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  1. 1. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   MS4: Music Industry Lil’ Wayne   1  
  2. 2. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Lil Wayne – background details, style, genre and success Biography: A game-changing artist and an impervious celebrity, Lil Wayne began as his career as a near-novelty — a preteen delivering hardcore hip-hop — but through years of maturation and reinventing the mixtape game, he developed into a million-selling rapper with a massive body of work, one so inventive and cunning that it makes his famous claim of being the “best rapper alive” worth considering. Born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. and raised in the infamous New Orleans neighborhood of Hollygrove, he was a straight-A student but never felt his true intelligence was expressed through any kind of report card. He found music was the best way to express himself, and after taking the name Gangsta D he began writing rhymes. Combining a strong work ethic with aggressive selfpromotion, the 11-year-old convinced the Cash Money label to take him on, even if it was just of odd jobs around the office. A year later, in-house producer Mannie Fresh partnered him with the 14-year-old B.G. and dubbed the duo the B.G.’z. Although only B.G.’s name appeared on the cover, the 1995 album True Story has since been accepted as the B.G.’z debut album both by fans and the Cash Money label. The 1997 album Chopper City was supposed to be the follow-up, but when Wayne accidentally shot himself in the chest with a .44, it became a solo B.G. release. That same year, he officially took the moniker Lil Wayne, dropping the “D” from his first name in order to separate himself from an absent father. He joined B.G., Juvenile, and Young Turk for another Fresh project, the teen hardcore rap group the Hot Boys, who released their debut album, Get It How U Live!, in 1997. Two years later, Cash Money would sign a distribution deal with the major-label Universal. Mainstream distribution would help that year’s Hot Boys album Guerrilla Warfare to reach the number one spot on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 1998, Lil Wayne would appear on Juvenile’s hit single “Back That Thing Up,” or “Back That Azz Up” as it appeared on Juvie’s album 400 Degreez. Wayne would launch his solo career a year later with the album Tha Block Is Hot, featuring the hit single title track. It went double platinum but the rapper was still unknown to Middle America, since his hardcore rhymes and the rough Cash Money sound had not yet crossed over. His second album, Lights Out (2000), failed to match the success of its predecessor but it did go gold, and with an appearance on the Big Tymers’ hit single “#1 Stunna,” his audience was certainly growing. While Fresh was primarily responsible for launching his career, Wayne was now much closer to Fresh’s fellow Big Tymer and Cash Money CEO Birdman. When Juvenile left the label, Wayne — or “Birdman Jr.” as he was calling himself — showed his allegiance to his CEO by releasing an album with a title much hotter than Juvie’s breakthrough effort. 500 Degreez landed in 2002 and while it went gold, rumors began flying about Cash Money’s financial troubles and possible demise. The rest of the Hot Boys had defected and Wayne’s planned 2003 album was scrapped, coming out instead as an underground mixtape called Da Drought. Wayne became enamored with the mixtape world after Da Drought drew so much attention from the hip-hop press. He used these underground releases to drum up anticipation for his next official album, the breakthrough effort Tha Carter. Released in   2  
  3. 3. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   2004, the album seemed familiar on one hand with Mannie Fresh’s production, but the Wayne on the cover was a dreadlocked surprise, and the rhymes he laid on the tracks showed significant growth. His marketing skills had become sharper, too, and it was no mistake that the album’s hit single, “Go DJ,” mentioned hip-hop’s greatest tastemakers right in the title. It reached number five on the singles chart, and with a guest shot on Destiny’s Child’s number three single, “Soldier,” Wayne had officially crossed over. On the flip side, his street cred was supported by a slew of mixtapes released in 2005, including the popular titles Dedication with DJ Drama and Tha Suffix with DJ Khaled. Cash Money’s future was no longer in doubt and traditional music business rules no longer seemed to apply, as tracks would be leaked onto the Internet and various DJ’s mixtapes. “Get Something” was another bold move, as a Universal-funded video was made without the track ever seeing official release. With his alternative marketing scheme working in overdrive, the 2005 landing of Tha Carter II was a major event, selling over a quarter-million copies the week of its release. “Fireman” and “Shooter” with Robin Thicke were released as singles, while the album — which for the first time featured no Mannie Fresh productions — went platinum. A year later he collaborated with Birdman for the Like Father, Like Son album, featuring the hit single “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy.” His mixtapes were still flooding the underground, including the stunning Dedication 2, which came with an iconic image of the rapper on the cover plus the much talked-about track “Georgia…Bush,” a venomous response to President George W. Bush’s handling of the Katrina disaster. With no official follow-up to Tha Carter II in sight, numerous collaborative tracks kept the rapper in the mainstream with “Gimme That” by Chris Brown, “Make It Rain” by Fat Joe, and “Duffle Bag Boy” by Playaz Circle becoming three of the biggest hits. Tha Carter III was promised for 2007 but didn’t arrive until a year later, setting off Wayne’s infamous reputation of delayed releases. Part of the problem became unauthorized leaks of the album’s tracks, something combated by the official, downloadable EP The Leak released that same year. Preceded by the number one hit “Lollipop,” Tha Carter III arrived in May of 2008, selling more than a million copies in its first week of release. An appearance on Saturday Night Live and four Grammy awards — including Best Rap Album — spoke to Wayne’s mainstream acceptance. He also performed at that year’s Country Music Awards with Kid Rock, but rather than rap, he played guitar. The