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Commentary: Lil Wayne opts for ollies, leaves rap industry to rot

Photo illustration by Jackie Storer / Managing editor of design, Photo courtesy of MCT

A roundabout expiration date for Lil Wayne’s music career was set this weekend as news leaked that Wayne will retire after the release of his upcoming album “Tha Carter V” in order to focus on his clothing and skateboarding careers.

But don’t fret, Wayne enthusiasts – the exact release date for “Tha Carter V” has yet to be determined, and his next album, “I Am Not a Human Being II,” is slated to be released Feb. 19.

After he wraps up his music career, Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., is set to focus on his recently launched clothing line, TRUKFIT. Upon the clothing brand hitting stores this summer, sales have skyrocketed, landing Wayne in yet another successful arena of merchandising and sales.

Since signing his first record contract at the age of 11 and reaching his first platinum album at 17, Wayne has had a huge influence in the rap game. Four of his nine solo albums have reached platinum status, selling more than one million copies worldwide.

Wayne recently achieved another landmark: breaking a record previously held by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. With his recently released collaboration “Celebration,” featuring Chris Brown, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa, he has accomplished an astonishing 109 appearances on Billboard’s Hot 100, beating out Elvis Presley’s previous record of 108.

Although I might not be the biggest Wayne fan or even the biggest rap fan, I did attend Wayne’s tour stop in Cleveland in March 2011. The rapper lit up and energized Quicken Loans Arena like only he could. Although the tour was almost immediately after his eight-month prison stint, Wayne fans were thrilled to see him onstage, making the arena’s walls vibrate with shrills and screams of every lyric from Wayne’s infectious songs.

In live shows, Wayne creates an atmosphere of celebration and is able to transform an arena filled with thousands of fans to feel like an intimate gathering of close friends. His lyrics, although I might not always be able to fully understand them, band his fans together and create an indisputable bond between audience and performer.

Seemingly countless names in rap, such as Drake and Nicki Minaj, have used Wayne’s superstardom to help launch their careers to fame. Without Wayne’s beats, a huge hole will be left in the rap industry.

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