Lil Wayne received a standing ovation on Tuesday night at the the 2018 Bet Hip Hop Awards, following a personal, emotional victory speech. The American rapper won the I Am Hip Hop Award for his contributions to the genre, including his latest effort, Tha Carter V.
Wayne gave a heartfelt speech all about “refusing.” He shared the stage with his mother Jacida Carter and daughter Reginae Carter and thanked them for never refusing to support him through his troubled times.
He also reflected on his suicide attempt more than 20 years ago. He dedicated his award to Robert Hoobler (a.k.a. Uncle Bob), the New Orleans police officer who he credits with saving his life.
A 12-year old Weezy attempted suicide following an argument with his mother, who told him he was “banned” from rapping. He shot himself in the chest — just missing his heart — with her pistol when nobody was home.
After an emergency call, he was found by Uncle Bob and brought to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Wayne claimed in the past that it was only an accident, but revealed the reality of the situation in the 2016 song Mad by Solange Knowles: “Or when I attempted suicide that I didn’t die/I remember how mad I was on that day/Man you gotta let it go before it get up in the way.”
He came forward again about his attempted suicide on the final track of Tha Carter V, Let it All Work Out. The lyrics from the final verse reveal it was intentional:
“I aimed where my heart was pounding / I shot it, and I woke up with blood all around me / It’s mine, I didn’t die, but as I was dying / God came to my side and we talked about it / He sold me another life and he made a prophet.”
President of Young Money Entertainment and longtime friend of Wayne’s, Mack Maine, revealed that the rapper wanted to write about the taboo subject because he wanted to help people in similar situations.
“He just told me one day that he was ready to address it now. Just being an adult, reaching a level of maturity and comfort where it’s like, ‘I want to talk about this because I know a lot of people out here might be going through that.’”
In a recent interview with ESPN, Josina Anderson asked whether the song’s content was due to the recent suicides of celebrities like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. “I can’t say that it did, because that song has been recorded for probably over four years,” he answered.
“I felt that way when I thought the album was supposed to come out [in 2014]. I thought, I just gotta get it off my chest,” he admitted.
Tha Carter V was initially set for a 2014 release. However, fans knew something was up when they hadn’t heard anything about the project all year. Lil Wayne blamed Cash Money Records for its delay at the end of 2014.
A feud with longtime partner Birdman (Bryan Christopher Williams) resulted in Wayne releasing the album on his own label, Young Money Entertainment.
Following the award ceremony, fans hopped on Twitter to share their appreciation for Weezy, Tha Carter V, and of course, Uncle Bob.
Wayne closed his speech with a humble thanks to his supporters.
“To my fans, to my family, to BET, to Uncle Bob, I refuse to stop. Thank you.”