guitar playing was part of Wayne’s new involvement with rock music, including his help in signing Kevin Rudolf to Cash Money plus an appearance on Rudolf’s massive hit “Let It Rock.” His planned rock album was previewed with the 2009 single “Prom Queen,” but when the album failed to meet its promised April release, the music press began to portray the rapper as the king of missed street dates. Unconcerned, Wayne forged ahead with his Young Money crew, releasing the aboveground single “Every Girl,” plus the official album We Are Young Money that same year. His rock album, Rebirth, would finally see the light of day in early 2010, which coincided with Wayne being sentenced to a nine-month prison term for criminal possession of a weapon. The rapper may have been behind bars on Riker’s Island, but that didn’t stop his ten-song EP I Am Not a Human Being from seeing the light of day in September 2010. Tha Carter IV was finally released in 2011 along with its lead-off single “6 Foot 7 Foot”. The album reached the top spot in Billboard’s Top 200. Source: AllMusic   3  
  4. 4. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Discography: Studio albums 1999: Tha Block Is Hot 2000: Lights Out 2002: 500 Degreez 2004: Tha Carter 2005: Tha Carter II 2008: Tha Carter III 2010: Rebirth 2010: I Am Not a Human Being 2011: Tha Carter IV 2012: I Am Not a Human Being II Industry and record label He wasrumoured to have signed a new $150 million contract in summer 2012 with Cash Money Records, recording under his own sub-label Young Money. Young Money Entertainment Young Money Entertainment, simply known as Young Money, is an American record label and group founded in 2003 by Lil Wayne. The label is an imprint of Cash Money Records, which is distributed by Universal. Cortez Bryant was originally the president of YM, but Mack Maine took over in 2009 so that Tez could focus more on managing Young Money artists: Lil Wayne, Drake and Lil Twist. Since 2003, Young Mula has been on a steady rise to the top of hip-hop, starting from the streets of New Orleans to signing some of the biggest names in music.   4  
  5. 5. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Listen to the extracts of 2 of Lil Wayne’s biggest hits, Lollipop, (which spent 6 weeks at number 1 in the US Billboard charts in 2009. The single won a Grammy for Best Pop Song in 2009) and Tha Block is Hot from his debut 1999 album, ranked number 50 on VH1’s greatest hip hop songs of all time. Make notes on their generic style. What evidence of the commercialist, populist sound is there in comparison to the older hip hop tracks we listened to last lesson?   5  
  6. 6. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Lil Wayne – Representation Issues Representations of gender The lyrics and videos of hip-hop stars are often associated with misogynistic values and attitudes. Definition: Misogyny is the objectification of and contempt for women. Typically hip-hop lyrics are very negative towards women and this contempt is often reflected visually in music videos. In your analysis of Lil Wayne’s 6 Foot 7 Foot video consider the construction of gender roles, and in particular how these are connected to concept of materialism (e.g. the commodification of the female body). Make detailed notes below, analysing the shots and scenes in the video which link to this. 6  foot  7  foot  lyrics       Six  foot,  seven  foot,  eight  foot  bunch   Six  foot,  seven  foot,  eight  foot  bunch     Excuse  my  charisma,  vodka  with  a  spritzer   Swagger  down  pat,  call  my  shit  Patricia   Young  Money  militia  and  I  am  the  commissioner   You  don't  want  start  Weezy  'cause  the  F  is  for  f inisher     So  misunderstood  but  what's  a  world  without  enigma?   Two  bitches  at  the  same  time,  synchronized  swimmers   Got  the  girl  twisted  'cause  she  open  when  you  twist  her   Never  met  the  bitch  but  I  fuck  her  like  I  missed  her     Life  is  the  bitch  and  death  is  her  sister   Sleep  is  the  cousin,  what  a  fuckin'  family  picture   You  know  father  time,  we  all  know  Mother  Nature   It's  all  in  the  family  but  I  am  of  no  relation   No  matter  who's  buying,  I'm  a  celebration   Black  and  white  diamonds,  fuck  segregation     Fuck  that  shit,  my  money  up,  you  niggas  just  Honey  Nut   Young  Money  running  shit  and  you  niggas  just  runner  ups   I  don't  f eel  I  done  enough  so  I'ma  keep  on  doing  this  shit   Lil  Tunechi  or  Young  Tunafish     Six  foot,  seven  foot,  eight  foot  bunch   Six  foot,  seven  foot,  eight  foot  bunch     I'm  going  back  in   Okay,  I  lost  my  mind,  it's  somewhere  out  there  stranded   I  think  you  stand  under  me  if  you  don't  understand  me   Had  my  heart  broken  by  this  woman  named  Tammy   But  hoes  gon'  be  hoes  so  I  couldn't  blame  Tammy     Just  talked  to  Moms,  told  her  she  the  sweetest   I  beat  the  beat  up,  call  it  self-­‐defense   Swear  man,  I  be  seeing  through  these  niggas  like  sequins   Niggas  think  they  He-­‐Man,  pow,  pow,  the  end     Talking  to  myself  because  I  am  my  own  consultant   Married  to  the  money,  fuck  the  world,  that's  adultery   You  f ull  of  shit,  you  close  your  mouth  and  let  yo  ass  talk   Young  Money  eating,  all  you  haters  do  is  add  salt     Stop  playing,  bitch,  I  got  this  game  on  deadbolt   Mind  so  sharp,  I  fuck  around  and  cut  my  head  off   Real  nigga  all  day  and  tomorrow   But  these  muthafuckas  talking  crazy  like  they  jaw  broke     Glass  half  empty,  half  full,  I'll  spill  ya   Try  me  and  run  into  a  wall,  outfielder   You  know  I'ma  ball  'til  they  turn  off  the  field  lights   The  fruits  of  my  labor  I  enjoy  'em  while  they  still  ripe     Bitch,  stop  playing,  I  do  it  like  a  king  do   If  these  niggas  animals  then  I'ma  have  a  mink  soon   Tell  'em  bitches  I  say  put  my  name  on  the  wall   I  speak  the  truth  but  I  guess  that's  a  foreign  language  to  y'all     6  
