistol. So at 19 he got me an ID that said I was born in ’79. At that time it made me 21.
Oh, so it was like…
Yeah. Niggas think I’m 27 and shit. I already know that, but c’mon man. I don’t even look 27.
So when they booked you it was just like…
That was about to be another charge!
Oh, off of the ID?
Yeah motherfuckers ain't in the game. I still don’t have my ID. He’s still holding my shit trying to figure out a way to charge me on that shit.
The fake ID or the real ID?
That was a real ID with a fake date on it.
Oh, I see what you’re saying. Like you went to Motor Vehicles and got a fake date on it.
So now you have to try to prove that it’s whatever.
Yeah, so now when that comes out motherfuckers is gonna be like, “That nigga is 24, he ’bout to go to jail for this shit.”
You can buy Ks in New Orleans for $100. $40... I've got a permit to carry, baby.
I saw the recent XXL shoot, where you and Baby are posing with shotguns and stuff like that in the story. Are you personally into shooting guns? Do you have a big gun collection?
Nah, I’ve got guns but I ain’t go shooting or nothing like that. It’s for one reason and one reason only: for killing. You know what I mean? Protection.
What are some of the guns in your collection?
I’ve got Glocks and Ks. That’s all we fuck with at home.
So you keep them in the crib?
You can buy Ks in New Orleans for $100. $40.
$40 dollars for an AK?
It’s New Orleans, you know what I mean?
It’s a third-world country, B. You’ve got 14-year-olds running around with AKs. I had my first gun when I was 11 my nigga. Ya dig?
So you’ve been having a gun since you were 11?
Yeah. I had a .32 Derringer, three shots. Bought the bullets for 25 cents each.
That’s crazy. So where do you keep all of these guns? Where do you keep your guns at then?
I’ve got a permit. Keep em with me. [Laughs.] I’ve got a permit to carry baby.
I guess one thing that you’ve become known for is being a style trendsetter. You were rocking the BAPE on the cover of VIBE. Now it seems like all the rappers are starting to rock BAPE, so where are you trying to take it next fashionwise?
I don’t really do my thing. Because you getting interview and stuff saying this about a brand, and this is the new style, and then people are gonna read it and be like, this nigga thinks he’s a trendsetter. No. You do what you do, and you let them motherfuckers do it….I didn’t get in there and say nothing about BAPE in that interview, but that’s what y’all got from it.
That’s how I do it.
I’m sure you’ve heard The Clipse are coming back right now. And one of the things they’ve been saying is like ‘Yo, all these dudes, now they do the BAPE and coke rap… But before, that was us. We were the ones who started that.’ How do you feel about that?
I’ve been rich since I was 14 years old—off of selling records. I ain’t got no bricks or I’m cooking up—for what? Why is you rapping then? If you cooking up coke what the fuck are you rapping for? Or why if you rapping, what the fuck are you cooking up coke for?
I don’t rap about no coke. He ain’t talking about me. I don’t rap about no coke. I’ve been rich since I was 14 years old—off of selling records. I do not rap about no damn coke. If I say anything about coke, I speak the truth about it. I don’t go talking about I got none.
I ain’t got no bricks or I’m cooking up—for what? Why is you rapping then? If you cooking up coke what the fuck are you rapping for? Or why if you rapping, what the fuck are you cooking up coke for? Make some sense out of this shit.
I guess because…
Stop talking bout ‘I guess.’ Stop tryin’ to make sense out of shit that don’t make sense, dog. Stop trying to make sense out of shit that don’t make sense. Why are you…Does that make you real for talking about coke, my nigga?
Nah, I’m not saying it makes you real…
No. I talk about the money I’ve made since I was 14 years old. I put out a fucking platinum album and reaped every dollar from it. Holla fucking back. A platinum album makes couple $15 million. Holla at ya boy. They gotta give me some of that 15 million, ya dig?
I feel you.
I was 14 when it happened, my nigga.
Ya dig? I did it four times again after that, just on the charts. I ain’t gotta talk about no coke nor no fucking BAPEs. I got my own shoe out nigga, that OG collection Reebok nigga. I got my own jeans out nigga, W. Two Us, I’ve got my name—the W is gonna be on your bitch ass. Aight?
Alright. Stop coming at me about that bullshit man. That’s how you get beef started man.
I don’t see no fuckin’ Clipse. Come on man. Weezy, man. They had to do a song with us to get hot, B. “What Happened To That Boy?” C’mon B. Don’t do that, dog. This is a fucking legend you’re talking to right here.
Well you know XXL has the….
I don’t see niggas like that. You talking to the best. Talk to me like you’re talking to the best. I don’t see no fuckin’ Clipse. Come on man. Weezy, man. They had to do a song with us to get hot, B. “What Happened To That Boy?” C’mon B. Don’t do that, dog. This is a fucking legend you’re talking to right here. 14 years, B. How many years them niggas been around?
