Charismatic Southern rapper Lil Wayne began his industry ascendance as one of the Hot Boys, a Cash Money Records all-star group, and after establishing himself as a successful solo artist, he grew to become a critical favorite, known especially for his underground mixtapes. Two albums with the Hot Boys preceded his solo debut, the double platinum Tha Block Is Hot. Following Lights Out and 500 Degreez, Tha Carter signaled a change in direction, showcasing a more mature rapper who seemed newly emboldened. Tha Carter II debuted at number two on the album chart, and its two follow-ups both hit number one. As further editions of Tha Carter landed, he continued to bolster his reputation and increase his fan base via the mixtape circuit. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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