  7. 7. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Now consider the video to Lollipop (2008) and analyse the misogynistic themes in this video and lyrics.     I  said  he's  so  sweet   Make  her  wanna  lick  the  rapper   So  I  let  her  lick  the  rapper     Shawty  said  l-­‐l-­‐lick  like  a  lollipop   She  said  l-­‐l-­‐lick  like  a  lollipop   Shawty  said  l-­‐l-­‐like  a  lollipop   She  said  like  a  lollipop     Shawty  wanna  thug   Bottles  in  the  club   Shawty  wanna  hump   And  oh  I  like  to  touch  ya  lovely  lady  lumps   She  wanna  lick  the  rapper     Shawty  wanna  thug   Bottles  in  the  club   Shawty  wanna  hump   And  ooh  I  l ike  to  touch  ya  lovely  lady  lumps   C'mon,  yeah     Okay,  lil'  mama  had  a  swag  like  mine   She  even  wear  her  hair  down  her  back  like  mine   I  make  her  feel  right  when  it's  wrong  like  lyin’   Man,  she  ain’t  never  had  a  love  like  mine     But  man  I  ain’t  never  seen  an  ass  like  hers   That  pussy  in  my  mouth  had  me  at  a  loss  for  words   I  told  her  to  back  it  up  like  burp  burp   And  make  that  ass  jump  like  shczerp  shczerp     And  that’s  when  she  said  I'm  lick  l ike  a  l ollipop   (Oh  yeah  I  l ike  that)   She  said  l-­‐l-­‐lick  like  a  lollipop   (Oh  yeah  I  l ike  that)   She  said  lick  like  a  lollipop   (Oh  yeah  I  l ike  that)   Shawty  said  like  a  lollipop     Shawty  wanna  thug   Bottles  in  the  club   Shawty  wanna  hump   And  ooh  I  l ike  to  touch  ya  lovely  lady  lumps   Shawty  wanna  hump     Shawty  wanna  thug   Bottles  in  the  club   Shawty  wanna  hump   And  oh  I  like  to  touch  ya  lovely  lady  lumps     Get  up,  like  you  make  it  up,  don't  stop   Drop  it  shawty,  drop  it  like  it's  hot   Drop,  dr-­‐dr-­‐drop  it  like  it's  hot   Do  it  shawty,  don't  stop     Shawty  said  the  nigga  that  she  with  ain’t  shit   Shawty  said  the  nigga  that  she  with  ain’t  this   Shawty  said  the  nigga  that  she  with  can't  hit   But  shawty  I'ma  hit  it,  hit  it  like  I  can't  miss     And  he  can’t  do  this,  and  he  don’t  do  that   Shawty  needa  a  refund  need  to  bring  that  nigga  back   Just  like  a  refund  I  make  her  bring  that  ass  back   And  she  bring  that  ass  back,  because  I  like  that     Shawty  wanna  thug   (Yeah  I  like  that)   Bottles  in  the  club   (Yeah  I  like  that)   Shawty  wanna  hump   And  oh  I  like  to  touch  ya  lovely  lady  lumps     Shawty  wanna  l-­‐l-­‐lick  like  a  lollipop   Shawty  said  I'm  l-­‐l-­‐like  a  lollipop   She  said  I'm  l-­‐l-­‐like  a  lollipop   So  I  let  her  lick  the  rapper,  like  a  lollipop     Shawty  wanna  thug   7  
  8. 8. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Representation of race Theory Racial stereotypes are among the most readily employed in the media. The origins of racist ideology lie in colonialism, which represented blacks as ‘primitive’ and ‘savage’, and whites as ‘civilised’ and ‘developed’. Richard Dyer has argued that traditionally there are 3 main ‘myths’ that are ever-present 1. 2. 3. The black person as troublemaker – News items present links between race and crime. Problems are said to be due to the number of immigrants, the influx of refugees, or the cultural identity of black people The black person as entertainer – The classic example of this is the BBC’s Black and White Minstrel Show in which white male performers put on black face paint and pretended to be black. The highest achievers amongst blacks (both in the UK and the USA) tend to be entertainers – actors, singers, dancers, etc The black person as dependent – The famines in Africa portray starving children and the need for Western intervention to sort things out. More complex causes and effects are brushed aside. These countries therefore lack the competence to be self-sufficient and can only survive with Western support. As previously discussed, some critics of gangsta rap, such as black filmmaker Spike Lee, have argued that some rappers play up to the stereotype of the black person as uncultured and ignorant for the entertainment of a mass audience. However, many rappers have argued they are simply reflecting the reality of life in inner city areas. Consider the music video for Drop the World ft. Enimen (2009). Analyse imagery, narrative themes and lyrics, and then find evidence for the following 2 ways of reading the text: Evidence in support of Dyer’s theory:   8  
  9. 9. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Evidence to support an alternative, positive reading:   9  
  10. 10. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Representation of masculinity Traditional representations of masculinity include qualities such as independence, pride, resiliency, self-control and physical strength. These traits often become over-valued and exaggerated, thus developing into qualities such as competitiveness, toughness, aggressiveness and love of power. Look at Lil Wayne’s album covers. How does he follow the traditional hegemonic masculinity or how does he challenge it? Think about the videos we have studied and also the album covers below: 1. Lights Out, 2000 2. Tha Carter, 2005   10  
  11. 11. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   3. Rebirth, 2010 3. Tha Carter IV, 2011 4. Tha Carter IV leaked LP:   11  
  12. 12. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Consider the key selling points of Lil Wayne we have considered so far, and link these to the following themes: • • Traditional masculinity and male dominance •   Materialism, success and wealth Female objectification and commodification 12  
  13. 13. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Lil Wayne – Marketing Strategies Lil Wayne and his feuds with other high profile rappers/artists have kept his name in the public eye alongside his arrest and imprisonment for possession of a gun. In August 2012, Lil Wayne was embroiled in a spat with a New York senator: There's at least one New Yorker who didn't appreciate Lil Wayne telling the Big Apple to go suck it. New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith was so incensed that the rapper told MTV on Monday, "I don't like New York," Smith actually called a press conference in Times Square to demand the hip-hop star apologize. "I take strong exception to the words 'I don't like New York,'" the democrat told reporters yesterday, adding that he was "shocked" when he first heard it. Lil Wayne taking a break from rapping Smith went on to suggest that if Weezy hates New York, "you don't have to come to New York." "You don't have to sell your products here. And perhaps we won't come to your concerts," he noted. He might