Who the fuck is Pharrell? Do you really respect him? That nigga wore BAPEs and y’all thought he was weird. I wore it and y’all thought it was hot. C’mon man. C’mon now. The nigga walked around with niggas that looked like you, y’all thought he was crazy. If I did it, y’all gonna think these niggas are killers.
C’mon man. Keep shit real man.
I feel you. But you know XXL has you as part of the feature on cocaine rap? They have you as part of that.
I keep it real when I rap about cocaine. You can put me in because I keep it real. I’m gonna tell you what it’s about, what I know. I wouldn’t tell you nothing that’s fake. That’s probably why they’ve got me in there. I ain’t about to be in that bitch talkin’ about “I’m in the kitchen.” For what? For what?
On one of your songs, “Don’t Die,” you talk about being banned from Wet Willies. What’s the story behind that? Are you really banned from Wet Willies?
Yeah, those stupid motherfuckers banned me.
[Laughs.] Why’d they ban you from Wet Willies?
That’s the new thing, ban Lil’ Wayne but that’s just…
They really banned you from Wet Willies?
Because they were quick to do something to do…you know what I mean? That’s why they did it, just something to make a thing about.
There’s no reason? They just banned you?
Oh yeag, they had a little reason. Yeah, I was tripping but…
[Laughs.] You said you were tripping?
Who the fuck is Pharrell? Do you really respect him? That nigga wore BAPEs and y’all thought he was weird. I wore it and y’all thought it was hot. C’mon man. C’mon now. The nigga walked around with niggas that looked like you, y’all thought he was crazy. If I did it, y’all gonna think these niggas are killers.
I really wasn’t. I was smoking a cigar—not weed, a cigar. And they was like, you know, “No smoking in here.” But I was smoking on the balcony, my nigga—outside. I’m like, “Believe that.” One thing he’s talking about, “Don’t come in here smoking.” I’m like, okay. So when they come back or whatever, he’s like ‘I said no smoking in here.’ I was like, ‘And what?’ And I’m like ‘Who are you?’ And he was like, ‘I own this place.’ So I dropped the cigar in his drink. I had to get out of there after that.
[Laughs.] So they banned you for putting a cigar in his drink?
He did end up happening to own the place. That was really the owner.
I shitted on the owner.
I was reading a Rides piece where you were like, “Yo, I don’t like dudes knowing what kind of cars I drive because I be fucking a lot of dudes bitches in the car.”
That was a joke. Man, I’ve got a girl. I can’t…
Oh no, I’m talking about obviously before your girl.
I’ve just got to keep it…I’m a real dude. I really drive those cars. Why in the hell would I wanna ride around the city with a car that I’m on a video with? They’d be like, "Yo, that’s that nigga’s car right there! Follow that nigga!"
That shit ain’t a game man. I keep it real. That’s why I don’t put my cars out there. None of that. “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” the black Lamborghini Gallardos, those was ours. That was like his gift to me on that set that day, like, “Voila—this is yours.” I ain’t drove that shit since. Real talk.
But you’ve never gotten caught up with a dude finding you in your car—like, that wasn’t from experience or nothing?
Nah, you know, it was just a joke.
Alright, I feel you. One thing that I’ve noticed with all the new material you’ve been putting out, your work ethic is crazy. You know, you’ve got the Dedication mixtapes, the Juelz project, Tha Carter III. Who influenced you to have that crazy work ethic?
Baby and Slim—they made us rap from day one. Ya dig? It was like, “Rap little niggas! Rap, rap, rap, rap, rap.” You know I mean? And then you got to watch niggas actually come in and do what they’re telling you to do, and become successful. So I had no other choice but to do that. And it stuck with me, so…
Young Buck is one of your dudes.
But in an interview with Kay Slay, they’d asked him about the kissing stuff and all that…
The kissing stuff obviously and all that…
If you’ve got a problem when you see me, let’s get it popping. I’m from the city of death. I’m made of problems. I am a big problem. Let’s get it poppin’ dog. Look at me! I look like I’m fooling?
He said, “Yo, Wayne’s my dude but that’s some gay-ass shit.” Whatever whatever. Since that’s your dude, why do you think he would say that?
I don’t know. I don’t give a fuck about what he thinks or what he said. I don’t give a fuck about what nobody says. I’m rich, B! Like, that’s a blessing. When you’ve worked hard to get it, that’s a blessing man. I don’t worry about what nobody thinks about me dog.
My mother love the fuck out of me. My daughter loves the shit out of me. My girl loves the fuck out of me, you know what I mean? I don’t care what no nigga, no bitch, nobody think about me, dog. I’m great at what I do. I’m great at who I am. And that’s me.
You think he could have just been saying it out of jealousy?
I don’t care what he’s doing, B. You know what I mean? I’m something to talk about. Just think, man—he probably should have been up there promoting the album or something, huh? He’s Young Buck. He’s got a whole lot of Young Buck stuff to talk about, right?
