According to a 2008 study, 1 in every 100 adults in the U.S. are behind bars. Of those individuals, we can probably count on one hand the number of people who essentially continued their lives uninterrupted; actually, we only need one digit: Lil Wayne.
The acclaimed MC was sentenced on March 8th, 2010 to one year in prison stemming from a weapons possession charge (though recent reports indicate he could be released in November). Yet, you wouldn’t know it. For one, just listen to a day in the life of Weezy, as detailed by the rapper himself during a recent radio interview from prison:
“I wake up around 11AM. Have some coffee. Call my kids, and my wonderful mother. I then shower up. Read fan mail. Have lunch. Back on the phone. Read a book or write some thoughts down. Have dinner. Phone. Pushups. Then I listen to ESPN on the radio. Read the bible, then sleep. Thats my day.”
He couldn’t even bring an iPod in with him either.
But more than lazy days in cell block B, the most astonishing thing about Mr. Carter’s imprisonment has been his ability to continually dole out new tracks. While he’s notorious for constantly recording, a fact that was probably put into hyperdrive in the days just before his sentence began, no other artist has continued to be this relevant while being completely shut off from his or her public. The following is a timeline of Wayne’s musical offerings while he pays back society with decidedly not-so-hard time. Musicians take note, prison may be a career bump.
Image via Lilwayne.us.
Pre-prison: “We Are The World” collaboration
OK, for this one Wayne was still free, but the sweet embrace of a prison jumpsuit was less than a month away. And in terms of ways to spend your time before a prison sentence, nothing beats hanging out with Justin Bieber.
Day 1: “Drop The World” video ft. Eminem
How’s this for a going away present? The day Weezy heads to prison, the video for “Drop The World”, a crazy post-apocalyptic burner featuring Eminem, debuts. At the time, most folks thought it’d be the last we saw of Weezy for a while, and by his behavior in the video, Weezy was more than ready to show them the error of their ways.
Day 25: Weezy starts a blog
Yes, you read that right; while some men find God in the slammer, Wayne found the power of the Internet. His blog, weezythanxyou.com,was his chance to communicate with his fans about his life and struggles. Plus, Wayne had to handwrite each response before it was transcribed; that is dedication. It’s all pretty humble stuff, save for ”no matter what they do to erase me, my love for you will always be permanent,” which we’re sure is an office supply reference.
Day 92: “No Love” w/ Eminem
After a little downtime (probably getting used to the food), Weezy returns with Eminem for a track featuring two guys at the top of their game. Arguably worse than being in jail, though? Eminem’s singing.
Day 99: Wayne remixes Jay-Z and Drake’s “Light Up”
It took a few months into his sentence, but Weezy actually dropped a verse over the phone from Rikers. It may not be the greatest addition to a song, but it sure is surreal enough to merit a listen and stand as the point where Weezy’s productivity in the clink really got going.
Day 121: “Steady Mobbin” video ft. Gucci Mane
Here we get our first look at Wayne, despite it being shot before his sentencing. Pretty standard Weezy fare, but once again it’s mesmerizing to see a man on your TV when you know he’s probably lifting weights in the yard at that very moment.
Day 147: 500 Days of Weezy
Not an actual Lil Wayne release, but anything that takes 500 Days of Summer and smashes it together with Lil Wayne deserves attention. Plus, if anything should remind you of Weezy’s awesomeness, it’s the mash-up between “Lollipop” and Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True”.
Day 149: “Right Above It” ft. Drake
On the same day as his aforementioned radio interview, Wayne decided to also break us off with a new song entitled “Right Above It”, featuring pupil Drake. It’s an ode to themselves, with blaring synths taking the role of the mighty bugle. Yes, even in prison, Weezy, with help from a particularly spot-on Drizzy, is doing better than you.
Day 192: The nachos of his labors
Like hospital food, prison food is meant to minimize cost, and probably taste, and maximize nutritional value. If there’s any consistency in this tale, it’s that nothing applies to Weezy. During his time in the big house, Weezy gets to enjoy Kool-Aid, beef sticks, Halls cough drops, Poland Spring water, Ramen, and other assorted goodies. Truly the sweet life.
Day 197: “Gonorrhea” ft. Drake
It’s one thing to have a few songs drop while in prison, but Weezy took the whole experience to a new level as he readied I’m Not A Human Being, which dropped September 27th, his birthday, and well over a month before his release. How’d he celebrate the occasion? With a song filthy for even his standards. Congrats!
Day 198: “Shades” w/ Diddy and Justin Timberlake
At this point, one has to chalk up this release to pure chance. How else could you explain two days of Weezy songs? And, by the way, that high feeling you get from this track probably has nothing to do with the sheer absurdity of both tracks dropping back-to-back.
Day 199: “YM Salute” ft. Young Money
In the latest song to drop from the new album, nothing sounds so sweet as Wayne reuniting with his YM posse/underlings on this proud, overly boisterous ditty about how great it is to be YM. A lesson to be gleaned from all this? Just continue to do what you do; everything should work out.
Day 199: “What’s Wrong With Them”
Another taste of I’m Not A Human Being on the same day; truly we are blessed. This time featuring his favorite member of YM, Nicki Minaj. This mid-tempo mutant fits perfectly with the batshit weirdness of the two MCs tackling it. Prison really can change a man, unless you already think you’re not a human.
Day 203: I’m Not A Human Being drops
Just over 200 days into his sentence and a tangible release from the Young Money kingpin is finally available. In case you hadn’t figured it out, the album instantly hit No. 1 on iTunes, beating out Eminem to top the overall charts. And with a physical release due for October 12th, Wayne may as well just stop pressing license plates and start printing money.
Day 204: The red-hot passion of Weezy’s fans
Even with his ultra-cushy prison lifestyle, it’s still hard time for Weezy, and no man can endure it without support. And Wayne’s fans are so enthused that their love and admiration is actually a fire hazard. In all, Wayne gets about 130 pieces of fan mail, way too much to keep in his cell. Or about 129 pieces more than we get from our family and friends.