have difficulty selling some members of his own family on the idea however considering he admitted his 19-year-old daughter, Amanda, is a Lil Wayne fan. Lil Wayne writing a book about jail time Lindsay Lohan’s Strange Hurricane TweetAngelina Jolie Gets In the Halloween SpiritKim Kardashian’s Sexy Mermaid Costume And to be fair, the hitmaker hasn't had an easy time in the five boroughs considering that in 2007, he was busted on illegal weapons possession charges and following a guilty plea spent eight months locked up in Rikers Island in 2010. He also wasn't thrilled this June when a New York City DJ dissed of his protégé Nicki Minaj, prompting him to pull his Young Money acts out of the Hot 97 summer jam. Still, given his neighborhood is famous for being the place that birthed such hiphop icons as Run-D.M.C., rap mogul Russell Simmons, Ja Rule and Young MC among others, Smith wasn't taking Lil Wayne's insult lying down. In a separate statement issued Wednesday and obtained by E! News, Smith noted: "Millions of New Yorkers listen to his music every day. His comments outraged his local fans and residents. The group today will be demanding an apology of the hip-hop star. Lil Wayne has had misfortune in New York with recent gun charges and a jail sentence."   13  
  14. 14. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Lil Wayne and Pusha T begin feuding over new single "Exodus 23:1" NINA MANDELL Thursday, May 24, 2012 CAN'T WE all be friends? Rappers Lil Wayne and Pusha T reignited a years-old feud over the latter rapper’s new single “Exodus 23:1,” which was released this week. The new track includes a line that many interpreted to be a slam against Lil Wayne and artists signed to his label, MTV reported. “Contract all f----d up / I guess that means you all f----d up / You signed to one n---a that signed to another n---a that's signed to three n----s / Now that's bad luck,” he raps. While the line didn’t call Lil Wayne out by names, Weezy apparently took offense at it and fired off a tweet on Thursday saying: “F--- pusha t and anybody that love em.” The feud between the two rappers goes back to 2006 after Pusha-T’s group the Clipse expressed their disdain for Lil Wayne and his attempt to “rap like Jay-Z, dress like the Clipse, become a coke dealer after 5 albums, and now dress like Jim Jones.” But pointed out that in 2011, Pusha-T said they had reconciled after Lil Wayne went to jail. “There was definitely a time period when I felt a certain way [about him], but as of right now I don't,” he told Complex magazine last year. Other feuds: 50 Cent: After hearing word that Lil Wayne had written a ‘diss’ song for him after 50 Cent made some unkind remarks, 50 lashed out at Wayne first on August 17, 2007 with the song "Part Time Lover. 50 responded to Lil Wayne in January 2009 in a song entitled "Play This On The Radio. The feud ended after 50 Cent appeared and performed at Lil Wayne's America's Most Wanted Musical Festival stop in Anaheim, California, in 2009. Jay-Z: In 2011, when Jay-Z & Kanye West's single H•A•M was released, Jay-Z insulted Lil Wayne's mentor Birdman. On August 24, 2011, a song called It's Good by Lil Wayne (featuring Drake and Jadakiss) was leaked online and included Lil Wayne responding to Jay-Z’s jibes. Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff INVESTING | 9/07/2011 @ 1:04PM |46,576 views Why Lil Wayne's 'Carter IV' Outsold Jay-Z and Kanye's 'Throne' The numbers for Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV came in this morning, and they were staggering: 940,000 copies sold in the first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, placing the album firmly atop the Billboard 200 chart. Tha Carter IV was Lil Wayne’s third No. 1 debut; remarkably, its first-week sales total was more than twice that of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne, which moved 436,000 units when it hit stores last month. So how did the diminutive Young Money/Cash Money star—who finished behind Jay-Z and Kanye on our annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings list—manage to outsell a pair of heavyweights? “I think just the hard work, all the years and everything we’ve been through as a unit,” says Cash Money Records chief Bryan “Birdman” Williams, who was deeply involved in the album’s production and promotion. “It’s our season, that’s just how it goes … [Wayne] is the best doing it, and everybody is just starting to see it. I don’t think any artist in the world is going to be as big as he’s going to be.” Hard work and experience aside, there were a number of other factors that contributed to the comparative success of Carter IV. Jay-Z and Kanye pursued a   14  
  15. 15. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   complicated release strategy that included exclusive windows with Apple’s iTunes and BestBuy, in part to safeguard against the possibility of a leak (and angered some retailers in the process). The Young Money/Cash Money team did nothing of the sort, and didn’t expend much energy on security, either. Although Carter IV did leak a few days before its debut—unlike Watch The Throne, which remained airtight—many people, including Lil Wayne himself, believe the leak actually helped. Birdman agrees with that assessment, mostly because the leak occurred too late to have large negative impact on sales. “It always depends how much time you have with a leak,” he says. “This one was two or three days. When you got a project like this and it’s three weeks to a month, it can really hurt you … but in this case I don’t think the leak hurt at all.” Another reason for Carter IV’s strong performance: Young Money/Cash Money ditched the typical release cycle, instead dropping the album immediately after Lil Wayne’s performance at the Video Music Awards last Sunday night. “They didn’t really do it Tuesday to Tuesday,” says entertainment attorney Bernie Resnick. “People were very much into the album, and [the label] didn’t try to guard it like a big military secret.” Resnick also wonders how much personality and perception played into the sales of Watch The Throne and Carter IV, given the difference between the images of the artists involved. “The potential for negative perception of an artist is certainly part of the sales equation,” he says. “I think that people perceive Wayne as a fun guy to be around, and perhaps he takes himself a little less seriously than the Throne guys.” Of course, there