And here they talking about me. You know I mean? I made the subject. I made the conversation. I’m that type of nigga. Look at these questions you’re asking. The Clipse. I mean, they gotta talk about me. I’ve heard them say that shit before, “Wayne start wearing BAPE…” I heard them. That shit fake. I mean, I don’t get it.
I’m telling you now man—all these niggas could come at me if they want with all this sweet shit…these niggas know where I’m from man, New Orleans. These niggas see my face man. They know one thing man, if we go down there playing with that boy, somebody’s gonna get murdered. They know that. They already know.
That’s why they’re doing it on radio stations and all that. Interviews and all that. Them niggas see me and shake my hand, B. And keep telling me “You’re the best.” That’s what them niggas tell me when they see me: “You the best dog. Keep doing that shit dog.”
Who are you referring to when you say…
Who are you referring to?
I mean I’ve read about Kanye saying you’re a great rapper…
I respect people like that. I ain’t talking about…
Oh no, not in a bad way…
I respect them. I respect them. And as a matter of fact, when you asked me about who’s the best MCs, dog. When I said that line I’da put 'Ye in there if I could have.
So you feel that it’s wack because when dudes see you, they’re like “Yo what’s up? You’re the best.” But then they go on radio stations talking bullshit or whatever.
Yeah, you know what I mean. If you’ve got animosity, don’t say… If you’ve got a problem when you see me, let’s get it popping. I’m from the city of death, nigga. I’m made of problems. I am a big problem.
Let’s get it poppin’ dog. Look at me! I look like I’m fooling? I could die right now and I wouldn’t give a fuck.
You too. I wouldn’t give a fuck. Feel me?
I feel you.
I’m from New Orleans. We kill niggas for nothing. Not for fun. Not for reasons. Not niggas that we murder for fun. No. We murder for nothing. For nothing! Like, what the fuck, nigga? Boom—dead. Nah, for real.
Nah, I mean I feel you. It sounds crazy when you’re saying that.
Why you think all that shit happens to New Orleans? Why you think they say there’s no such thing as Hurricane Katrina? Why you think they say the government’s done. They tried to wipe us out that muthafucka. It’s a jungle there, B.
So you’re saying that it was just too violent down there, so…
Son, you do 60 days for a murder in New Orleans. On everything.
Why you think all that [stuff] happens to New Orleans? Why you think they say there’s no such thing as Hurricane Katrina? Why you think they say the government’s done. They tried to wipe us out... It’s a jungle there, B.
You can’t do 60 days for a murder. Like you get convicted?
You get 60 days. You ain’t gon' get convicted. Who’s coming to court? Who’s comin’ to court? Everybody murdered.
Who’s coming in the court?
Ya dig? Everybody’s murdered. You got kids age 15, 16 with 20, 30 bodies under their belt. Straight up. So you get in a position where, all right, you know you ain’t goin’ to court. If you go to court you goin’ to jail forever. If he’s 15, what he got? Friends.
If he’s 15 and bout that shit, of course he got 14-, 16- and 18-year-olds he run with him who about the same damn thing—that’s crazy. They gonna come kill your mom. They’re gonna come catch a rat. You know I mean?
You don’t want to deal with that. So fuck it, I lost my homie. The only way you can handle it is to hold court in the streets. That’s the only thing they respect. The niggas that did it, the only thing they respect is you coming back in they ’hood, shooting that bitch up. Then they’re gonna respect you—like, “Alright. It’s all good.”
I’m sure you get so tired of the questions, but why do you think people are making such a big deal out of that kiss? Like, who cares?
If a nigga was nothing, they wouldn’t be worrying about us. If we wasn’t nothing, that wouldn’t be the subject. Remember them? Fuck them niggas. But we doing too much good shit. Let’s try to find some bad shit man. They hated on Jesus, B… Because we’re doing too much good shit. “Oh—them niggas kissed in ’93. Them niggas gay!” You know what I mean?
Yeah, I think it’s like what 'Ye was talking about…
That niggas like…nah. So I gotta go in the store and actually say “I like these clothes but I can’t buy ’em because other rappers wore them.” Are you serious, B? I’ll start making clothing lines ‘You know the rappers I’m talking to, please—you can buy my clothes. Wear them please, and rep them in your raps.’ Wear my shit. Be the first, be the last—all that—to wear my shit. I don’t care.
Niggas is trying to be the first to wear something. How you gonna be the only nigga that could wear that man? Them people put those clothes out for us to buy man! C’mon, you don’t even want the people’s clothes to sell. Damn!
I feel you. You had the incident at Morgan State recently where a couple of people got hurt. What was your reaction to that?
I ain’t have no reaction, because ain’t nothing happen while we was there. All this happened afterwards. All this came up in the tabloids. We was like, “When did this happen?” We had a regular show, B. A regular show. Fly through, no stopping, no pausing. Regular show.
