The Ryan Center and University of Rhode Island Student Entertainment Committee are bringing Grammy-winning, hip-hop artist Lil Wayne to Rhode Island as part of his 2017 college tour this Sunday, April 9. Having sold millions of albums worldwide, Lil Wayne has earned himself a total of four Grammy awards.
He released his first album when he was only 12 years old, and then released his first official solo album, “Tha Block is Hot,” at age 17 in 1999 under the record labels Cash Money and Universal. Since then he has been releasing new music every year or two and is considered to be one of the most successful and critically praised artists in Hip Hop. He holds the record for the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by a male solo artist with 109 entries, having surpassed the record previously set by Elvis Presley.
Lil Wayne’s fourth album “Tha Carter,” was the first installment of his legendary “Tha Carter” series and came out in 2004. This was followed by albums “Tha Carter II” and “Like Father, Like Son” in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Following this was a long stretch of mixtapes and guest appearances on other hip hop records which increased his exposure to the mainstream scene. His “landmark” album “Tha Carter III” came out in 2008 and received high praise from music critics. “He breaks language down into building blocks for new metaphors, exploiting every possible semantic and phonetic loophole for humor and yanking pop culture references into startling new contexts,” said “The Guardian’s” Alex Macpherson in a review of the album.
Amidst his musical success, Lil Wayne has dealt with legal issues in his past. In 2010 he was charged with attempted criminal possession of a weapon after a gun was found on his tour bus following a concert in New York City. He served an eight month prison sentence in Rikers Island. During this time, Lil Wayne set up a website called “Weezy Thanx You” which published letters he wrote while incarcerated and continued working on his music.
His fourth chapter in the “Tha Carter” series was released following his prison sentence. Lil Wayne had actually recorded most of the album immediately following “Tha Carter III” in 2008. He put the fourth installment on hold however, not wanting to crowd the success and praise of the “Tha Carter III.” Instead he separated these chapters with the debut of two more albums. “Rebirth” which was primarily rock-themed, received mixed response from critics and “I am Not a Human Being” which is supposedly comprised of unused material from “Tha Carter IV” recording sessions and was released while Lil Wayne served his time in Rikers Island and therefore could not record new material.
Lil Wayne has since released a sequel album “I am Not a Human Being II” in 2013 and the “Free Weezy Album” in 2015 after getting into a legal battle with Cash Money Records and the label-boss Birdman. Lil Wayne battled Birdman and the label over the delay of “Tha Carter V” and released his “Free Weezy Album” exclusively to TIDAL, a subscription based music streaming service in retaliation. Finally, Lil Wayne is expected to release his 12th studio album and the fifth addition of the “Tha Carter.” Keep an eye out for the release date of “Tha Carter V” later this year.
Tickets for the general public, starting at $40, are available at theryancenter.com, by phone at (855) 387-4849, or at the Ryan Center Box Office.