Lil Wayne turned 30 years old just over a week ago. This is significant because it's an age that, for rappers, is kind of shrouded in a sort of odd mythology. It means that an artist has ended their chapter of youth, a phase that rap is as traditionally obsessed with as say, the fashion and film industries. Age 30 is the first time when the audience can begin to look at someone as "old," and rap is way more harsh about it than, say, rock, where fans go out in droves to see legends tour well into their 60s.
Heading into his fourth decade, Lil Wayne has truly accomplished a lot, and it's really put into perspective when matched up with the accomplishments of his peers when they hit the same age. Wayne's tireless work ethic was the story of his prolific output during the mid to late-00s, which culminated in his Grammy-winning opus, Tha Carter III. In total, he's released 10 albums and his 11th is due later this year. Wayne reflected on his longevity in hip-hop in a recent interview with DJ Drama: “I’ve done so much of it, I’ve been doing it since I was eight. And I’m still rapping. So I kind of feel like I’m getting old.”
On Dedication 4 cut, "Same Damn Tune," Wayne dismisses those ageist insecurities as a product of being "high," and he should. Yes, at 30, you're not really a child anymore, but it's far from being old. While looking back at the status of rappers like Jay-Z, Eminem, and Andre 3000's careers when they turned 30 reveals just how much Wayne has done in three decades, it also shows how much is possible after an MC hits that age.
We've gone back in the time capsules and mulled over the state of 15 of our favorite rappers' careers when they turned 30. How many albums did Nas have out when he turned 30? What was Young Jeezy up to when he hit the big 3-0? Read on for insights and answers.
Written by Eric Diep (@E_Diep)
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