So like when you were there doing the show and you threw the money, you didn’t really see any females getting hurt…
There was a barricade. They built a barricade there, and I said on the mic, “Y’all should have the barricade down anyway.” It was like 10 feet away from the stage. So there wasn’t something to hold the area back but the barricades.
So when I threw the money, of course, the money ain’t get to the crowd. It went to the front area, and they went and got that. But they didn’t stop it or nothing.
They wasn’t stopping nobody. They didn’t say somebody was hurt. Ya dig? They kept coming. I did see one girl. I did see one girl they had to pull out of there. I did stop the show and I said we’re gonna take five seconds to pull her up and see if she’s alright.
If they’ve got footage of the show, you’ll see that. Like, we don’t play that. She’s alright. I even got her back into the show. You know, that’s a scary instance.
Does that incident make you hesitate to throw money at shows or whatever?
No, that’s a difference. That’s a difference. You throw money at a show in a arena, that’s part of your show. If you throw money at a club, you’re stunting on niggas.
Is that why people say it’s disrespectful? Cause I guess some people felt disrespected. It’s not like you’re throwing it in their face—you’re just throwing it in the air.
Who know’s if they was throwing in the air? If you’re in an arena, you have no choice but to throw it in the air. You can’t throw it at a million people. So everybody in the club, you know, a couple hundred people.
So you’re saying in the club you’re not throwing the money because that’s disrespectful.
That’s disrespectful, man. That’s too close, ya dig? People that come to the show come to see a show. You’re an entertainer, you’re performing. That’s a part of my show, my performance. I’m not entertaining if I’m just chilling in the VIP. I’m having fun.
Now I’m having too much fun—throwing money at these motherfuckers. I ain’t saying I’m knocking nobody that do it because I think it’s kinda cool or whatever. But I’ll have some niggas throw it at people too. And then they get really mad and wanna start some shit.
With you and T.I., in the King article T.I.’s talking about how much he respects you. And a lot of talk was when that song “I’m Talkin’ To You” came out. A lot of people thought it was either you or Ross. Did you and T.I. have a conversation about it just to clear it up or anything?
Nah, I don’t be tripping over no shit like that. I ain’t never even heard the song. I probably forgot.
You never heard “I’m Talkin’ To You?”
That song is crazy, with the Just Blaze beat.
I’ve heard about it—but you know, I don’t be worrying about shit like that. The dude’s cool. He’s got my direct number. Call me every other day and we talk about other shit.
One thing Jay was saying when he was on the radio doing his freestyles and stuff was, like, "Yo, I’m kinda happy about Cam’s not doing what he was doing because I always felt like it was a publicity stunt. So it’s good for me because it shows other people that you can’t just come out at the top dude just to get publicity." And one thing, obviously, Gillie has been out there running his mouth, and to see his thing pop up for a second, and now no one cares. Does it make you feel like, “Yeah, see? I told you you can’t just come at the top…”
I don’t have no feelings about shit that dude felt. You know what I mean? So I have no feelings towards that. That shit is zero percentage of reality to me, you dig? That’s not even a question right there. Who? What are we talking about again? But you know, that’s a serious—that is a reality statement Hov made though. I didn’t hear it, but if he made that statement, that’s real.
Yeah, because he was just like, ‘I always felt like that Cam song was a publicity stunt. That’s why I didn’t respond.’…
I don’t know nothing about all of that, I was just saying…
Oh, which statement are you talking about?
When he said “Nobody can come at the top and take your position.” I ain’t got nothing to do with what he said. Anytime it’s involving somebody else’s name, you stay yourself far away from me. That’s just what my momma taught me, period. That’s just how you’ve gotta be in New Orleans, or you get murdered. Ya dig? [Laughs.]
Are you happy Hov is back?
Who, Hov? Yeah. Yeah. I feel like he just shouldn’t have left. Because you know, when he left he put himself… It’s like he never left, but he still put himself in a mental position. “Mentally, I’m gone.” You know what I mean?
If I mentally took myself out of the zone one day—put it like this, I know they got babies writing right now that's about to come out and eat the game up. They’ve got babies writing raps for you right now.
If you mentally took yourself away from something and then come back. I mean…
You’re not in the right frame of mind?
You don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just saying: Who knows? You actually don’t know if you’re going to be back. That’s just kind of scary. I know if I mentally took myself out of the zone one day. At least—put it like this, I know they got babies writing right now. Fuck niggas that’s already spitting that’s recording right now that got bills that’s about to come out and eat the game up. They’ve got babies writing raps for you right now.
Right, just waiting to take your spot. So you can’t just step out…
Right, so I know if I take one day out and I say “I’m gone,” I cannot jump back. I can’t even see it now. You know what I mean? That’s why I was kinda like, “Hov gonna come home and find niggas in his bed.” Like, “Yo, who’s been sleeping in my bed?”
