Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., aka Weezy F baby (please say the "baby"), has become a cultural icon in music representing New Orleans. The Big Easy has given birth to many music greats such as Master P, Lloyd, August Alsina, the late Louis Armstrong, and many more.
However, perhaps the quintessential rap G.O.A.T. of NOLA in the current climate is Lil' Wayne. The Hollygrove native has not only given hip hop fans a myriad of great songs, a solid discography, and features with easily recited one-liners, but he's also given back to his hometown.
In 2005, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina saw help pour in from numerous sources. During the recovery stage, Wayne helped to rebuild a park that had suffered destruction by donating $200,000. His financial contribution was based on his days playing in the park as a kid—sentimental value at its finest.
Wayne also collaborated with fellow rapper T.I. back in 2012 to shoot the video for the song "Ball" off T.I.'s Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head album.
Since his public feud with Cash Money—the label led by Birdman that nurtured Lil' Wayne's career as a teen—Wayne has now been signed to Roc Nation. Before that relationship soured, Wayne and Birdman teamed up to give New Orleans families 1,000 turkeys during Cash Money's annual turkey giveaway.
Let's also not forget that era where Wayne and his relationship with a skateboard became frequent in the media. Well, that interest turned into the creation of his TRUKSTOP, located in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Sponsored by soft drink company Mountain Dew, the skate park was set up as another way to improve upon the post-Katrina devastation.
With all those volunteered deeds to benefit others, let's still remember one other thing—music. On June 2, Wayne's Twitter was ablaze from fans when he tweeted, "New Orleans I love you and Thank You!! Let's celebrate once again!!"
That tweet came in early to announce the third annual Lil Weezyana Festival, scheduled for August 25 at Champions Square. Established in 2015, the festival included greats like Master P, Mia X, Drake, and Big Freedia. The following year had another solid roster with the likes of Chris Brown, Yo Gotti, Mystikal, 2 Chainz, and more. The first year of the festival sold out in advance and helped further the popularity of artists like Drake.
While the special guests for this year have yet to be announced, fans can only hope for another Hot Boys on-stage reunion and maybe even an appearance from another native rapper, Juvenile, whose infectious single "Back That Thang Up" still finds itself in the popular archives that never die.
Last year's festival had some added significance to it as it coincided with the 11th anniversary of Katrina. Although one can only speculate whether there will be any homage paid for the 12th anniversary, anticipation will still be accounted for.
And as we exit, let's all say, "Weezy F baby, please say the baby."
Ticket-seekers can go to champions-square.com to get tickets, which start at $65 dollars. The show is sponsored by Morris Bart at Bold Sphere Music.