Once again, the hottest boy from the hottest block returns to heat up the rap scene with his scorching brand of poignant lyrics and silky flows. At the young age of eighteen, Lil Wayne has been hailed by fans and critics as one of the top rappers in the hip-hop game. His witty rhymes, filled with complex metaphors and sound effects, have listeners hitting the rewind button over again and again.
Born and reared in Uptown New Orleans' notoriously impoverished and crime-riddled Hollygrove community, Lil Wayne saw his share of hard times. An extremely bright and gifted child, he struggled to do the right thing. He went to school where the somewhat shy and reserved teenager excelled in academics and tried to resist the lure of the streets. Unfortunately, he soon fell victim to the streets.
In the process of surviving, Lil Wayne was exposed to local rap legends like Pimp Daddy and UNLV, both of whom were signed to Cash Money Records at the time. And like most talented youngsters his age, Lil Wayne privately wrote rhymes and dreamed of becoming a rap star. His dream would come true when a friend and rapper by the name of Lil Slim introduced him to Brian "Baby" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams, founders and co-CEOs of Cash Money Records, "I met Baby and Slim at an autograph session for Lil Slim," says Lil Wayne. "Baby asked me to rap for him, and I did. When I finished he gave me his card and told me to call him. I started blowing up his pager to the point where Baby saw that I really wanted to be down."
In 1993, Lil Wayne appeared on B.G.'s debut EP, True Story. Although barely out of puberty, Lil Wayne represented like a hip-hop veteran, spitting rhymes that earned him a loyal underground following in New Orleans. In 1997, a 16-year old Wayne emerged from the underground and into regional stardom as a member of the Hot Boys with fellow label-mates Juvenile, Turk and B.G. Get It How You Live, the Hot Boys' debut LP, sold over 400,000 copies throughout the South. It was also the record that placed Lil Wayne in an elite class of underground MC's who would help place the Dirty South on the top of the hip-hop heap. But Waynes's star continued to shine as he put in stellar appearances on his labelmates' top-selling albums including: B.G.'s Chopper City and It's All On You Vol. I and II, and Check Mate; the Big Tymers' How You Love That and I Got That Work; Juvenile's 400 Degreez; and the Cash Money Millionaires' Baller Blockin' soundtrack.
By 1999, Lil Wayne was ready for his solo debut and Cash Money/Universal Records released his platinum-selling set, Tha Block Is Hot, which yielded the smash hit title track. Now, Lil Wayne returns with his sophomore CD, Lights Out. "I try to do better every time, make each album better than the last one," says the soft-spoken rapper. Explaining the CD title, Wayne says, "After this album, I feel like it's game over. We won. It doesn't get any better than this."
These are strong words, but they come from a rapper who snagged a 1999 Source Award nomination for "Best New Artist," and scored a Source Award for "Group Of The Year" as a member of the Hot Boys. In 2000, Lil Wayne branched out into acting with a supporting role in the Cash Money straight-to-video "Baller Blockin'" movie.
"Get Off The Corner" is the first single from the album. The riveting track finds Lil Wayne navigating street life with his characteristic plot-driven lyrics and animated delivery. "I just rap about life," he says. Resident super-producer Mannie Fresh handled production on the album. Other stand-out tracks on Lights Out include: "Hit U Up" which contains hard-core lyrics over Fresh's whimsical track, the drum n' bass-laden "F... With Me Now," the bouncy "Grown Man" featuring Juvenile and Mannie Fresh, and a moving tribute to Waynes's late father titled, "Everything."
With his highly anticipated sophomore album Lights Out, Lil Wayne is set to explode on the hip-hop scene once again, as he and producer Mannie Fresh fuse tight rhymes and flawless beats into pure hotness.
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