are other, more nefarious theories as to why Carter IV outsold Watch The Throne. Some bloggers have suggested that Birdman is using his millions to buy up copies of his pal’s album with the explicit goal of topping Kanye and Jay-Z, who may have taken a shot at the Cash Money chief earlier this year. Birdman, however, denies this notion. “I don’t know where that came from, I ain’t buy no copies,” he says. “No indeed, man, ain’t no way in the world, it’s impossible. Why would I do that? We got this money, and this money here come hard.” Though Birdman vehemently asserts that he didn’t make a dent in Carter IV’s sales numbers, he admits he always makes a few token purchases when his artists release new music. “I always support my brand, our brand,” he says. “So whenever we have anything out, I buy myself a couple albums for the homies, maybe two or three for myself.” What impact would feuds like these and publicity stunts have on Weezy’s brand image? How does it benefit his reputation in the music industry?   15  
  16. 16. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Lil Wayne’s official website Have a look at the website for Lil Wayne and make detailed notes below on the content, appeal and target audience for the site: Then compare this to the fan site,   16  
  17. 17. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Marketing and brand through merchandise and sponsorship deals Lil Wayne has many marketing and sponsorship deals. • In January 2012 Lil Wayne officially launched his Trukfit clothing line during Market Week in New York. The rapper hosted a private showing at El Privado in the Hotel Americano where Young Money’s T-Streets, Lil Twist, Mack Maine, Gudda Gudda and manager Cortez Bryant celebrated the clothes, along with Twist’s 19th birthday. The clothing line stands for “The Reason You Kill For It” which will be launched at Zumiez stores across the nation, at and Here is the company’s mission statement: As a brand, TRUKFIT is a state of mind – it is about being yourself, having fun, being free, being driven and being able to express all these elements and more. We have many sides to our being and TRUKFIT describes them all. We have no boundaries, rules, no gender distinction, no ethnic distinction, no demographic distinction. We are young, fun loving, connected to each other and yet we are all individuals. We are free to dream, to create, to fantasise and to explore. See the JackThreads link on Lil Wayne’s new clothing line – what inspired the name? •   In March 2012, a link between Lil Wayne and energy drink, Mountain Dew was launched with a Twitter tag of DEWeezy, with an official launch at the Austin music festival. “Lil Wayne and his forward thinking manager, Cortez Bryant of Blueprint Group, were an obvious choice for us,” says Derek Jackson, Founder & CEO of Glu Agency. “Mountain Dew is an iconic, cutting edge lifestyle brand and we could not think of a better merger than with a superstar such as Lil Wayne who is constantly pushing the envelope through his music and celebrity. I was really excited that Brett O’Brien, Vice President Marketing, Mountain Dew and Flavors, had the foresight and vision to make this amazing collaboration come to fruition. What we have created is not your average advertising campaign, it’s all based around cultural iconics. We don’t build brands, we build icons. Additionally, philanthropic and social responsibility is the unwavering core of this vision.” In May 2013, Pepsi dropped Lil’ Wayne as a spokesperson for Mountain Dew because of offensive lyrics referencing civil rights activist Emmett Till on the song Karate Chop. Lil Wayne has been fired as a Mountain Dew spokesperson amid controversy over his crude lyrics involving Emmett Till in the song “Karate Chop.” 17  
  18. 18. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   In a statement on Friday, PepsiCo announced that the rapper’s “offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.” A rep for Lil Wayne attributed the parting to “creative differences.” The controversy regards Wayne’s contribution earlier this year to Future’s track “Karate Chop,” on which he raps, “Pop a lot of pain pills / Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels / Beat that p**sy up like Emmett Till.” 14-year-old African-American Till was infamously tortured and murdered in 1955 Mississippi after allegedly flirting with a white woman. Back in February, Epic Records issued an apology for the lyrics and said it would try to remove the leaked, unauthorized track. Earlier this week, Lil Wayne himself sent a letter to the Till family acknowledging the “hurt” he had caused. His sentiments were apparently not enough to save his job. • • • • • • •   He has an exclusive trainer line with the brand Supra, announced in April 2012. See the video below on his new range for the brand, titled SPECTRE. CTRE_By_SUPRA_Video He was also the voiceover for the energy drink Gatorade in 2009. The website follows Weezy’s trends in fashion and offers fans tips on how to recreate his look. He has a line of customable t-shirts available on He has a line of clothing under the title Rebirth In 2007 he launched 2 clothing lines, Double U for women and Foreign Money for men, but the company folded the same year. 18  
  19. 19. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Using information from his videos and your knowledge of his image, create a spider diagram below to sum up Lil Wayne’s brand image: Bran d image   19  
