Lil Wayne concert trek grosses $42 million
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982), better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American Grammy Award-winning rapper. Formerly a member of the rap group the Hot Boys, he joined the Cash Money Records collective as a teenager. Get It How U Live!, released in 1997, was Lil Wayne’s first album with Hot Boys, and Tha Block is Hot, his solo debut, came out in 1999.
After gaining fame with two other albums in the early 2000s, Lil Wayne reached higher popularity with 2004’s Tha Carter and its two subsequent albums Tha Carter II (2005) and Tha Carter III (2008). He earned various accolades following Tha Carter III, including being nominated for eight Grammy Awards. He will release a rock album titled Rebirth in 2009.
In 1997, Lil Wayne joined the group Hot Boys along with rappers Juvenile, Turk, and B.G.; at age 15, Wayne was the youngest member at that time. Hot Boys’ debut album Get It How U Live! was released the same year, followed in 1999 by the group’s major-label debut Guerrilla Warfare, which reached #1 on the Billboard magazine Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #5 on the Billboard 200. During their career, the Hot Boys had two charting singles, “We On Fire” from Get It How U Live! and “I Need a Hot Girl” from Guerrilla Warfare.Lil Wayne was also featured on Juvenile’s single “Back That Azz Up”, which reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. Let ‘Em Burn, a compilation album of unreleased tracks recorded during 1999 and 2000, came out in 2003, several years after the group disbanded. It reached #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #14 on the Billboard 200
Early solo career (1999-2003)
Lil Wayne’s debut solo album Tha Block Is Hot at age 17 featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and went double platinum, climbing to #3 on the Billboard album charts. The album earned him a 1999 Source magazine award nomination for “Best New Artist”, and also became a Top Ten hit. The lead single was “Tha Block Is Hot”. After the release of Tha Block is Hot, Lil Wayne was featured on the single, “Bling Bling”, with B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Big Tymers.
His 2000 follow-up album Lights Out failed to attain the level of success achieved by his debut but was certified gold by RIAA. Critics pointed to the lack of coherent narratives in his verses as evidence that he had yet to mature to the level of his fellow Hot Boys. The lead single was “Get Off The Corner” which was noticed for an improvement in lyrical content and style, it also received a music video. The second single which received less attention was “Shine” featuring The Hot Boys. Near the release of Lights Out, Lil Wayne was featured on the single, “1# Stunna” with Big Tymers and Juvenile, which rose to 24th place on the Hot Rap Tracks charts.
In 2001, Lil Wayne was shot in the chest in Florida after “some groupies” fired two shots through his tour bus window. He recalled the incident in 2008 interview: ‘It [the bullet] ‘didn’t go all the way in, ’cause the window slowed it down.’
Lil Wayne’s third album 500 Degreez, released in 2002, followed the format of his previous two, with significant contributions from the Hot Boys and Mannie Fresh. While certified Gold like its predecessor, it too failed to match the success of his debut. The title was a reference to the recently estranged Hot Boys member Juvenile’s recording, 400 Degreez. The lead single was “Way Of Life” which like the album failed to match the success of his previous singles. After the release of 500 Degreez, he was featured in the single “Neva Get Enuf” by 3LW.
The final numbers are in for Lil Wayne’s 2008-2009 North American touring, and it appears the rapper will have the highest grossing hip-hop outing of the year — and the most lucrative rap jaunt that Billboard has ever tracked.
Seventy-eight Lil Wayne headlining arena and amphitheater concerts in North America from December 14, 2008, through September 6, 2009, grossed about $42 million and drew nearly 804,000 fans, according to Shawn Gee, Lil Wayne’s tour producer and tour business manager.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest in the last couple of years,” Gee tells Billboard.com. “Our plan was to prove that Wayne was a viable headlining arena artist.”
The second highest-grossing rap tour that Billboard has tracked was Jay-Z’s 2008 jaunt with Mary J. Blige, which grossed $34.6 million and drew 310,694 concertgoers to 28 shows. Kanye West’s 2008 Glow In the Dark tour comes in third, having pulled in $30.8 million from 49 concerts that attracted 507,853 fans.
Other lucrative hip-hop tours in recent years include 2005’s Eminem/50 Cent Anger Management tour, which grossed $22.7 million from 23 shows; and a 50 Cent tour in 2003 that rang up nearly $23 million in ticket sales, much of it co-headlining with Jay-Z on the Roc-the-Mic tour.
Hip-hop tours rarely crack the Billboard year-end list of the top 25 grossing tours, but it’s likely that Lil Wayne’s 2009 trek will earn a spot on this year’s tally.
The concerts promoted Lil Wayne’s 2008 album, “Tha Carter III,” which has sold 3.2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The rapper’s oft-delayed next album, “Rebirth,” is due November 24.
Although no specific touring plans are currently in the works, Gee believes that Lil Wayne will continue as an arena-sized headliner.
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