By Brian Wynder Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
Brian Wynder is managing editor for HipHopBlog.com, developed and served as the video editor for RolingOut TV for four years and has worked in the arts/entertainment media industry for over ten years.
A little prison time did nothing to slow Lil Wayne's momentum throughout 2010. Still one of the most popular rappers in the industry, the man born Dwayne Carter has continued his run of chart success and shrewd business moves despite being incarcerated for most of 2010 due to a 2007 weapons conviction in New York City. But Wayne was able to make plenty of waves in 2009 prior to his sentencing and set the stage quite nicely for his late 2010 release.
In 2009, 'Weezy' was seemingly everywhere--being interviewed by everyone from Katie Couric to ESPN's Skip Bayless to David Letterman to the ladies of "The View." The New Orleans native was named #2 on MTV's "Hottest Rapper In the Game" list. and his Young Money imprint began its domination of hip hop radio, with upstarts like Drake and Nicki Minaj signing with the label and releasing popular singles over the following year. To announce the talent on the roster, Wayne's Young Money label released a 2009 compilation album. It was certified gold by the RIAA with over 500,000 copies sold.
The signings of Minaj and Drake, in particular, signaled Wayne's Young Money as a major player in hip hop.
Wayne was also featured in an episode of VH1's hit bio show "Behind the Music," and was a presenter at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. The 28-year old headlined the 'Young Money Presents: America's Most Wanted Music Festival'... a United States and Canada–only concert tour which ran through late 2009. He worked with alt-rockers Weezer on their album Raditude and remixed a song with pop legend Madonna. Wayne's rock album, Rebirth, was released in February of 2010.
On March 8, 2010, Lil Wayne was sentenced to a year in prison for the weapons conviction. His fans never wavered, with each of the rappers' letters from his cell at New York's Rikers Island spreading like wildfire throughout hip hop media sites and magazines. It was announced that the rapper would be released early, in November 2010.
Jail or no, Wayne left his Young Money label in strong standing. Young Money had four of the top 10 highest album sales so far in 2010: Drake's debut album Thank Me Later, his mixtape-turned-official release So Far Gone, Young Money's We Are Young Money, and--of course--Wayne's Rebirth.