Veteran rapper Lil Wayne recently opened up about his mental health struggles during childhood as well as his suicide attempt at the age of 12 with the hopes of encouraging people who may be facing similar problems to seek help.
The 38-year-old rapper spoke about that part of his life on Sunday during a sit-down with Emmanuel Acho on his “Uncomfortable Conversations” video series. Born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., the A Milli rapper has in the past spoken about his childhood experiences and struggles – including an incident that almost cost him his life after he shot himself. He was 12 years old at that time.
And though the Grammy award-winner had initially claimed the near-fatal incident was an accident, he revealed it was actually a suicide attempt during an interview with Billboard in 2018. In Sunday’s interview, the New Orleans native told Acho his internal struggles started when he was 10 years old – particularly around the period he was told he couldn’t rap, Page Six reported. He said that was when he actually realized he wouldn’t mind dying for doing what he loved most.
“When you have no one to vent to, no one to get this out to, you can’t bring it to your friends at school because you’re still trying to be cool to them,” Lil Wayne said. “You’re not tryna let them know, ‘I got something going on at home.’”
“There is no bar to measure how real [mental health is]. It’s real,” he added. “It’s so real that if someone even has the guts, the heart, the bravery, whatever to at least admit that they have something going on up there that they’re not sure about, it’s so real that we should only react in the realest way possible.”
The Lollipop rapper said his struggles persisted and led him to almost committing suicide at the age of 12. That was after he got worried his mother would make him stop rapping because she got to know he was skipping school.
Prior to shooting himself, Lil Wayne said he called the police before making his way to his mother’s bedroom to grab her gun. And he said he ended up shooting himself in the chest after he gave up the idea of shooting himself in the head because he got scared. But when the police arrived, the rapper recalled some of the officers ignored him, though he was injured and was in need of medical attention. He said they were rather interested in the drugs and the gun they found in the home.
“It took a guy [an officer] named Uncle Bob. And he ran up there, when he got to the top of the steps and saw me there, he refused to even step over me,” he recalled. “One of them yelled like, ‘I got the drugs.’ And that’s when he went crazy. He was like, ‘I don’t give a (expletive) about no drugs. Do you not see the baby on the ground?’”
Lil Wayne also added the officer gave him assurance and took him to a hospital. “You’re not going to die on me,” he recalled the officer telling him. The rapper said his attempt at taking his own life eventually made his family get their act right.
“The mom that I knew before that day … I have never met or seen or heard that lady again in my life,” he said.
Tha Carter III rapper, who also revealed he experienced mental health episodes well into his teens and 20s, told Acho he was telling his story to encourage people struggling with mental health issues to not be hesitant in seeking help.
“[I’m] hoping I can help anyone else out there who’s dealing with mental health problems by… being vulnerable,” Lil Wayne said. “To me, I look at it by being brave and stepping up.”