Lil Wayne has opened up about his early musical influences, citing Jay-Z as “my Bible,” while crediting Missy Elliot as the reason he spotted the talent in Drake.
In a New York Times feature celebrating five decades of Hip-Hop, the Young Money Entertainment founder reflected on the artists who inspired him at the start of his career. He was one of 50 artists to document the genre’s evolution in their own words ahead of the fiftieth anniversary of Hip-Hop later this year.
Lil Wayne reflected on his beginnings as a pre-teen emerging out of the New Orleans Hip-Hop scene. However, he “fell in love with New York artists,” and “anybody from the East Coast.” While artists like Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes and Onyx, who he believed “woke up in the morning screaming at each other,” thrilled him, he considered Jay-Z a supernatural talent.
“To me, Shawn Carter, Jay-Z, was the god of words,” Lil Wayne explained. “He could’ve rewritten English books. I was introduced to Jay by listening to Biggie.”
The rap legend said he learned Hov’s “Lucky Me,” from his 1997 sophomore album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, “backward and forward.” The words became so significant for him that Wayne claimed he still opens “every show” with a section of the lyrics.
Lil Wayne Cites Jay-Z As “My Bible”
At about 16 or 17 years old, Lil Wayne discovered that Jay-Z, who was recently honored with an iconic exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library, doesn’t write down his lyrics. “I didn’t want to ever see a pen or paper again in my life,” he added. “Jay was my Bible.”
“You know when you’re watching a sport and you’re like, this person is just too cold, too damn good and they can do whatever they want? She was that person to me,” the five-time Grammy Award winner revealed.
In addition, Weezy said his appreciation for Missy’s talents helped him recognize the potential in one of rap’s biggest superstars.
“Before there was Drake and people who were rapping and singing, Missy was doing that,” Lil Wayne stated. “That captivated me, and I was moved by that. It made me want to do it. That’s why I loved Drake when I met Drake. If you’re around me, you know for a fact that if you’ve got a little harmony, a little melody in your voice, I’m about to make you sing.”
Read The New York Times Hip-Hop 50 special here.