After storming Sundance and escaping some legal entanglements, The Carter, the documentary about rapper and Rolling Stone cover star Lil Wayne is finally set to hit theaters. Executive produced by Quincy Jones III, the film takes an intimate look at Wayne's World circa 2008, the year when the 25-year-old MC turned from a prolific wordsmith to platinum-selling rock star — a star who is likely heading to prison on gun charges in the near future. The cameras follow Wayne as he screams at the Celtics, gets face tattoos, guzzles copious amounts of cough syrup and rattles unsuspecting journalists — the latter already inspiring Variety to peg the film as the Don't Look Back of rap.
Rock Daily caught a New York screening of The Carter last night. Here's a few things we learned — and/or knew, but witnessed first-hand — about Weezy.
He drinks a lot of cough syrup Like a whole lot. No doubt this counts as the scandalous portrayal Wayne's lawyers were talking about when they tried to stop the film from being distributed. Wayne drinks it from double-stacked Styrofoam cups. He drinks it from a Vitamin Water bottle. He drinks it from a two liter bottle of A&W Root beer — we also learn how to mix syrup with root beer and not get bubbles all over the place (don't try this at home, kids). His manager, Cortez Bryant, even painfully talks about how he can't ride in the tour bus because he hates looking at Wayne while he's on the stuff. Present at the screening, producer Jones told the audience, "I don't think we knew it was that to that extent," but also added that he doesn't think Wayne is addicted to the stuff since he's still one of the most productive, focused and punctual performers around.
He can record a song anywhere. Wayne brings his personal studio with him everywhere, which is why he can put out a zillion mixtape tracks a year. The Carter shows him unpacking and setting up his microphone rig himself — no roadies like those diva rock bands. Throughout the movie he's shown recording in hotel rooms and studios in what little downtime he has. He considers his music his legacy, and never writes his lyrics down at the risk that someone will release his journals, Kurt Cobain-style, after he dies. Says Wayne: No evidence.
He lost his virginity at age 11. "I got raped when I was 11," he explains to his 15-year-old Young Money protégé Lil Twi$t, "I loved it." In a clip that will surely be a YouTube smash when screeners leak, Wayne went into great detail about how he was fellated for the first time — and how his mentor Baby even set it up. "I was a different man after that," he said. "I was Lil Wayne."
His daughter is totally adorable. She likes Cheetah Girls, Chris Brown, the color yellow and will tell you about it in an awesome rap. See you on the cover of RS in 10 years, Reginae!
He has a whole ton of tattoos. Well, we knew this already, but when shot in HD and plastered on the big screen, you can chart his ink like a cartographer. The new ESPN logo, the Rolls Royce logo, the words written all over his face, the tattoos that cover other tattoos. Even a smiley face on the inside of his bottom lip!
No one loves Lil Wayne more than Lil Wayne. "I can't front," he says. "I listen to me all day." The Carter is full of shots of Wayne rapping along to his own music, laughing at his own punchlines, making sure everyone understands the reference to Boy Meets World character Topanga in one of his tracks. Everyone's been saying he's the greatest rapper alive, and it's doubtful he would argue.
Baby bought him a Rolls Royce when his album went platinum. It had a ribbon on it.