ArtistDirect caught up with Mack Maine, Christina Milian, Shanell, Twist, Euro, Cory Gunz and Chanel West Coast to talk about the first time they heard and met Wayne and what it was like. Read the interviews below.
Mack Maine: It was a long time ago, when we were kids. I was into basketball and sports. At the time, there weren’t too many kid rappers, especially in New Orleans. This is before Lil Wayne met Baby and Slim. We’re from the same neighborhood. We’d be outside, and Wayne never wanted to play basketball. He’d be on the side rapping. As we got older, I honestly used to tell him, ‘Man, I thought you were weird!’ I’d be like, ‘Why is he just rapping on the side?’ [Laughs] He knew what he wanted to be way back then. He saw his vision, and he never changed since those days. I got to see the early Wayne when he was small with his light voice, rapping to whoever wanted to hear him. The older guys loved him. I was young, and I didn’t understand why he didn’t want to play basketball. He was the only one out there rapping. I understand it now [Laughs]. It was cool he saw what he wanted to do at a young age. People don’t even know what they want to do in college. He knew what he wanted to be at eight-years-old.
Shanell: I used to listen Wayne back in school. When I was a dancer on the road, they were on the same tour I was dancing for. I was dancing with the headliner. Wayne was actually one of the opening acts. I was throwing around my music and trying to get placements. He said the same thing, “You’ve got your own sound. It’s different and dope”. He asked me to come to the studio and work on Tha Carter III. I brought some of Bangaladesh’s music to Wayne, and that’s how “A Milli” happened on Tha Carter III. Everybody started coming down to Miami, and it happened.
Lil Twist: I don’t remember when I first heard big bro. It was a long time ago. I became a big fan of Lil Wayne when I was in the seventh grade. That’s right when he signed me too. I remember walking through school, and Juelz Santana was my favorite rapper at the time. I’d be fighting with kids in school who Wayne was their favorite rapper. A week later I got signed by Wayne! He’s unbelievable.
Christina Milian: We’re talking about when he was 14-years-old! Who didn’t know those guys? I grew up watching Lil Wayne, Baby, and Slim. There was an incredible start to what they did. The whole world was paying attention. To think now, 15 years later, that I’d be on a label with them is amazing. They were popping for sure. They all stayed current. Wayne works his ass off. It’s incredible. To see him do so many records, people look forward to hearing his music. It’s a big compliment to me to be on a label like that as well.
Euro: I got into Lil Wayne a long time ago when I was a kid. He’s a genius. I would listen to “Hustler Musik” every single day. I’d wake up to it. He’s the best, and I still can’t even believe that I’m so blessed to be a part of this label. I want to make him proud.
Cory Gunz: My dad bought me Tha Block Is Hot. That was the first time I heard Lil Wayne. I was playing that song for a good week straight in the house and just wilding around off the hook and beat alone. Then I saw the video, and I was like, ‘This dude is ill’. I knew it for a fact. That was it. I’ll never forget that. From there on, I did my own research on the family. I looked up The Squad—a group Wayne was in from New Orleans. There’s a lot people don’t know about him. Wayne’s one of the greatest—ever.
Chanel West Coast
Chanel West Coast: I first started listening to Lil Wayne in sixth or seventh grade back before there even was a Young Money Entertainment. I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning. I was a huge Young Money fan over the past few years. I didn’t even know I was going to end up signing to Young Money and I named my dog Weezy. Now everybody’s like, “You named your dog after you signed to Young Money”. I was like, “No, I’m just a huge fan of Wayne’s. That’s why I named my dog Weezy”. My girlfriend reminded me this one time we were hanging out. She was like, “If you could sign to any label, who would you want to sign with”. I said, “I would sign to Young Money. They have the strongest team. Wayne is the shit. That would be my dream label”. A year later, I met with Wayne and ended as a part of the Young Money team. As much as I knew this what I was meant to do in life, I had no idea I’d end up with Young Money. It’s crazy I said that and now I’m here.