[Laughs.] You’ve got the feet on the couch and you left the soda cans on the floor and shit.
Yeah. You get the basement now, B.
That’s crazy, man. What’s the last fight you’ve been in?
Man—females always wanna fight me.
Like, an actual fistfight though?
Yeah, they always beat me up, man.
I move quick bro. You’ve gotta watch me, man. I move quick. I ain’t just gonna be single all day. I’m hot. [The ladies] like me, you know. They ain’t just gonna leave me single.
Yo, females be coming at you?
Yeah. You can’t hit ’em back. They know there’s a lot of advantage that can be taken at you. “I can hit this nigga.” I ain’t about to call the police—I’m a nigga. Ya dig? I ain’t about to hit you—I’m rich. So, just beat me up. I’m a man so I’ma take those punches. They just go pop, pop.
Oh word? So you won’t hit a girl back if she hits you in your face?
I might choke a bitch up. Ya dig? [Laughs.] By then you’re gonna make her swallow her words. Swallow them words, bitch! Taste every letter. Yeah. My bitches be beating me up over some bullshit.
Trina don’t be trippin’ though?
I ain’t with Trina no more.
You ain’t with Trina no more? For real? What happened with that?
I be chilling. I be moving. I’m young, B.
Word? That’s over now? When did that happen?
Yeah! I’m young, man. It’s been a minute, you know.
Y’all were together for like…
Nah. Yeah, we was chillin’. That’s when I was doing the Miami thing.
Okay, but you’re still down in Miami, right?
Yeah, but I just bought a crib in New Orleans, so you know I’m going to be there 80% now.
Oh, okay. So it’s more like distance that broke y’all up.
Nah, it’s just disagreements.
Yeah, you know. We grown. Mutual agreement. You go your way and I’ll go mine.
Everything’s straight though?
Yeah, like a perm.
You didn’t have to choke her out though, did you?
Oh no, no.
When you said you had a girl, I thought you were referring to her. So you got a new girl already?
Shit, I move quick bro. You’ve gotta watch me, man. I move quick. I ain’t just gonna be single all day. I’m hot. They like me, you know. They ain’t just gonna leave me single.
Let me ask you this, since you’ve been single and stuff, do you ever get your online game on? I know a lot of dudes be running through a lot of hoes through Myspace and stuff like that.
No, no, no. I’ve got a Myspace page but I don’t use it for that.
You met any hoes off of Myspace?
I might have met some, you know, but not chased them. My dudes, they be going on there, like, “What city you going to tomorrow nigga? Aight.”
But you’re personally not really on there like that.
Nah, but you know…
Because Paul Wall and his man Gu were telling me about how many hoes they used to bag off of Blackplanet. So I was just wondering, now that everyone is getting on the Myspace game…
Have you actually ever like, met a chick in person that you met on MySpace?
Were they like, ugly? Or was it cool?
Nah, I met bad bitches off of—c’mon, this is Lil’ Wayne pimpin’. Shoot, I get real models hitting me—straight up. All day sending me pictures like, real Vibe magazine spreads and shit.
Oh word? So you’ve met a couple out there?
Yeah, I met the make-up girls and stuff like that…I use it for people that actually have a real career to me. You know what I mean? Real people. Not fans and all that. That’s cool too—of course, that’s good. But other celebrities and shit. They hit me up. It’s like finding my 2-way. “Oh this is such and such. Hi, I like your shit. I just wanted to say what’s up.”
So you’ve got the “Fear God” tattoo above your eyes. And you talk about doing prayers every morning. How religious are you?
I ain’t going to church every Sunday or nothing like that. I just got to keep that relationship with the Lord, period. Everybody do. That’s just my relationship with the Lord. I pray every morning—every time I remember.
I mean, I ain’t going to church every Sunday or nothing like that. I just got to keep that relationship with the Lord, period. Everybody do. That’s just my relationship with the Lord. I pray every morning. Shit, every time I remember. Cause you know, sometimes I don’t even go to sleep. Then I remember, “Damn, I didn’t pray.” But shit, I ain’t even go to sleep…
Is there any event that’s happened in your life so far that’s shaken your belief? You know how sometimes when people say things get really bad, they almost stopped believing in God…
Nah. You know, I’m human and I represent a human being so of course I’ve came to that point. But, I believe. I have faith. I know everybody has come to that point. I don’t want them to be like, “Oh that nigga, nothing ain’t never happen to him before?” No there has, but I’m stronger than that…
What caused it? Was there a specific incident?
You know, same shit everybody else do. Little shit. Probably a conversation. Just talking to somebody and they tell you some shit like, damn. But then again, keep your faith.
You and your father, were you guys real close?
Me and my real pop? The one that’s passed?
We was close cause he was young and shit. So we was close on the homeboy level. I mean as far as a father-son level, that’s Baby—all day.
