Lil’ Wayne opens up about surviving suicide attempt at 12

"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, you're not tryna let them know," Lil Wayne recalled.

Lil’ Wayne is the latest public figure to get real about mental health struggles.

The New Orleans native recently spoke candidly with Emmanuel Acho on Acho’s podcast Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Wayne recalled his first serious mental health crisis he experienced when he was just 12 years old.

He says the incident was sparked after his aunt scolded him for ditching school, telling the future rap star he wouldn’t be able to pursue his music career if he continued down a negative path. Wayne’s upbringing in the slums of New Orleans also contributed to him spiraling. He was left so despondent that he admits to having suicidal thoughts and grabbed a gun from his mother’s bedroom with the intention to end his life.

“I was just looking and was like you know what — start thinking I had to get myself mad and then noticed I didn’t have to,” he told Acho. “That’s what scared me. And how I know I have mental health problems was [that] I pulled the trigger.”   

Lil Wayne
Rapper Lil’ Wayne waits to perform at Foxtail Pool at SLS Las Vegas on September 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Wayne, 38, says he initially pointed the loaded gun to his head. He called the police before ultimately deciding to shoot himself in the chest which missed his heart.

“As a kid, all you remember is that when you’re going to see the white and I thought that was the white — I swear to God I did,” he said of the immediate aftermath. Officers located him at his home. He remembers being in and out of consciousness and hearing hard knocks at the door.

“Then, the knocking woke me up out of that, but then they stopped and once they stopped knocking I said, ‘OK, they must’ve left.’ It took too long. It took too long for getting me to that death. I was still just laying there and didn’t feel a thing, but it was taking too long. So, I said s— I am here for a reason,” he said.

Unfortunately, Wayne didn’t get the help from first responders one would imagine under the circumstances. Instead of rushing him to safety, he says officers gloated about discovering drugs. It’s unclear if the drugs were found on the scene or if the officers were referring to a separate incident.

“I was spitting all in his face, blood and everything and all I was trying to tell was I’m not a baby. He kept saying, ‘Do you not see the f—ing baby on the ground with a hole in his chest?'” he said, explaining his Uncle Bob also frantically arrived to the scene. “He was screaming at him [Uncle Bob] and he must’ve been the boss because they all came in the room and was like, ‘Oh sorry boss, we called the ambulance.‘ And he was like, ‘I don’t give a f—.'”

Even after the incident, Wayne says he was unable to vocalize what he was going through to his mother, Jacida Carter. His struggles persisted throughout his elder teens and into his adulthood. Having an absentee father also did not help.

Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne performs onstage at the UPROAR Hip Hop Festival at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

“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, you’re not tryna let them know, ‘I got something going on at home,'” he said.

Wayne’s suicide attempt changed his family forever, particularly the relationship he shares with his mother. The “A Milli” rapper has been open about battling drug addiction at times. But he says “maturity” has helped him cope with his mental health in different ways and alleviated the suicidal thoughts. 

Music has been his saving grace of sorts.

“That’s what I love,” he gushed. “That’s who I am I guess —a simple cliché. That’s who I was born to be.”

He also notes that his faith has gotten him through. Wayne previously spoke of the incident during his VH1 Behind the Music special.

Watch the interview below.

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