How To Make A Milli
Katina Bynum, Universal Records Vice President of Marketing: "[Wayne's success] was a grassroots thing that no one's really responsible for. He was working four and five nights a week for the last year and a half, the guest appearances, writing for peopleâ€”just a whole Wayne phenomenon took holdâ€¦ Our whole strategy and Wayne's strategy was to keep him out there. He did mixtapes and he was just constantly honing his skills.â€
Robert Christgau, music critic: "I really find it hard to believe that his label would have preferred that he put out, what was it, 100 tracks? They accepted it. They understood it was a new world and they hoped that, eventually, they'd profit.â€
Jim Jonsin, producer, "Lollipopâ€: "He just needed that one hot song. The track [for "Lollipopâ€] was supposed to be for Danity Kane, but they passed on it, so I brought it to Static Major and Pleasure P from Pretty Ricky. Static loved it and wrote the top line to itâ€”the "lick you like a lollipopâ€â€”and the melody. Pleasure really wasn't digging it for himself. He thought it'd be a great idea to give it to Wayne.â€
Baby, Cash Money Records CEO/cofounder: "'Lollipop' really brought us there.â€
Bynum: "'Lollipop' broke all kinds of recordsâ€”the fastest single to number one. A lot of people expected him to come back just spitting, and "Lollipopâ€ was so different. I was hoping that radio would give him a chance and play the record. [But] I knew that out of all artists, Wayne would get that chance because he was just so hot they couldn't not play a Lil' Wayne single.â€
Chuck Eddy, music critic: "His visibility had almost certainly crossed over not only to pop and R&B fans, but to rock and indie fans who actually still spend money on albumsâ€”the same thing that seems to kelp Kanye, in other words.â€
Cortez Bryant, co-manager: "It was crazy. I knew it was gonna do big numbers. But we just didn't know [how big] because of the market. I was predicting, like, 600 or 700,000.â€
Bynum: "I must tell you, I was expecting a million because Wayne was so hot at the time. Everything he touched was just fire, and I thought, if anybody could do it, he could. And if you keep the ball at a million, then everybody works toward a millionâ€”there's no other choice.â€
Gee Roberson, co-manager: "Our expectation as a team was being confident in the fact that people would support the project, and he would do a million records the first week. Like the Right Guard commercial, â€˜Anything less would be uncivilized'.â€
Jonsin: "Wayne's like Kurt Cobain. He's troubled; he's not your normal rapper. He's just a bad boy, and chicks love bad boys, so they go buy [his] records."
Bryant: "He's chill. He just been doing the same thing. He hasn't really changed. He just recordsâ€”he's just still working. You don't understand how much crazy stuff we have now just since we put out the album."
Baby: "What Lil' Wayne's tryin' to accomplish is some different shit. The kinda year he's had is great, terrific, but there's still a lot to go in the young boy. It's just the beginning of a new beginning."--Clover Hope