  20. 20. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   How does Lil Wayne connect with his audience in the digital age? 3 Social Media Marketing Tips From Rapper Lil' Wayne Posted by Eric Vreeland Thu, Feb 17, 2011, Lil' Wayne is a well known rap star and also known for his brief stint in the joint for weapons charges. Whether you listen to his music or not, you can certainly learn from his Facebook marketing skills. If Lil' Wayne hadn't already established himself as one of social media's elite, his most recent overtaking of the Guinness World Record for most "Likes" to a post on Facebook in 24 hours certainly did the job. Only hours after Oreo claimed the record for themselves with 114,619 "Likes," Lil' Wayne and his fans obliterated it with a whopping 588,243. Now I know some of you are probably thinking, "well he probably just has a lot more fans than Oreo," but that isn't the whole story. Oreo has 16,711,040 fans on Facebook to Lil' Wayne’s 20,112,726, and although this is a significant advantage, it does not completely explain why he got more than five times as many "Likes" on his post. As an internet marketer having a social media presence isn't enough. The social media landscape is always changing, and because of this it's important to understand the most effective ways to utilize the tools available for your marketing efforts. Here are a couple things all internet marketers can learn from Lil' Wayne’s success. 3 Social Media Marketing Tips From Rapper Lil' Wayne 1. Be Unique Although there are thousands of rappers in the world, Lil' Wayne uses his uniqueness to help him stand out in the overpopulated sea of lyricists. His love of rock music, the Green Bay Packers, and his brief stint in jail are just a few of the things that Wayne uses to distinguish himself from others. Figure out what distinguishes you from the competition, and make sure you share this with your audience. This will not only help you to attract a loyal following, but it will also help you start ranking for long tail keywords that your competitors may not be focused on. 2. Never Stop Creating Content You would think that being locked up might put someone's rap career on hold. But instead of slowing down, Lil Wayne seemed to work even harder while he was in prison. As well as continuing to write songs, he also launched a blog called WeezyThanxYou because he wanted his fans to know he loved them. As a result of his continued effort to share remarkable content with the world, not only was Weezy able to maintain his fan base, but he actually increased it! Growing a following and attracting inbound links is a long gradual process. Don't lose hope if you don't see immediate results. Quality and consistency of content creation is the key to any inbound marketing strategy.   20  
  21. 21. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   3. Tell Your Fans What to Do! Lil' Wayne shares a lot of exclusive content with his fans on Facebook. He also makes it extremely clear to them how they can show their appreciation by including a simple "Like this post" call to action in many of his posts. By telling his fans what to do next Lil' Wayne is making his fan's lives simpler and helping them with the decision-making process. This works incredibly well on his Facebook Page as we can see with all of his posts including the most recent Guinness World Record post. Don't make your visitors' experience more difficult by throwing a barrage of links and choices in front of them. Provide them with valuable content and then offer them one simple next step. Listen to the interview with Lil Wayne’s tech prodigy Mazy Kazerooni, who turned Lil Wayne into a social media network player: m=140042752 What techniques are used to engage fans? How does Lil Wayne sell products without annoying his fans? How many fans does he have on Facebook? What Lil’ Wayne Taught Me About Social Media by CARTER THOMAS 2010 Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 5 years, you’d know that Lil’ Wayne is probably the hottest thing to come through the music game since Biggie Smalls. His fan base is incredibly diverse – pulling in people from every walk of life, every socioeconomic background , and every Facebook fan club. His twitter presence is so-so, knocking down about half a million fans daily, but his Facebook page is unreal. 8.2 Million and counting….all while he is in jail? Let’s take a look at why this fan page is so successful. First and foremost, there are consistent posts about things relevant to his brand. He gives exclusive insight to footage and music and gives the fan base a look at what life is like inside prison. Where else are you going to get a straight dialogue from Weezy besides his Facebook page? This is him capitalising on his comparative advantage, the most important element when doing anything related to marketing. There are thousands of musicians and rappers out there, but only one has the story like his.   21  
  22. 22. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   When writing web copy, the biggest thing to keep in mind is the call to action. Everything on a webpage should always be telling you what to do next. Wayne does this perfectly by telling fans to Like posts and link to certain sites and comment on posts. “Like this post if you like getting prison letters from Lil Wayne!” Similarly, almost all the copy starts off with a “if you like _____, then like this post.” Brilliant. From a web marketing strategy perspective, this creates a powerful tool for search engine optimisation. Facebook Likes are becoming a new way to measure popularity the way inbound likes and page rankings have traditionally been. By creating an environment where Liking a post is the norm and the action, Wayne’s credibility goes up. The links he put on that page all of a sudden have more value and become a better tool for leveraging. Interactivity is important for creating consumer habits. By having this in place, Wayne and Co are able to forecast future efforts and measure effectiveness of posts. Look at the numbers of people that Liked certain FB comments – Young Money gets 32,000 Likes and Twitter only gets 15,000. You can take that back to your social media manager and talk about how maybe the Facebook Lil Wayne community is more interested in the hip hop culture and less into the technology – translated into a focus on the Facebook efforts which are obviously paying off. Literally. Beyond anything else, Weezy has 8.2 Million fans because of his popularity outside of Facebook. But with a web-marketing lens, you can actually use his profile as a scorecard for what works on Facebook and what doesn’t. The analytics are sitting right there in front of you with the number of likes and the number of comments. If you have a business or an event or anything with a fan page, go out and find the biggest, most epic Facebook page out there and study the metrics they are seeing with much bigger numbers. This will give you the best foot forward. Don’t reinvent the wheel – build a V8. Explore Weezy’s Facebook page and note down how he engages with fans & how he uses brands and product placement on the pages:   22  
