Lil Wayne’s new book Gone ‘Til November, which documented his prison life in journals, came out this week.
After a book signing in New York City, Weezy sat down with The New York Times to discuss everything from the book to his career, Tha Carter V (which he says has been done for a while now), his contract dispute with Birdman and more.
Read excerpts from the interview below, and check the whole thing out on the NYT’s website.
Are there rappers in the new school that are motivating you? Are you keeping up with Yachty, Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Kodak?
“I swear to God I didn’t know you were saying people’s names just now, so that should probably answer that question. I just do my own thing.”
After being in prison, someone like T.I. made fighting for criminal justice reform part of his life. You’ve said Black Lives Matter was a wave that passed you by. Why haven’t you been attracted to activism?
“I believe there’s a bunch of different types of artists and musicians. To even notice what’s going out there — I’m trying to make these words stop popping up in my head, I’m trying to make them rhyme. I’ve got all kind of color lives mattering up in here — green, all kinds of stuff mattering. I’m trying to make sense of what’s on in this world up in here [points to head].”
In prison, you got a letter from a pastor who asked you to rap about God. You consider your influence and say, “I would have straight killers in the church every Sunday.” But ultimately you decide that’s not you.
“Not at all. I was on a sports show recently, and I was asked a question like that about black lives or whatever. When we got off the air, [the host] Shannon Sharpe said: “I really want to commend you for answering like that, because you didn’t make something up just to make yourself one of us. And to make yourself a victim.” I’m not that. And honestly, I don’t care. I care what’s going on with me and my kids and my world and my mom and who’s going to pay this next bill. That’s what matters to me.”
Is Tha Carter V an album that’s finished, or is it constantly evolving as the months and years go by?
“It’s done, sitting and wrapped as is. I just listened to it for the first time in months the other day. I had forgotten every single word on it, because I work every day. I popped it in, and I was like, it’s still so much better than everything I’ve ever heard. Not what’s going on right now — everything I’ve ever heard.”
When other artists came out in support after your retirement tweets, did that make up for how low you were feeling?
“I’d be a liar to say it didn’t. People always say, “How could not expect it?” But when I saw people giving a damn about what I’m going through, that made me think and obviously uplifted me. Sometimes what you’re going through takes you far away from what the reality is. It takes someone to remind you: Look this way and remember what’s over here. I never have bad days; I have bad moments.”
Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel with the label situation?
“I do. I don’t have to even look. I’m gonna make sure that there’s light. If there’s a wall at the end of the tunnel, I’m gonna shoot that [expletive] down. And there’s gonna be light behind that wall.”