The Survivors: Lil Wayne

Our final November cover subject sat down with GQ contributor Claire Hoffman to talk about quitting syrup, getting hooked on skateboarding and running into his father outside of a show. The encounter with his father didn’t go well—that bit is below. The rest of GQ’s interview is here. Tomorrow at an exclusive interview with Lou Reed and his latest recording partner, Metallica.

GQ: Your relationship with your biological father seems complicated.
Lil Wayne:
He don’t give a shit about me. And I don’t give a shit about him. I know his friends be like, “Damn, nigga. That is not your son. Stop lying. Nigga, you could be living in a motherfucking ranch right now, nigga.” You know, whatever your father’s into, if you’re rich, you’re gonna get him that shit. I would’ve got that nigga all kinda harnesses, ranches—you know what I mean? I saw the nigga recently—I had a show in New Orleans. And I ain’t afraid to put this out there, ‘cause this is just how much I don’t give a fuck about a nigga, and I want people to see how you’re not supposed to be. I was parked at the hotel, and I saw him walking outside the hotel. Just walking back and forth. I’m like, “Look at this nigga! You gotta be looking for me.” If Lil Wayne got a show in New Orleans, the whole of New Orleans knows. Basically, you’re not there for nothing else but me. So I call my man on the bus. I’m like, “Nigga, that’s my daddy.” He’s like, “Word? Oh shit. That nigga looks just like you!” So I tell my man, “Go see what’s up.” So my man goes to holla at him. He tells my man, “Oh. I didn’t know y’all was here. I’m here waiting for this little ho to get off. Get off work from the hotel.” For real? That’s when I was like, “Typical Dwayne Carter.” So that’s what’s up with me and my real father. I don’t want to look like his ass, but I do.

GQ: Are the tattoos a way of not looking like your dad?
Lil Wayne:
Tattoos are just a way of expressing myself. Me being me. I just went crazy. I don’t know what happened. I think somebody slipped something in my drink, like a drug that’ll make you get, like, a bunch of tattoos.

GQ: How does life look right now through Lil Wayne’s glasses?
Lil Wayne:
I can describe it like this: Today I was riding up to the venue. I had just woken up, and I looked out the window, and there was like a billion cars in the parking lot. I turned to my girl, and I said, “Isn’t it crazy how all those cars and all those people are there to see me?” And the craziest part was I still could get that feeling. All this time, after all those albums, videos, all those awards and money and groupies and homeys and gangbanging and friends and no-longer friends. That I can still get that feeling, like, “Wow. This is amazing.” That’s what it is to be me. Yeah.

[Photograph by Mark Seliger]

The Survivors: An Exclusive GQ Video.
Keith Richards! Jack White! PJ Harvey! Robert Plant! Jimmy Cliff! Beck! Big Boi! Mick Jones! Lou Reed! Erykah Badu! (We Could Go On. And On. And On.)

OK, hands down, this is our favorite music video of the month. Behind the scenes at the photo shoots with every single one of the musicians in GQ’s November cover package, “The Survivors,” set to the sounds of My Morning Jacket’s “Outta My System.” At the risk of overhype, we get chills watching this cuz it’s such an insane group. Also: don’t forget to come back to every day for the next month for an exclusive Q+A with all of them. Today: Eminem. Tomorrow: Keith Richards.

GQ: The November Cover
Eminem, Lil Wayne, Keith Richards and 43 More Gods of Music

On our cover this month: an incredible photo portfolio by GQ contributor Mark Seliger that we’re calling “The Survivors.” The ones who keep going, evolve, even flourish, long enough for us to still be listening to them ten, twenty, even fifty years later. Forty-six artists about whom you’ll never say, “I only like their early work.” The legends—or legends-in-the-making—who refuse to die, quit, back down or shut up. Watch this exclusive video to see who (along with our three cover subjects) made the list. And visit every day for the next month for an exclusive Q+A with all of them. First up: Will Welch’s interview with Eminem.