Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Sunday, 8 February 2009

Profile: Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III was the top-selling album of 2008 in the US

Lil Wayne's most recent album, Tha Carter III, was released in 2008 to universal acclaim and has earned him the Grammy for best rap album.

The 26-year-old rapper scooped four awards in total, out of a staggering eight nominations, including best rap song for Lollipop.

His solo performance on the track A Milli was also recognised by the US Recording Academy.

Lil Wayne performed his track Tie My Hands for the star-studded audience.

The rapper, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr in New Orleans, has helped redefine a genre, blending hip-hop with pop and rock music.

Lil Wayne recently had his first UK top ten single, Let It Rock, a collaboration with Kevin Rudolf.

The Hot Boys

At a prodigious work rate, Lil Wayne has released six solo albums in 10 years and was just 16 when he recorded his first, Tha Block Is Hot.

Two years earlier, he co-formed the Hot Boys - a collective of young New Orleans-based rappers, which caught the interest of local record label, Cash Money Records.

The Hot Boys quickly became one of Cash Money's top acts and have since recorded two albums.

Lil Wayne was recently quoted, confirming the Hot Boys plan on heading back into the studio to make another record

Outside of the US, it was Lil Wayne's Carter trilogy which brought him to a wider audience.

His profile was raised further by a guest appearance on the Destiny's Child single Soldier.

Tha Carter and Tha Carter III showed off a more mature side to the young rapper and both albums have alternative versions with numerous drug references and strong language removed.

Lil Wayne
The rapper is set to star in a forthcoming movie

From an experimental point of view, Lil Wayne has much in common with artists like Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, who have both crossed musical boundaries collaborating with artists outside of the hip-hop genre.

He even joined Kid Rock on stage at the Country Music Awards.

Rock influence

Sporting the traditional "bling" jewellery associated with hip-hop, Lil Wayne frequently tops up the look with custom-made silver and diamond encrusted teeth.

But with his long braided hair, leather jackets, lumberjack shirts and heavily inked body, he has more in common with the rock star look.

In fact, he claims to be a great fan of rock artists, citing Nirvana as a major influence.

During his live shows, Lil Wayne even takes out an electric guitar on stage, though the extent of his actual abilities remains hotly debated.

Lil Wayne's most successful album, Tha Carter III was released in the US in June 2008.

It featured collaborations with Kanye West, Jay Z and soul singer Robin Thicke and sold a million copies in its first week of release.

It has since gone on to become the biggest selling album of 2008 in US.

The rapper has had several brushes with the law, in 2007 he was arrested and charged in New York with criminal possession of a weapon and cannabis.

Lil Wayne has recently embarked on a movie career, acting opposite Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker in the forthcoming Hurricane Season.

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