  23. 23. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Audience reach and appeal (adapted from The overwhelming popularity of Lil Wayne makes it clear that gangster rap is a cultural phenomenon. As the numbers indicate, gangster rap is currently embraced in the US and around the world by an economically diverse and multicultural fan base. Gangster rap’s popularity, in particular, has soared to levels not seen since N.W.A. helped invent the genre 15 years ago. Although the real-life tragedies of Lil Wayne fit nicely into the popular, cartoonish image of the black ghetto experience, the profit motives of the record industry, not ghetto life, have played the definitive role in the construction and development of the genre. ‘If an artist makes more money talking about being a thug and his realness in the street, then he’s going to do more of that because that’s where the success is,” said MC Search, best known from the group 3rd Bass and now a radio DJ in Detroit. “They will do what sells.” Since the late 1990s, major labels wasted no time snapping up as many independent gangster labels and rappers as they could. Since then, the once-underground gangster rap phenomenon has been almost completely absorbed into, and centralized under, the command and guidance of corporate conglomerates. Rap is now big business, and young rappers stand to make as much as star athletes in some cases. A 2003 Boston Globe article reported that “Today 70 per cent of hip-hop is bought by white kids.” The rap industry is increasingly aware that their audience is not just black citydwellers, as pointed out by Erik Parker of Vibe magazine: “You don’t necessarily need the white face to cross over to the non-urban audiences.... Before you had Eminem as a huge success because he’s a great rapper and he’s white. Now you have artists such as Nelly (and 50 Cent) crossing over—black artists doing black music. I do think that rappers are more conscious of a growing market and they’re creating records to accommodate that market.” Despite the fact that rappers are just now becoming conscious of their audience, the audience has been influencing rap music’s content for some time. The fact that gangster rap has a racially diverse audience and enjoys enormous sales indicates that, although the impetus and content of gangster rap may have originated in the desperation and of the inner-city population, it has won an audience with youth from many distinct racial and, more importantly, class backgrounds. There is, doubtless, a considerable section of the rap audience that enjoys the music on a different level altogether. In gangster rap, the backward youth (black or white) can find all of his/her stereotypes about men, women, life and even blacks, validated. The gangster is the rugged individual who wins at the end of the movie, he solves his problems with mindless and brutal violence and is greatly respected for it by his community; he treats women like dogs and they love him for it and, most importantly, he values wealth and power—and gaudy displays of it—above all else. He is a reactionary myth.   23  
  24. 24. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   This begs the question: What do young people from so many different backgrounds all find attractive about gangster rap, and artists such as Lil Wayne? Write up an analysis of this, using audience theories.   24  
  25. 25. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   Critics’ responses Responses to Carter IV: The rapper's album dropped Sunday after his performance on the MTV VMAs On Sunday, Lil Wayne released his ninth studio album, Tha Carter IV. And, the morning after its midnight release, the album's deluxe edition was the top iTunes download, while the standard version sat in the fourth spot. Lil Wayne's I Am Still Music Tour to Undergo Set List Change-Ups But, reviews of the rapper's first post-prison musical creation (he served eight months at New York's Rikers Island penitentiary for weapons charged) are mixed. Here's what the critics are saying. The Washington Post reviewer Chris Richards calls the album "disappointing" and highlights a specific verse that seems to inform then entire creation. "He suffers some Freudian slippage on the second track, “Blunt Blowin,” which mutates Aerosmith's “Dream On” into a club-friendly shape. “I stick to the script/Imemorize the lines,” he raps. “Cause life is a movie that I've seen too many times.” However, USA Today seemed to disagree, saying the album's delayed release was worth waiting for. "He comes armed with a steady stream of punch lines ("When it Waynes, it pours") over banging beats. And though he shares the mike with a roster of guests that include Rick Ross, Cory Gunz, Jadakiss, T-Pain and Tech N9ne, they're just icing on the cake." "Weezy doesn't have the same speed-demon intensity he had five years ago - and he's just as casual and sloppy about his approach to official album releases," says Rolling Stone. "So Tha Carter IV has experiments that fail, as well as a pair of star-studded guest track s where Wayne doesn't appear at all. Yet even the failed moments sound like nobody else - check out "It's Good," with its threat to kidnap Beyoncé so Jay-Z can pay the ransom money. That's impressively tasteless, if nothing else." "No one comes out of prison the same way they went in," writes The Boston Globe. "He got through that prison sentence 'like a subject and a predicate,' he rapped. But it’s not convincing, and when you listen to “Tha Carter IV,’’ his eagerly awaited new album released today, it’s evident he’s not the same person, let alone the same rapper. ...With “Tha Carter IV,’’ there are only traces of the playful wit that made Wayne so interesting to begin with." Spin declared Tha Carter IV the beginning of the rapper's end, saying, "Lil Wayne is not yet 29 and has been recording professionally almost exactly as long as West. But he is now, officially, on the other side of greatness. ...Some will point to the clunking nature of various "Carter IV rhymes as proof that his powers have faded, and lazy hashtag raps and puny puns abound, sure. "Have it your way -- Burger King." "Light that Ashton Kutcher." "I tried to pay attention but attention paid me / Haters can't see me, nose-bleed seats." But he's never been a rigorous editor -- a groaner or two always got through. ( Why Lil Wayne’s ‘Tha Carter IV’ Almost Sold A Milli Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter IV leaked with a resounding thud. Critical response was quick and overwhelmingly negative, popular reaction seemed mixed at best — #thingsbetterthancarteriv was a trending topic on Twitter for a little while. By all accounts it seemed like the first step towards Wayne’s creative downfall. And yet it Soundscanned 964,000 units in its first week of release. This is a pretty unbelievable number, so much so that many armchair internet critics were accusing label head Bryan “Baby” Williams of buying copies   25  
