NEW YORK — Lil Wayne lives by his own rules when it comes to recording music and, apparently, when it comes to making movies too.
The rapper is the subject of the forthcoming documentary "The Carter," set for a straight-to-DVD release Tuesday. The film, much like Wayne's records, is anything but conventional.
In fact, according to the project's producer, Quincy Jones III ("Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel," "Beef"), the Cash Money Records lyricist shunned the idea of a typical documentary in favor of a more raw, vйritй look at his life.
"Typically, when we do documentaries, we sort of have a general understanding of what story we want to cover, and we'll go get interviews to cover the gaps in the story. And we'll do a lot of historical background and summarizing and stuff like that," Jones told MTV News. "With Wayne, he was like, 'I don't want to do anything that's really missionary. I want to give this a whole, new, fresh approach, so I don't necessarily want to do a formal sit-down interview.' And, I think, long-term, that worked out better for us, because sometimes when people do sit-town interviews and it's like a formal interview, you have a chance to do knee-jerk responses, and a lot of the questions will be similar to what other people have asked him. In this case, we were like a fly on the wall in his life for, like, seven months before he dropped [ Tha Carter III ] and about two or three months after."
On Thursday night, E! reporter Ben Lyons and Shade 45 satellite-radio host Angela Yee hosted a screening for "The Carter" at Manhattan's Landmark's Sunshine Cinema. The film follows the superstar on his travels to Amsterdam, Los Angeles and all points in between. The documentary opens with the rapper in his hotel room overseas, where he's recording material via a makeshift setup: a laptop, headphones and his trusty microphone. Wayne dances to a track that's inaudible to the audience. Soon, he starts rapping aloud, and it's part of what would later become his verse to T.I.'s "Swagga Like Us."
Throughout the documentary, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, Wayne is captured in a series of candid moments. Though Wayne was never formally interviewed for the project, he agreed to let the cameras film him, and several members of his camp spoke at length about him, from Birdman to manager Cortez Bryant to daughter Reginae Carter, who playfully kicked a rhyme that showed her own musical skills.
The film was stuck in a legal battle when Lil Wayne attempted to have the project's release blocked. Earlier reports suggested he was unhappy with the final cut. Jones said the rapper actually saw the finished version of the documentary and was ecstatic over it. The producer said he's unsure what caused the grievance but offered that the film is a fair and "intimate" look at the life of one of hip-hop's hottest MCs.
"That's a real special time in his career and life [when we filmed him]. He'll never get that window back," Jones said. "That's, like, the best time. We caught him leading up to Tha Carter III and then right after, when he went platinum [in the first week of release]. We were on the bus with him when he got the message. It was cool, because I think this is probably by far the most intimate film we've ever done, because he gave us so much access."
Check out everything we've got on "The Carter."
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