Oh, but don’t people get it confused? Like people who aren’t really in the rap thing, do they think that he’s actually your father? You don’t think it’s disrespectful at all to the man who’s like, your actual father?
My actual father—that’s not even my real father that’s passed, that’s just my mom’s second husband—that’s who I choose to name my father.
My real pop’s still living—so [forget] him. That’s another reason why I say Baby’s my father. Because every single day I know his homies or whatever are like, 'Ain’t that your real son? That’s Baby’s son. That ain’t your son.' I make him go through that every day.
Yeah, he passed and I just felt like he was my father because he used to really take care of my mom, the right way. Take care of us, you know what I mean? But as far as… My real pop’s still living—so fuck him. That’s another reason why I say Baby’s my father. Because every single day I know his homies or whatever are like, “Ain’t that your real son?”
They be saying Baby, that’s Baby’s son, nigga. That ain’t your son. I make him go through that every day.
People really do argue all day about who’s the best MC. And they’ll be like “Yo, Wayne and whoever else.” But sometimes the argument that comes up is like, “I don’t know if Wayne can be the best because he’s Baby’s son.” Like he always refers to him as his daddy. It’s like how can your boss be…
I can’t have a father? That don’t make sense. Everybody’s born. Nah, nigga. Fuck that nigga. Everybody’s born. That didn’t make sense. Everybody’s born man. And born don’t mean birthed.
Everybody was made. I don’t give a fuck, man. I was made. And that’s who made me. And he’s still living. He’s still here, in the same game I’m in.
Niggas gonna respect—and I’m that cold. I’m making niggas respect it. How many times have you said “Stuntin’ like my Daddy?” Come on, man. Come on, nigga. Keep it real. We’re number one. That song was number one. The title of that song is called “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy.” Of course I don’t think the world has a problem with that…
That album was #1 too right?
And the name of the album is Like Father, Like Son. I don’t think people have a problem with me saying “I’m the best and that’s my father.” You know, that’s cool. That’s what makes me the best. And you ain’t the best because he ain’t your father, bitch!
[Laughs.] I feel you, I feel you. In terms of the album, you’re happy with how it came out and everything, Like Father, Like Son?
Of course. But how can a nigga be knocked for that when you think about it? They’re doing reality shows on kids who are nobody’s just because their parents were somebody. I’m somebody, and my parent’s somebody. What’s wrong with that?
Like you said, they’re always looking for bullshit.
Exactly. They’re doing reality shows on people we don’t give a fuck about. [Laughs.] You know what I mean?
But we care about their fathers.
Yeah. And now we have to pay attention to their asses, who they kissed…
One thing I know, when the pictures of you and Baby first came out, someone explained to me that that’s just how people greet each other. Like in France dudes kiss too…
Let me tell you something yo…In France, if you ever caught one of those dudes, they be walking and holding hands. Right?
Dudes that are gay, or no?
No, no, not like that. You call a nigga on this, them niggas could kill you right there. You be like, “What is this? Some gay shit?” And it’s a law, they can murk you. Don’t play with them people, man! That’s just advice for people that go out there. That’s just advice. You dig?
Yeah, so with you, it’s just some shit where it’s like…
That’s just some black mob love man. We’ve been doing that. When we walked in the club in them days, we had all of us—the Hot Boyz, everybody. We was like, everybody’s doing this black mob shit. When I see you niggas, this is what we gonna do. We’re gonna be different from everybody.
That speaks to who I am. I’m the same nigga when we said we’re gonna do The Hot Boyz. We’re gonna do the Cash Money, we’re gonna do this… I’m still here. I was still doing it. And that’s why you’ve probably got a picture of me.
But every nigga’s done that. I don’t know why they don’t have pictures of them niggas. But you know, I’m that nigga. That’s why you’re gonna see pictures of me, because I stuck with everything that that man said. Ya dig?
So you’re talking about everybody’s done it? You’re talking about all of The Hot Boyz. It was just a Hot Boyz thing?
I’ve done kissed them niggas.
Like Juve, B.G…?
I’ve done kissed them niggas man.
Yes, man. That’s how we done. No homo. This is how we’ve done—straight up. No homo. Pause. And then you see the picture that I saw that they got, you see we locked up. You don’t see no—you know what I mean?
[Laughs.] Yeah, it ain’t like an embrace.
We like that in everything man, but you know….Make of it what you want to make. We’ve got the No. 1 album, man.
So it’s just like people’s ignorance? Like, not understating what that culture is?
It ain’t ignorance. It’s just like you said, people not understanding. So you know, I don’t fault nobody for not understanding. I don’t understand a lot of shit, so…If you started speaking your language I’d be looking at you like, “What the fuck is he talking about?”
[Laughs.] When Mannie Fresh first left Cash Money, it seemed really amicable, like there wasn’t any bad blood. And then in the XXL interview, both you and Baby sounded like there was bad blood now.