  26. 26. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   in bulk himself. (The conspiracy falls short of logic, especially since 300k of those sales came directly from iTunes, which would’ve required Baby to have either some particularly slick hackers or an army of credit card holders on his team.) To put things in perspective: that’s only about 50k shy of the first week numbers Tha Carter III did, despite significantly diminishing album sales overall in the four years since. If we were to factor for deflation it seems like he’s more popular today than he was at the height of so-called Wayne hysteria. He’s once again rewritten the rapper career arc, turning what should’ve been the beginning of his seemingly inevitable popular dip into a second commercial peak. It’s the second highest debut of the year, falling just short of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. That record was pushed over a million through 99 cent specials and weird telephone plan tie-in purchases. Wayne did his numbers with good old fashioned, full-price music sales. Despite all of his many missteps, Wayne is arguably the most popular albumoriented American music performer. He’s undoubtedly the most popular rapper, by a gigantic margin, having nearly doubled the first week sales of that little very important collaborative album that those other two most popular rappers released just a few weeks prior. But why? How could a record that was so universally written off in our world (be that your ‘our’ is the rap world, the critical world or the internet music world) go on to be more popular than he was in the first place? While we thought Wayne was falling off, he was merely broadening his brand. Where we saw his atrocious rock project Rebirth as just that, it only served to convert more casual outside listeners. While we laughed at his zebra-print jeggings and late-in-life skateboarding failures as a sad bid for youth relevance, young people somewhere saw all that as a the very picture of relevance. While we saw his jail stay as a missed opportunity, he used it as a promotional push. While he was locked up he had two of the biggest pop rappers to emerge — Drake and Nicki Minaj — under his vanity label umbrella and constantly singing his praises. The beyond-middling rosters at Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music and Jay’s Roc Nation could provide this vicarious boost. And while Watch The Throne is all crit-bait album oriented art rap, Wayne is in the preferable position of having actual radio hits – “How To Love” and “She Will” both hovering around the Top 20. We don’t want to admit it, but this is how you sell records today. For all this talk of the underground internet music conversation shaking the very foundation of the industry (Hooray for that indie rock band that won that thing!), the divide between the “serious” music listener and the popular one has never been wider. Radio listeners still buy albums and you still need a major label push to be on the radio. Point-of-purchase impulse buys by casual fans at Target checkouts drive the industry more than any amount of buzz. Like Eminem before him, Wayne’s been able to exploit this audience through the sheer force of ubiquity. His radio presence and cross genre saturation has helped him to touch as many of these low investment listeners as possible and now that he’s got their ears he’s charismatic enough to sell them anything. Even this, a mostly middling and straightforward rap album. This is how the industry still works. Pop stars are going to sell records to pop audiences until the day the earth burns out and right now Wayne is the best and biggest pop-rap star we’ve got. The quality of his music is irrelevant to that truth. ( Responses to I am not a Human Being II, finally released in March 2013, were mixed: Lil Wayne's 10th album I Am Not A Human Being II has spent a full week on the charts and the final tallies are in. Though his first-week numbers didn't match up to Tha Carter IV's monstrous sales, he still landed at #2.   26  
  27. 27. MS4:  Music:  Lil  Wayne   In total, Wayne pushed 217,000 copies, earning him a spot below Justin Timberlake's latest album The 20/20 Experience, which easily remained at #1 with 318,000 additional copies sold after getting close to a million in week one. In 2011, Weezy's LP Tha Carter IV bowed at No. 1 with 964,000 copies in its first week. The prequel to his current project, I Am Not A Human Being, landed at No. 2 with 110, 000 in 2010 as a digital-only release, before leaping up to claim the top spot two weeks later with 125,000 sold after the physical CD hit retailers. ( Lil Wayne’s focus may have shifted away from music since he picked up a skateboard, but he still keeps pumping out albums. The Young Money chief, who once proclaimed himself the “best rapper alive,” delivers his 10th album I Am Not a Human Being II to stores today. Weezy surrounds himself with everyone from Drake and 2 Chainz to Nicki Minaj and Trina on the follow-up to 2010’s I Am Not a Human Being, which features the singles “No Worries” and “Love Me.” Was he able to deliver a winning sequel? The critics weigh in. Rolling Stone: This is exactly the record you’d expect to hear from Weezy in 2013: a solid album by a brilliant MC who’s half-interested. 3/5 Los Angeles Times: I Am Not a Human Being II shows us Lil Wayne responding weakly to the unsettling prospect of weakness. Beneath the bluster, he might know it too. 2/4 USA Today: He used to boast that he was the best rapper on the planet. He’s surely not that on this sequel to 2010′s platinum I Am Not a Human Being,which was released while he was in jail. It is solid, though, often entertaining in the crass, lewd and rude way that’s uniquely Wayne. 3/4 New York Times: He still radiates exuberance and ecstasy and rebelliousness, the hallmarks of his rise to hip-hop’s creative and commercial peaks. But the words he puts together don’t shock the way they once did. Newsday: Good thing those rumours about him being in a coma and near death from too much cough syrup abuse turned out to be false because this would be one embarrassing final statement. (   27