Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is one of the most successful rappers of all time. He is also one of the richest rappers in the world, with an estimated net worth of $150 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Though he has publicly downplayed his wealth, there is no denying that the former Cash Money Records artist has lived up to the labels name.
Lil Wayne Net Worth is $150 million
As a solo artist, his first 11 albums – starting with 1999’s “Tha Block Is Hot,” went gold or platinum, with all hitting number one or two on the Billboard R&B chart. Lil Wayne has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including more than 15 million albums and 37 million digital tracks in United States, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Lil Wayne recently announced that he was leaving ICM (International Creative Management) Partners to sign a new deal with CAA (Creative Artists Agency), who will take over sole representation. Lil Wayne currently has three songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and, most profitably, remains the owner of Young Money Entertainment, the label he created. The Cash Money imprint has a number of notable artists, including Drake, Mack Maine, and Nicki Minaj.
Here’s what you need to know about Lil Waynes’ net worth and how he makes his money:
1. He’s Been Rapping Since Age Nine and Made His First Big Paycheck at Age 14
Now 35-years-old, Wayne has had plenty of time to earn his considerable wealth having begun rapping professionally at the young age of nine. The rapper was born into an impoverished neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Raised by just his mother from the age of two, Dwayne (he later dropped the D to differentiate himself from his absent father) got his big break after leaving a freestyle rap on a voice message for Bryan Williams, the rapper and co-owner of Cash Money Records. This led to the release of his first album, True Story, in a collaboration with the rapper Baby Gangster.
His first major commercial success was as a member of the Hot Boyz, another rap group that again included Baby Gangster plus Juvenile and Turk. While their first album sold well – over 400,000 copies – their second release was a smash hit, debuting at #5 on the Billboard 200 list and certified Platinum in 1999. He reportedly gave his first paycheck of $6500 to his mom, who gave it back so he bought a car instead.
Hot Boyz were a boon for Cash Money Records. Based on the success in their initial album and individual acts, the label signed an unprecedented distribution deal with Universal Records, rumored to be worth over $100 million. This included a $30 million dollar advance and, most notably, an 80 / 20 (Cash Money takes home 80%, Universal 20%) split of the profits, something that had rarely been done before or again. The deal also provided Cash Money a $1.5 million credit for each of the up to six artists they would put out annual. These funds were used to launch several albums, most notably Juveniles’ 400 Degreez, a release that would be certified 4x Platinum selling just under 5 million copies. Cash Money records has been called the most commercially successful rap label ever, with an estimated net worth over $300 million. Birdman, real name Bryan Christopher Williams, the co-founder of Cash Money and a rapper in his own right, has regularly been named one of the richest rap artists in the world.
2. He Grew Up to Be One of the Most Successful Hip-Hop Artists of All Time
Lil Wayne’s first solo album,” The Block is Hot,” debuted in 1999, going double platinum and reaching number three on the Billboard charts. Wayne’s steady rise in the music industry was capstoned in 2008 with his sixth album “The Carter III”), his most successful release to date. In the first week it sold more than one million copies in the United States. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, one of Lil Wayne’s five Grammy wins. Wayne has been nominated 24 times, including eight times in 2008–the most for any artist that year. His number one hit single from the album Lollipop went five times platinum, along with two other singles certified double platinum. He followed that success with two more singles – “Drop the World (featuring Eminem)” in 2009 and 2011’s “How to Love” – which each sold quadruple platinum. Discs “I am Not a Human Being” in 2010 and “Tha Carter IV” in 2011 also hit No. 1 on Billboard’s overall albums chart.
On September 27, 2012, Lil Wayne passed Elvis Presley with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 109 charting songs. The record has since been broken by Drake, who is actually represented under Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment label, with an incredible 154 songs. Don’t feel bad for Weezy though–his number is still climbing to an impressive 135.
3. He Makes Around $600,000 Per Show
While his record sales are massive and impressive, he might actually make more money from his tours. Forbes estimates that Lil Wayne commands over $600,000 per show. For an artist that has done over 50 shows in a year, that is a major money earner.
Following the success of “The Carter III,” Lil Wayne embarked on a lucrative 2008-2009 North American tour. The tour earned an estimated $42 million and was, at that point, the most lucrative rap tour that Billboard had ever tracked. His success did not fall off. In its 2011 ranking, Rolling Stone found that Lil’ Wayne topped all hip-hop artists in touring revenue and ranked second in album sales, hip-hop songs, Youtube video views, social networking and awards.
Lil Wayne doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. The rapper has a busy summer planned, appearing at at least six music festivals.
4. He Sued His Label for $51 Million
Lil Wayne founded his own recording label, Young Money Entertainment, in 2005. It is an imprint of Cash Money and represents an incredible stable of artists, including Drake, Nicki Minaj, Mack Maine, Christina Milian, Tyga, and Young Money.
In 2015, Lil Wayne filed a $51 million lawsuit against Cash Money and label founder Birdman over the delay of his album “The Carter V.” Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment had a deal with Cash Money to deliver 21 albums during the seven-year period between 2008-2015 at the rate of no more than three albums per year. Lil Wayne stated that this agreement was fulfilled in summer of 2015; however, Cash Money argued he remained one short, specifically, Wayne’s next full-length album. Wayne also claims Cash Money owed the label millions in royalties.
The lawsuit also claimed that Birdman had spent up to $70 million of the $100 million advance Universal had provided Cash Money records. Birdman claimed to have spent the money on royalty payments, marketing, and recordings costs; however, Lil Wayne and his team of lawyers have stated none of the nearly 20,000 documents provided account for the mission money.
5. He Owns a Handful of Cars Costing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Each
As mentioned previously, after receiving his first check for rapping at the age of 14, Lil Wayne says he took the $6500 and bought a Nissan Pathfinder. His passion for cars has only grown along with his album sales. Cash Money Records famously bought Lil Wayne a Maybach as a gift when “The Carter III” went platinum in a week. His car collection has grown to include a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, which costs around $500,000; and a Bugatti Veyron, at one point the fasted production car in the world and, at $1.7 million dollars, also one of the most expensive. Not that Lil Wayne needs to worry, but if he does want to change the tires on his Bugatti, it will cost him another $30-40,000. Cars seem to be a common gift for Lil Wayne as his friend and protege Nicki Minaj gifted him a Campagna T-Rex 14R on his thirtieth birthday as a way to give thanks for his mentorship. The unique motorcycle-car hybrid costs around $70,000, which, given his other vehicle choices, seems rather reasonable. The rapper has also been reported driving a Cadillac CTS ($90,000), an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish ($300,000), and a Bentley Mulsanne ($300,000).
He has also collected an impressive portfolio of houses, including a 9-bedroom mansion in Miami that he recently sold for $10 million. It has a skate park, a shark lagoon, a glass elevator, and views over the water. Originally, it was listed at $18 million, so Wayne got a deal when he bought it for$11.6 million. However, he didn’t make any money on the sale and instead went to paying off a tax lien. He wSticking close to his roots, the rapper also owns a 10,000 square foot house in New Orleans and another, worth $1.7 million, in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
The rapper doesn’t limit himself to houses and cars though. He was famously photographed wearing a diamond-studded pair of Beats by Dre. These one-of-a-kind headphones were allegedly in commemoration of his The Carter IV album and were estimated to cost $1 million. He is also the owner of around $30 million worth of art, a fact that was revealed when the police raided his Miami home to satisfy a $2 million debt to a private jet company, Signature Jets. Lil Wayne was renting a Gulfstream II from them for a reported $55,000 a month, but stopped paying the lease.