Lil Wayne and a teary-eyed Missy Elliott accepted the Recording Academy and Black Music Collective’s Dr. DreGlobal Impact Award — which was renamed Thursday night as they also honored Dr. Dre.
Lil Wayne, who signed his record deal at 12 and turned 40 in September, won over the audience with a touching and authentic speech that ended the night.
“I want you all to know that I don’t get honored,” he said at the Hollywood Palladium as singers, rappers, producers, songwriters, label executives and other industry players cheered him on. “Where I’m from, New Orleans, you’re not supposed to do this.”
“I walked into my mama’s room when I was 14. She asked me for a kid because my dad was killed. And her son had just blown up and went on his first tour. When I came home she said, ‘Son, I can’t live in this house by myself. We’re going to have to figure something out,’” Lil Wayne recalled.
“I’d like to thank Antonia Johnson,” he continued, referring to his first child’s mother, “for reasoning with me and my mom, and my life. I’d like to thank every single one of my kids and every single one of their mothers.”
Lil Wayne has won five Grammys, achieved more than 150 RIAA-certified plaques and is one of the most sought-out collaborators in music, completing more than 700 guest appearances. He also launched the careers of Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know who you all are tonight. Again, we don’t get honored,” he said. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I ain’t shit without you.”
DJ Khaled introduced Lil Wayne, saying, “I grew up listening to you and I’m older than you.” In video messages, Drake and Deion Sanders honored the rap vet, while 2 Chainz, Swizz Beatz and Tyga performed Lil Wayne hits to close the event.
“Good evening, Grammys. Well, I haven’t gotten to say that since 2016,” said Drake, who in recent years has declined to submit his music to the awards show.
“Lil Wayne…I love you so much,” he continued. “I know I probably get annoying with saying how much you mean to me and my family, but I think I speak on behalf of everybody when I say that our careers, our cadences, our melodies, maybe our face tats or our outfits or our decisions in general would not have been the same without your natural gift to just be yourself.”
Today he added fuel to that fire by dropping the new Swizz Beatz-produced track Kant Nobody, which features a sample from late DMX.
PLAY NEW LIL WAYNE “KANT NOBODY’