Interviews MTV
MTV: Young Money Stays Strong In Lil Wayne’s Absence

It’s been a trying time for the Young Money camp since Lil Wayne began his yearlong prison bid. The rapper’s sentencing and subsequent jail stint were delayed numerous times before he finally entered New York’s Rikers Island. Nicki Minaj called the experience “confusing.”

“His actual time to go in had been changing, up and down,” she said during mtvU Spring Break. “So it’s been an emotional roller coaster for all of us involved because we never knew when the last text message or that last hug was the actual last text message or hug. It was very, very strange. We wouldn’t wish it on any crew in the game.”

Lil Wayne took advantage of the additional time he was afforded to shoot more videos — he shot nearly 20 clips leading up to his imprisonment — and to make a guest appearance during Young Jeezy’s set on Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 Tour stop in New York. While Wayne is away, his team has pledged to keep the YM torch scorching hot.

Drake vowed to take the lead in Wayne’s absence. “I’m gonna do everything I told him I would do, what I said in the song [‘Over’]: keep us afloat till he gets back,” he told MTV News. “You won’t even notice he’s gone. Promise.”

Minaj described the unusual circumstances that led to her, Drake and the rest of the Young Money crew appearing at mtvU Spring Break without Lil Wayne. Last year, Wayne was a part of the festivities, which also included performances by Jim Jones, Asher Roth and Kid Cudi. He brought Drake and Nicki along as guests during his set.

Now, it’s their turn to apply the lessons Wayne taught them, Nicki said. “We remember last year being at MTV Spring Break, and Wayne was obviously the headliner,” she recalled. “He’s so much more than a headliner, he’s a person that I look at, and I can’t believe this guy is still going, after 20 to 30 minutes in the hot sun. To not have him here, it’s like a life lesson for all of us — always work as if we have no one else to depend on — and that’s what he teaches us. He did, like, 1,000 videos before he went in, knowing that he had to go to jail. A lot of us wouldn’t do that. A lot of us would be curled up on a ball like, ‘Oh my God, my life is about to be over.’ So shout-out to Lil Wayne. We’re honored that he chose each and every one of us, handpicked us. And we love him.”

Young Money will appear on the “Sucker Free Countdown” Sunday at noon on MTV2 when Funkmaster Flex will interview the camp.

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Who is Nicki?

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, and songwriter.
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Release: June 18, 2022

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