Alex Mateo // The Photo Access/The World Access
"Two words you never hear: Wayne quit..." — "Mr. Carter" (2008)
For a couple of years now, Lil Wayne has been playing with thoughts of retirement from rap, but it looks as though the Young Money rapper has come to a decision just as the nasty court battle between him and his label Cash Money continues.
I AM NOW DEFENSELESS AND mentally DEFEATED & I leave gracefully and thankful I luh my fanz but I'm dun— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 3, 2016
Taking to Twitter in the wee hours of Saturday morning (September 3), Wayne wrote that he is "mentally" drained and willing to "leave gracefully." In the closing characters, he revealed the following heart-rending note for fans: "I leave gracefully and thankful I luh my fanz but I'm dun." As noted, Wayne has been teasing his last hurrah for quite some time now. In 2013, the rapper famously appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and said he was looking to retire after the fifth installment of Tha Carter. "I want to retire after Tha Carter 5, which I hope will be my last album," the rapper revealed. Of course, this is the same album that has since become the center of the uphill legal battle between Weezy and his adoptive father figure, mentor and Cash Money Records CEO Birdman.
In December 2014, Wayne rocked the music world with a series of tweets blasting Cash Money — the imprint that has released all of his albums since he was 16 years-old and home to the Young Money label he founded in 2005 – likening his contract to purgatory. "To all my fans, I want you to know that my album won't and hasn't been released bekuz [label co-founder] Baby and Cash Money Records refuse to release it," he wrote, while also revealing the reason behind the LP's long-standing delay. "I want off this label and nothing to do with these people, but unfortunately it ain't that easy." Eight weeks later, Wayne sued the Cash Money Records CEO for $51 million, citing an array of alleged financial mishandling, including failure to pay owed advance money and royalties stemmed from a 2012 deal that guaranteed the rapper a whopping $10 million advance per album. Earlier this year, it seemed like the pair made amends after they reunited onstage in Miami. However, things quickly went back to "F—k Cash Money" after the "A Milli" rapper pulled the plug on all settlement talks with his former label to pursue the $51 million lawsuit.
As far as retirement goes, Weezy has been toying with the idea for almost five years now. "Man, I’ve been rapping since I was 8 years old. I'm 30 now, man," he told MTV in a 2012 interview. "That's a long time, man." As Cash Money's long-standing flagship artist, Wayne has released over 30 projects (albums, mixtapes, EPs) over the course of almost two decades. "I plan on it being my final solo album," he reiterated in a 2014 interview. "It seems like it will be impossible for me to work this hard again for anything else."
Since the legal drama ensued, Wayne released three projects, including Sorry 4 the Wait 2, No Ceilings 2, and The Free Weezy Album. Earlier this year, he joined 2 Chainz for the collaborative album, ColleGrove.
ain't lookin for sympathy, just serenity— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 3, 2016
Over the last couple of weeks, the 33-year-old rapper has been frank in regards to his stance with Birdman and Cash Money, repeatedly chanting "F—k Cash Money" on occasions, including Lil Weezyana Fest in New Orleans last weekend and his surprise appearance in Miami for Drake’s Summer Sixteen tour stop.
After sending out the subtle retirement tweet early Saturday morning, fans were left shocked and worried.
Lil Wayne was the greatest rapper we ever saw in our lifetime. This like watching Kobe retire all over again 😪— DEANTE' HITCHCOCK (@DeanteVH) September 3, 2016
WAYNE DESTROYED THIS HE WILL ALWAYS BE TOP 10 pic.twitter.com/HvlHbDK5Ow— 7 God (@SchamaNoel) September 3, 2016
@LilTunechi you can't retire wayne! We still need c5. Don't let birdman defeat you and the fans. you were supposed to retire at 35— Brian Sporman (@BrianSporman) September 3, 2016
Although it is unclear whether or not Wayne's tweet will stand, the news sparked reactions from stars like Missy Elliott, Rick Ross, Lupe Fiasco, Chance the Rapper and more.
get Birdman on the phone. https://t.co/pYr0WIeaYY— Yung Rénzél (@rickyrozay) September 3, 2016
Dear @LilTunechi I just wanna remind you that absolutely nothing and no one in this world can defeat you. Tell them devils back back.— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) September 3, 2016
U put in so much work. Inspired so many. I will always be grateful for the impression u left on me a a kid. https://t.co/Uh4iYQHxJI— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) September 3, 2016
Grab ur favorite ladies take em with u on a jet somewhere awesome. Get head by a waterfall. Record new song about it https://t.co/Uh4iYQHxJI— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) September 3, 2016
@LilTunechi Prayers up 4 whatever u may be enduring right now this to will pass & may u find PEACE🙏🏾 I will always be a fan of your work🙌🏾— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) September 3, 2016
An inspiration who made being lyrical cool & pushed rappers in all sectors of the art to reach higher bar after bar https://t.co/5d1XYWjN4x— EG| Lupe Fiasco (@LupeFiasco) September 3, 2016
I hope you find some solace in the act of creating and continue to practice in some capacity the art which you helped progress @LilTunechi— EG| Lupe Fiasco (@LupeFiasco) September 3, 2016
Prior to the tweet, Wayne had been prepping a sixth installment to his Dedication mixtape series while the long-gestating wait for C5 carries on. He is set to perform at Made In America, alongside 2 Chainz, this weekend.