By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Lil Wayne is scheduled to bring his I Am Music tour to Dallas this week, but be warned before you drop $40 to $80 on a ticket: While New Orleans native Dwayne Carter Jr. has in many ways had the best year of his career, he's also repeatedly wasted fans' time when it comes to taking the stage.
Outside of the club, sure, Wayne had an impressive 2008. His heavily leaked album, Tha Carter III, went on to be this year's top seller, and is approaching triple-platinum status after only six months. His second child, a healthy baby boy, was born in October. And, earlier this month, he earned eight Grammy nominations—more than any other artist in the running. Oh, and his 26th birthday was marked by a gift of a million dollars snuggled into a Louis Vuitton briefcase by his mentor and de facto father, Brian "Baby" Williams.
But the accolades have obviously gone to Wayne's head because, aside from his surprise turn playing guitar onstage with Kid Rock at this year's Country Music Awards, he puts little stock in live performance.
Time is often an issue for Weezy; this year, he showed up as much as three hours late for gigs in Newark and Seattle. Sometimes the law gets in the way of his punctuality, as when he was arrested in Arizona in January after his tour bus was pulled over and found to contain large amounts of Ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine. Run-ins with cops are a regular occurrence at this point too: Last year Wayne stepped off a New York stage and into a weapons charge, and in October he was collared in Idaho on a fugitive warrant in Georgia that was later dropped.
Wayne has also been known to skip out on commitments, seemingly on a whim. In September, he refused to perform at Fashion Rocks, a high-profile New York event hosted by Condé Nast Publishing, even after going through rehearsals. The reason: He learned he'd have to go through a metal detector to enter Radio City Music Hall. He didn't bother to perform at scheduled shows from Boston to the Bahamas for unknown reasons, and a lawsuit is pending against Williams for failing to deliver Wayne onstage in Miami several times.
Still, it isn't always Wayne's fault when the show doesn't go on. At his first London appearance in March, audience members chucked bottles at the stage, cutting his set short. Last month, it was rumored that he postponed his second consecutive concert in Rochester, New York, after dissatisfaction with the venue's sound quality—a rare, but legitimate, excuse.
Of course, the I Am Music tour is a large-arena venture with higher financial stakes than the nightclub shows he tends to do, so Lil Wayne has a lot more to lose this time around. But is that enough incentive to reinforce the importance of Wayne actually showing up? Tough to say.
After all, the dude already has a big Louis Vuitton bag of dough at his disposal.