The Big Brand of Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne has been on the music scene so long that you just might forget that he was still a boy in the 1990s. But he’s no longer that young kid from Cash Money Records. He’s now one of the most respected and recognizable brands that Hip Hop has ever bred. Lil Wayne’s intense lyrical skills and signature style practically put New Orleans on the map, while earning him countless fans all over the world.
While lots of hip-hop celebrities are notorious for advertising their flamboyant lifestyles, Lil Wayne’s outspokenness appears to touch people on a much deeper level. You get the impression that there is an old soul living within that rather diminutive, tattooed body. His raspy New Orleans twang belies his age; this is why when Lil Wayne talks, the world listens.
Celebrity entrepreneurs do more than just endorse popular products. As such, Lil Wayne’s entrepreneurial skills may seem hidden to the untrained eye. But it takes a skilled businessman to chart a course throughout the R&B/hip-hop community as successfully as he has. In fact…few have ever managed to do it.
While busy exploring new genres and taking his music to new heights, Lil Wayne has for all intents and purposes, dipped into some rather unfamiliar territory. There are few rap artists who have such strong ties to the sports world, particularly ESPN. But through the network Lil Wayne has introduced himself as a walking, talking brand. His presence in sports culture is rapidly growing legs—as is evidenced by his cameo appearance in LeBron James’ Nike commercial and a narration for a Gatorade ad. He is also one of the few hip-hop stars to parlay his love of sports into a lucrative side career. Lil Wayne started a sports blog in 2008 and even spent some time at the round table on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.” That’s pretty impressive for a young man from the 17th Ward. Is Lil Wayne destined for a permanent career in sports? Stranger things have happened.