Ain’t no bad blood with me. If that’s the way it sounded, I don’t want that.
Well Baby was like, he started clowning…
You know, I’ve got to ride with pops though. I’ve got to ride with pops, but I do have my own opinion, and you know, I don’t have no problems with Fresh. At all.
So it wasn’t like anything that occurred between him leaving and now that made y’all feel bad. That’s just, I guess, Baby’s perspective?
You gotta ask B that. I don’t want to speak on it and get it wrong.
You talk about how Baby raised you and stuff. How did that it affect you and your daughter’s relationship? How did Baby influence the way you raise your own daughter?
I give [my daughter] everything she wants. Because of course we didn’t grow up like that—with everything we want. I didn’t. I know Baby didn’t. So that’s a big difference for her. Just give her everything she wants. Let her know the world is in her hands.
I watched him raise his kids, but I did do it a lot different. I give her everything she wants. Because of course we didn’t grow up like that—with everything we want. I didn’t. I know Baby didn’t. So that’s a big difference for her. Just give her everything she wants. Let her know the world is in her hands. You let a child know that they could have the world, and 90% of the time they’re bound to do something.
She’s 7 now, right?
Yeah, about to be 8 on the 29th of November.
Is she getting to an age where she kind of understands everything that’s going on around her?
She couldn’t understand any better. You could ask her every question you’ve asked me.
Yeah? So she knows what it is?
Yeah. If you asked her she could have done this interview for me, B. At 7. That’s my word.
Do you feel like as she grows older you’re being a little bit more careful about what you out in your music?
Yeah. That’s another reason why I said the shit earlier, where I said I’ve got a girl. That’s who I meant when I said that.
Oh, you weren’t talking about your lady. You were talking about your little girl.
Yeah. Because she’s listening, and she quotes, and she remembers. So I be having to watch what I say.
What’s her name?
Reginae. Like Regina, just Reginae.
Right, so she stays with you all the time then?
She stays with her mommy in Atlanta, but I get her all the time.
So you just copped a crib in New Orleans. How’s it looking there now? Is it looking crazy?
Eh, you know, they tore everything down and they’re rebuilding everything. Everything is new, so you can’t really say it looks bad because everything is spanking new.
It just looks like a new-ass city. You know what they tore down though, that ain’t no ancient buildings, that was people’s houses. They tear down the whole projects and all that.
Superintendents still living in there and they forced them out. Nah, it’s like them coming to wherever you’re staying, like, “Everybody’s gotta get out so we can do this.”
Does it still feel like home to you?
I don’t really know. I don’t know what it’s going to feel like when I get there.
Obviously this year has been a bad year for rap. A lot of dudes haven’t been selling records. Why do you think that is? Like, they say T.I. is the highest selling rapper, and he’s only at, like, 1.5 million. Other years, it’s always been dudes at 3 million and better….
9/11, B. 9/11 fucked us up ever since that day. It’s just that we’re just now paying attention. 9/11 been fucked that up. It made life reality again. I mean Hurricane Katrina, all that. All these tragedies is making life more real.
Niggas is getting on these raps just talking about cars and money and shit. People wanna hear that real shit right now. Like “Baby you’ve just gotta know that I’m just out here doing what I gotta do for me and you…” People want to hear that type of shit. You know what I mean?
Because the world is becoming a different place. So that’s why I think rap ain’t selling. And that’s why the people that’s selling it that’s the closest thing you’re gonna get to reality.
The world is becoming a different place. So that’s why I think rap ain’t selling. And that’s why the people that’s selling it that’s the closest thing you’re gonna get to reality.
Because that’s what people are looking for these days?
Exactly man. Tell us what’s happening. I talked to this dude that was selling me my condo, right?
Selling you your condo where?
This was in Miami. This was a while back. I come downstairs and we walked past this girl. And we had seen the house already and everything. And when we come back he finally told me that that was his daughter downstairs that we’d walked past. He didn’t tell her nearly nothing. He was like, “Dog, she just wanted to be down there to see you.” This was a Spanish dude.
He was like, “I know if you told 4,000 people to get on top of a building and jump, for some reason, 3,500 of them would jump. And I think my daughter would be included in that 3,500.” That’s what he said.
And he was like, “Y’all can sculpt the world.” And he said, “I know those motherfucking politics are gonna take your shit, and make it look like y’all ain’t do it.” So he said, “I respect y’all for not giving them what they want.” And I respect him for saying that.
We were talking about Juve and B.G. before. When’s the last time you’ve seen them? Have you seen them recently at all?
Nah, I ain’t seen them recently. But you know it’s all love, whatever whatever.
You say you like smoking weed, and I know Snoop talked about he spent between 1 and 2 Gs a day on weed. How much would you say you spend a day on weed?
I spend about $1 million a month—I mean $1 million a year.
You spend a million a year on weed?
