After selling 3.2 million copies of The Carter III, winning a Grammy for his music, and earning a contender’s spot for the title of “the greatest rapper alive,” it’s safe to say that Lil Wayne is having quite the successful stretch. Now, Weezy has made another mark in music history, pulling in the largest grosses for a rap tour tracked by Billboard.
With 78 tour dates from December ’08 through September ’09, the I Am Music and America’s Most Wanted tours raked in $42 million in North America alone. After wrapping up the tours this coming Thursday (Sept. 10), Wayne will head to Europe for three more shows.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest in the last couple of years,” tour manager Shawn Gee told Billboard. “Our plan was to prove that Wayne was a viable headlining arena artist.”
The success of both tours can also be credited towards the eclectic lineups. Drake, Chris Brown, T-Pain [click to read], Gym Class Heroes, Jeremih, Young Jeezy , Keyshia Cole, and Keri Hilson are only a few of the acts who made appearances on-stage with Wayne.
“We strategically put the I Am Music package together to make sure that all segments of Wayne‘s fanbase would be interested in one, if not all of the opening acts,” Gee explained. “We had T-Pain as an opening act who’s had hits over all formats of radio; we had Keyshia Cole, who is more of an urban-leaning female; and we had Gym Class Heroes, which is more alternative.”
The second highest rap tour tracked by Billboard was 2008’s Jay-Z/Mary J. Blige jaunt, which grossed $34 million in 28 shows, followed by Kanye West‘s Glow In The Dark tour which pulled in $30.8 million in 49 concerts [click to read]. Although Hip Hip tours rarely gross as much as pop acts, Billboard predicts that Wayne will most likely make it onto their year-end top 25 grossing list.
“We definitely want to capitalize on the success we’ve had and want to continue building Wayne as a touring artist and not just as an artist that tours,”
said Gee. “We established him as a headline artist and I think it grows from there.”
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