Lil Wayne set the rap game ablaze with his 1999 debut Tha Block Is Hot. Nearly two decades later, he's matured from young Cash Money protégé to full-fledged solo rap phenom and entrepreneur, releasing eleven studio albums, three compilation albums, twenty mixtapes and one EP. But what's next for the rapper who holds the title as one of the best-selling artists of all time?
With his 13th studio album, Tha Carter V, in limbo due to beef with Birdman and Cash Money Records, the Weezy Hive does have one thing to look forward to: Gone 'Til November, a prison memoir based on diary entries he penned during his stint at New York's Rikers Island in 2010. The book, which dropped Tuesday (Oct. 11), includes a plethora of never-before-told stories, including officiating a same-sex marriage between fellow inmates and a visit from Drake that revealed the Canadian rapper slept with his girlfriend.
To celebrate the book's release, Billboard compiled a list of Lil Wayne's best post-prison releases.
"Prom Queen" feat. Shanell - Rebirth (2010)
The first single from Wayne's seventh studio album, Rebirth, which was presented to the public as his rock music debut, may have been met with mixed reviews, but the song itself marks one of the moments where he transcended rap star. There's nothing wrong with experimenting and he proved it with this track. With the Lil Uzi Vert's and Travis Scott's of the world professing they aren't rap stars but rock stars, Wayne might have very well birthed rap's current rebellious movement.
"Drop the World" feat. Eminem, Rebirth (2010)
With Eminem finally coming up for air from the depths of Detroit after a four-year absence, the two tag-teamed for this rock-rap fusion considered a highlight on Rebirth. Certified platinum by the RIAA in the same year as its release, the track peaked No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"I'm Single," I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
This slow-burning, atmospheric jam balanced out the deranged flow of I Am Not A Human Being as Wayne waxed poetic about his revolving door relationship status.
"With You" feat. Drake, I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
A then-novice Drake sports his soft crooning skills on the hook as Wayne flaunts his love and admiration for a special lady on the deep cut. "If everyone was like you, the world would be a better place," he raps. Apparently, even a Martian can find love.
"Right Above It" feat. Drake, I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
Another great collaboration between Wayne and Drake, the confident and upbeat track peaked No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs charts. Not to mention, it was revived five years later, serving as the opening credits of HBO's original series Ballers.
"Bill Gates," I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
As The Notorious B.I.G. once rhymed "more money, more problems" but Wayne doesn't dwell on the latter, employing a laissez-faire flow that floats over the mechanical Boi-1da beat.
"6 Foot 7 Foot" feat. Cory Gunz, Tha Carter IV (2011)
Lil Wayne lived up to the gargantuan expectations the world had of his ninth album, Tha Carter IV. The first recorded release since his 2010 release from prison, he delivered a monster flow alongside featured rapper Cory Gunz, making hip-hop purists dreams come true.
"John" feat. Rick Ross, Tha Carter IV (2011)
A spirited moment on Tha Carter IV, this track revived the fiery MC that mesmerized us with his bling-bling and animated bars. Peaking at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, a handful of rappers went on to release their own remixes of "John," including Wiz Khalifa, Jim Jones, Ace Hood and Tyga.
"How to Love," Tha Carter IV (2011)
Wayne shares an unexpected tale of his love for a broken girl whose insecurities stem from bruises of the past. Inspired by Tupac's "Keep Ya Head Up," the track peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, earning him his third highest peak on the chart as a solo artist. "That song is just sweeping the world. It's touching every woman, that's what it was for," Wayne shared with MTV News at the time.
"She Will" (feat. Drake), Tha Carter IV (2011)
Quickly ascending to No. 1 of the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the Drake-Wayne pairing also debuted No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Behind "Lollipop," it's Wayne's second highest charting song as a lead artist.
"Outro" (feat. Bun B, Nas, Shyne & Busta Rhymes), Tha Carter IV (2011)
The star-studded guest list on this track alone garners a standing ovation, but it's a fun game of friendly rhymes as each MC contributes their own bars on the thundering Willy Will beat that closes the platinum-selling album.
"Rich As F--k" feat. 2 Chainz, I Am Not a Human Being II (2013)
With T-Minus supplying a sweeping, funky old-school beat, Lil Wayne showcased more enticing rhymes alongside 2 Chainz who maintained a larger than life on the presence on the hook with his Southern twang.
"No Worries" feat. Detail, I Am Not a Human Being II (2013)
Even though weed smoke and pills cloud the track, it's nothing like a downer. Wayne purveys genuine excitement and charisma on the track that features a good beat and an even better hook that will induce multiple replays.
"My Homies Still" feat. Big Sean, I Am Not a Human Being II (2013)
Wayne literally goes stupid on this high-energy standalone single where he and Detroit MC Big Sean bounce spastic punchlines off another. If there was ever a track to get your blood pumping during cardio, look no further than "My Homies Still."
"Love Me" feat. Drake and Future, I Am Not a Human Being II (2013)
Wayne has a golden ear for hearing the next big talent in music, and in the same way he recruited Drake to his roster, he furthered his part-time A&R skills by joining forces with Future and Mike Will Made-It. While Drake and Future flaunt their highly-sought after Rap&B sensibilities on the hook, Wayne takes center stage with his braggadocious bars.
"Glory," Free Weezy Album (2015)
Providing equal parts grunge and gothic on the Onhel and Avenue Beatz-produced track, Wayne spits clever rhymes while making use of his wild vocabulary that reminds listeners his swagger simply can't be duplicated.