There’s no question about it, Lil Wayne and Drake are two of hip hop’s most iconic stars, and like all best-selling artists, the two are consistently being compared. When it comes to music, wealth and fame are typically downstream of popularity, and, arguably, Drake is currently more popular than Lil Wayne.
With a larger estimated net worth according to Forbes, Drake ($180 million) is richer than Lil Wayne ($150 million). By all accounts, both artists are dazzlingly wealthy, but Drake is in the prime of his career and enjoying the fruits of his labor.
However, on this occasion, the question of which of the two artists is richer is even more complex and fascinating because Drake was actually signed to Lil Wayne’s own record label, Young Money, for some time until he signed for Universal Music instead. With this being said, wealth comparisons between the two take on a whole new dimension.
Popularity and Riches
For Drake fans, it’s difficult to understand the comparisons with Lil Wayne in terms of popularity or wealth, because Lil Wayne moved out of the spotlight in recent years to focus on the success of the record label and the acquisition of new talent. Simply put, while Drake has spent the last decade emerging as a global star, Lil Wayne has taken a step back, having accomplished so much before Drake asserted his own credentials in the industry.
However, it’s well worth remembering that, as it currently stands, Lil Wayne has won more Grammy awards than Drake, and while that doesn’t always stand for much alone, Lil Wayne has also received all kinds of international recognition for his music. In fact, in 2012, the New Orleans-born artist even became the first male artist to surpass Elvis Presley with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with a total of 109 songs.
In terms of sales, Lil Wayne also drummed up some pretty astonishing statistics over the course of his career. In total, he has sold over 120 million records worldwide, including over 15 million albums and 37 million digital tracks in the United States alone.
On the other hand, while Lil Wayne has more Grammy’s than Drake, the vast amount of awards Drake has received over the years often eclipse the amount that Lil Wayne put together. For example, Drake has been awarded a record 27 Billboard Music Awards, while Lil Wayne has won just four.
On the subject of records, Drake has also consistently smashed a number of Billboard chart records. Not only does he have the most top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, but he also has the most charted songs of any artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, with 209 in total.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to differentiate the two on their achievements alone, but it’s clear that Drake has been riding the crest of a wave that Lil Wayne has bailed on in recent years.
Also, it’s worth saying that popularity isn’t always about awards and achievements, there’s often a far more human angle to which artists win the hearts and minds of their fans.
Lil Wayne has got in trouble with the law numerous times in the past concerning drug use and was even sentenced to one year in prison after committing a felony. While things like this construct part of the Lil Wayne brand, they also have a profound effect on popularity and fame.
Drake on the other hand does not have a bad boy image at all. In fact, he’s distinctly PG and accessible to a younger audience.
The Young Money, Cash Money Saga
In 2015, Lil Wayne filed a lawsuit against Cash Money Records, the label run by his friend Birdman. The lawsuit asked for $51 million and alleged that Cash Money were messing up payments destined for artist advances and overheads.
As the lawsuit got underway, many were surprised to see Drake become embroiled in the unfolding turmoil. For clarity, this didn’t concern Drake personally, it concerned a lucrative agreement signed by Cash Money and Young Money when Drake signed in 2009.
Allegedly, it was initially agreed between the two parties that Lil Wayne would receive an advance of $10 million for each solo album, but Lil Wayne ended up only receiving around $2 million instead.
The lengthy lawsuit, in addition to Lil Wayne’s incarceration all resembled big hiccups for Lil Wayne, and all hiccups no doubt impacted the artist’s own empire.
On the flip side, Drake continues to expand his own empire and rarely looks likely to come up against any similar obstacles.