The Sad Story Of Lil Wayne's Childhood Suicide Attempt

Despite decades of continued success, rapper Lil Wayne hasn't had an easy life. Before the hip hop star was discovered by Birdman at the age of 13, Lil Wayne attempted suicide because his mother said he couldn't rap anymore (via USA Today). Born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., the then 12-year-old musician shot himself in the chest with his mother's gun while home alone in their New Orleans apartment.

In previous interviews, Lil Wayne maintained that the self-inflicted gunshot wound was an accident. Most notably, during an interview with MTV's Chris Connelly, the Grammy award-winner lied when he said: "I was full of weed. Trippin', young, playin' with [a gun]. I didn't know that when you take the clip out the gun, if you cocked it, one [bullet] is already in the chamber. I didn't know it had been cocked. So I'm just playin' [and shot myself]. That was crazy."

However, with the release of his 12th solo album, Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne put all speculation to rest with "Let It All Work Out," the last song on the track list.

Lil Wayne was saved by an off-duty police officer

According to an article published by New Orleans' Times-Picayune in 2009, Officer Robert Hoobler saved Lil Wayne's life back in November 1994 as he cradled "the bleeding boy in the back of a squad car that day on the way to the hospital." While the article touches on the false narrative Lil Wayne weaved in the years before his confession, the story's focus on Hoobler's heroics remains true.

Hoobler arrived at the apartment complex after Lil Wayne called 911. He couldn't find the young boy at first, but upon further inspection, Hoobler soon heard the 12-year-old's cries coming from Apartment D. Without an available ambulance nearby, Hoobler and his partner rushed Lil Wayne to the nearest hospital in their squad car, where Hoobler spoke to the boy and shook him lightly to keep him alert. According to an ER nurse, their actions saved the future star's life. And Lil Wayne completely agrees. "This man saved my life," Lil Wayne said when he crossed paths with Hoobler at a local restaurant years later. "I almost died, and this man saved my life. I'll never forget him."

Lil Wayne opened up about his suicide attempt on his recent album

The penultimate track on Tha Carter V, features an outro spoken by Lil Wayne's mother, Jacida Carter. "I still don't know today. Was he playing with the gun or was it an accident?" the rapper's mother ponders (via MTV). "I never really found out about what really happened with him and that shooting."

However, the third verse of the final track, "Let It All Work Out," sheds light on the situation: "I found my mama's pistol where she always hide it / I cry, put it to my head and thought about it / Nobody was home to stop me, so I called my auntie / Hung up, then put the gun up to my heart and pondered / Too much was on my conscience to be smart about it / Too torn apart about it, I aim 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."

Lil Wayne has alluded to the truth behind his suicide attempt before. On Solange's "Mad," Lil Wayne sings: "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."

Lil Wayne's confession came in the wake of multiple high-profile celebrity suicides

According to Mack Maine, president of Young Money Entertainment, Lil Wayne's confession wasn't part of the song at first, but the rapper opted to add the new lyrics after both designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain died by suicide in 2018. "He just told me one day that he was ready to address it now," Maine told Billboard. "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 joint interview alongside fellow Louisiana native Odell Beckham, Jr., Lil Wayne told ESPN's Josina Anderson why he chose to share his story after all these years. "The thought process doing that verse is... What made me do it was just, [I] was ready to get it off my chest," he said. According to Essence, Lil Wayne also noted that he actually recorded the song years before its release. "That song has actually been recorded for probably over four years," he explained. "I felt that way when I thought the album was coming out. I was ready to come out with it then."

If you or someone you know are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to speak with a trained counselor who can help.