Rap superstar Lil Wayne is seen as one of the most successful hip-hop acts of the past 20 years, but he says it was a soul legend that had one of the biggest impacts on his career.
Last week, Wayne did an interview with Variety for his latest endeavor with Apple Music, Young Money Radio, and he also spoke on his relationship with the late soul legend Betty Wright, who he considered like a “mother” to him. He first discovered her music as a kid because his mother would blast her records while she was getting dressed in the mornings.
“What stuck out was the talking on the records that Ms. B would so famously do,” said Wayne. “Another interesting and consistent fact about it all is that whoever played her songs knew every word of the talking part! As a kid, you’d have to sit there and have them try to act like Ms. B and talk to you like that. It obviously stuck with me.”
The Young Money boss got to know the soul legend personally when he moved to Miami and the two formed a tight bond that lasted up until her passing.
“She was nothing but a mother ever since. Not only to me but my friends and my daughter as well. She’s more than missed by myself and a world of others,” he said. “I have a lot to thank her for but I thank her most for my musical confidence! I can do anything.”
Wright passed away of cancer on May 10 at the age of 66, Billboard confirmed. Wayne has since been open about his appreciation and respect for the soul legend, who appeared on the Grammy-winning rapper’s acclaimed Tha Carter III in 2008.
Following news of her passing, Wayne penned a heartrending tribute to “Mama B” on his Instagram page where he wrote that she showed him how to believe in himself when others doubted him.
“Mama B idk what this world would’ve been without u. I do know that my world wouldn’t be what it is today without your pure blessing,” he captioned a photo of Wright. “You showed me how to believe in myself when others doubt. How to be me even when it may not be the me that they want. How to dig deep, then find it, trust it, do it.
“[You] gave me care on top of confidence. [You] gave all of [you] to and for all of us,” he continued. “I’d give my all for one last chance to say goodbye. Life is short, love is forever. I love you ma.”
(Photo from left: by Rick Kern/WireImage and John Parra/WireImage)