You know the 50 box of Dutch Masters? We roll all them—but like 50 boxes of the 50 box.
You smoke that much?
Man, alright. Two Gs gets you like, it only get you like a couple of Os. You dig?
What kind of weed are you smoking where a couple of Gs can only get you a couple of Os? That’s like a G an O.
I buy quarters. You gotta get me the quarter pounds—flat out. Like niggas already know that nigga want either a pound, or half a pound, or a quarter pound every time. We smoke like that, dog
You know what? This is what we do. You know like the 50 box of Dutch Masters?
My nigga sit there, and we roll all them—but like 50 boxes of the 50 box. [Laughs.] Yeah.
That doesn’t even work. Because it’s like mostly if I want to get some weed I call a delivery service. But if you’re getting a quarter pound, you don’t really get a delivery service…
You already got it. I don’t ever run out.
You never run out?
You just keep it on stash?
I mean, because, c’mon…
Alright, on one of your interludes, you said a dude walked up to you in Miami wanting to battle you on camera?
Yeah, clown-ass nigga.
When was the last time a fan made you uncomfortable?
Never. As a fan, even when they hating me, “Fuck you nigga,” and all that…
They talk to you like that?
Shit, we was at the club the other night. There was an after-party in New York, the release party. Niggas was like “Fuck them niggas. Fuck you Wayne.”
For real? At the Roxy? I thought y’all didn’t come to the Roxy.
Yeah. We came. That’s why we didn’t go in. Niggas was like, “C’mon—we don’t need this shit.”
For real? Dudes were hating and shit?
It was like, they thought we need this? Come on. We turned around, got back in the Phantom and got the fuck out.
When you were in Philly last you didn’t show up to a show and gave back the money. What happened?
Yeah, because—you know what I mean—it’s Philly. Real respect real. I know niggas beefing out there. So when they tell me “We gonna search y’all.” It was like “Nah. We ain’t going in then.”
Oh, they wanted to search y’all? And take your protection away from you?
Yeah, that’s a set up. So we could be in there with no pistols—in this nigga city. [sucks teeth]. You crazy?
You shooting with them Ks, you gotta aim down. That big [gun] gonna kick. The first thing you gon' do is come up. I don’t care how strong you think you is—that [dude] standing right in front you and you ain’t even gonna hit him.
That makes no type of sense.
You crazy? Y’all can have your money back. Y’all could call me phony, fake, or whatever. Put me in the tabloids tomorrow. I’m saving my life. I ain’t scared, but I’m gonna go in there right. Like, they was specifically saying, “Oh and we gotta search y’all.” For a show? Y’all search me, I’m not going on stage my nigga.
What do you have a license to carry though?
Oh anything. I can carry anything that’s considered a weapon. And you would be surprised dog, what’s consider a fucking handgun. I swear when they showed me the list, I was like ‘That ain’t no fucking handgun!’
If I knew a nigga was walking around with this shit, I’d be scared than a motherfucker. Find some shit with two fucking drums, talking about “This a handgun.” Nigga that shit’ll shoot you a hundred times’, I’m like “What the fuck! What am I toting? A damn Glock?”
Would you consider yourself a good shot?
Nah man, I ain’t at no range. I told you. But I’m gonna aim at your feet! I know what to do.
[Laughs.] You aim at the feet? Why the feet?
Pow! You just do that. Everybody know that.
Oh, in case you fuck up?
You hit that nigga right in his face.
[Laughs.] So you aim at the feet so you hit him in the face?
No, you do that when your shooting them choppers though. You shooting with them Ks, nigga, you gotta aim down. That big motherfucker gonna kick. The first thing you gone do is come up. I don’t care how strong you think you is—if you aim at a nigga, you can aim right at a nigga, that nigga standing right in front you and you ain’t even gonna hit him.
You’ve shot a K before?
Yeah. I said I ain’t been to the range…But New Year’s, that bitch swole my whole right side up when I was like 13.
Oh, I read about that. When you shot yourself ?
No, no, no. Not that one. The K swole me up—just the kick back of the gun… Fucked my whole right side up.
Damn. When you shot yourself, was that the worst pain you’d say you ever felt?
Nah, I ain’t felt no pain from that. But that was realest experience ever in my life. That changed my life. That made Lil Wayne. That’s who you see today—from that day.
Getting shot in the chest?
November 11th, 1994 is the nigga who you see right now. That’s the main reason I write. That’s when my life changed.
I got shot two inches away from my heart and didn’t die. I was supposed to go. I was supposed to go, B. That’s some weird shit. I’ve still got metal over my heart. I can’t have no MRIs or nutting.
Yeah. If I jump wrong I think I could die. So, I was supposed to go, man. I’ve still got bullet fragments in places under my skin. That ain’t gone go nowhere. It’s all potential. If I had changed in that move, I’m gone. But I don’t think about no shit like that.