Lil Wayne's led a helluva life. Started rapping when he was eight. Accidentally shot himself in the chest at 12; signed to Cash Money Records the same year. Dropped his first album, as a member of the Hot Boys, at 15. Also had his first of four children, Reginae Carter, that year. Went platinum with his debut solo album, Tha Block Is Hot, released at age 17. Not to mention all the high-profile rap collaborations and celebrity encounters (like the infamous Katie Couric interview above), the health scares and historical music moments. Why not use the tantalizing Cash Money exit as the moment to write a comprehensive tell-all? Weezy doesn't touch a pad or a pen for his raps, but he could always hire a cowriter. (Like the RZA did for the awesome Tao of Wu.)
2010's Rebirth was a travesty marketed as a "Lil Wayne rock album." There's no way Birdman was sitting there encouraging Wayne to keep running in that direction, or to even give it another whirl. Once Weezy's free, we can hear everything he's got to offer in realms outside hip hop. Kenny G collabos, anyone? An EP with Mumford & Sons?
"Cash money gettin' six albums," Onika rapped on December's The Pinkprint, meaning she's got three left on her contract. If she's feeling as stifled as her Young Money mentor but doesn't want all the murky publicity, Nicki can do like Prince did to escape Warner Bros. Records in 1995 and '96, when he released The Gold Experience, Girl 6, and Chaos and Disorder in a 10- month span. Prince celebrated with the fittingly titled Emancipation, a triple-album, immediately afterward. Do this, Nicki!
@LilTunechi if u wanna drop albums & don't want your CEO's rubbing they hands all in your videos, COME TO GOOD MUSIC!! (Suge Knight voice)— PUSHA T (@PUSHA_T) December 4, 2014
Pusha T—a former Lil Wayne foe—floated the idea in December, when he saw Weezy venting about his Cash Money troubles. And who wouldn't love it to happen? Every time Wayne and Kanye have come together ("See You in My Knightmares," "Forever," the "Lollipop" remix), it's been magical. And Lil Wayne and G.O.O.D.'s Big Sean have a fruitful history together, too.
Fred Durst & Co. signed with Cash Money in early 2012, right after releasing Gold Cobra, their first album in more than six years. The next year, they released "Ready to Go," a single featuring Lil Wayne. Limp Bizkit's Cash Money debut, Stampede of the Disco Elephants, has been teased for ages, but still has no release date, possibly because it's titled Stampede of the Disco Elephants. With a Weezy-sized hole in the label's roster, maybe it'll be time for the Biz to try to getting back into the mainstream with a "Nookie"-sized single, or even a Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water–flavored album. (Alternately/additionally, Cash Money artist Paris Hilton can step up and shine with her sophomore LP, a follow-up to 2006's Paris.)
Weezy F. Baby has released 10 solo albums, but he's dropped something like 20 full-length mixtapes. Free releases are always great for cred and album hype, but it's easy to imagine Cash Money not-so-politely asking Weezy to slow down and save some of his material for the actual, commercially available albums—the ones they can make money on. So after saying peace to his label, what's stopping Tunechi from dropping mixtapes as often as his insanely prolific brain can cook 'em up? This is the guy who released Sorry 4 the Wait 2 in January (17 songs, 70 minutes, tons of shots taken at Cash Money) and is already teasing both the Dedication 6 mixtape and the Free Weezy Album, a full-on LP that'll be—you guessed it—free.
Weezy's been publicly planning his retirement for at least four years. At times he's said it'll happen at age 35 (September 2017), but he's most frequently promised it'll happen after Tha Carter V. (He's also said it'll be his final Carter album, but maybe not his last one overall.) Wayne wants to skateboard, chill and be with his kids. And once he's label-less, what's stopping him?
Keep up to date with the latest news by subscribing to our newsletter.*required