By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief
Last Thursday, Dwayne Carter, better known as Lil Wayne, was released from prison after being incarcerated for the past eight months.
While the significance of his release may be lost for some of you, others immediately recognize that Lil Wayne has evolved beyond just being a hip-hop rapper. Instead, he has morphed into a cultural icon.
Since early age of nine, Lil Wayne has been signed to Cash Money Records. Now at 28, after nearly 20 years in the music business, Lil Wayne has released over seven albums and over nine mix tapes, with his most popular being “No Ceilings.”
These albums and mix tapes have produced countless music collaborations, including collaborations with other music icons such as Madonna and Shakira. His work has also resulted in being nominated for eight Grammy Awards, four of which he won in 2009.
Other marks on culture include, Lil Wayne’s claim to the slang phrase “bling.” His creative use of words and metaphors have transformed the way my generation views music.
The days were hip-hop music was exclusively for urban residents is slowly decaying. Now, the influence of hip-hop music can be seen despite age, ethnicity and socioeconomic class.
Because of Lil Wayne my generation will never be able to view simple items such as a lollipop, duffle bag or a fireman the same way.
The success of Lil Wayne has also contributed to the success of other artists in the music industry. Lil Wayne gave breakout artists, such as Nicki Minaj or Drake, a start in the music business by offering them contracts to sign with Young Money Entertainment.
Even though Lil Wayne has had an undeniable influence on popular culture, there are still those that doubt Wayne’s legitimacy. But, regardless of your own personal opinion of hip-hop music or Lil Wayne, he remains a household name. The mere fact that his release from prison was a headline among news stations and Facebook status worthy demonstrates his amazing ability to leave a lasting impression.
Lil Wayne has entered the ranks of other household names such as Lady Gaga or Britney Spears; and, his release from prison has left Lil Wayne fans anxious for the release of his next album or mix tape. In comparison, while fans are eager, skeptics of Wayne continue to question his place in the music industry. To combat these skeptics, Lil Wayne says, “you can love me or hate me, I swear it won’t make me or break me.”