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Lil Wayne Breaks Record for Highest Grossing Hip-Hop Tour

Lil Wayne has had a phenomenal year. After going triple platinum with 2008’s ‘Tha Carter III,’ everything the New Orleans native touches turns to gold — just take a look at his protege Drake. All things considered, it is no surprise that Weezy might be the first hip-hop artist to earn a spot on Billboard magazine’s top 25 grossing tours for the year.

Lil Wayne’s 2008-2009 ‘I Am Music’ and ‘America’s Most Wanted’ tours raked in about $42 million combined, putting them in line to be the highest grossing hip-hop tours that Billboard has on record, and pushing the 28-date Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige outing, which grossed $34.6 million in 2008, into second place.

“It’s definitely one of the biggest [tours] in the last couple of years,” Lil Wayne’s tour producer Shawn Gee told Billboard. “Our plan was to prove that Wayne was a viable headlining arena artist.” The two tours, a combined total of 78-dates, ran from Dec. 14, 2008 to Sept. 6, 2009 and pulled in almost 804, 000 fans. A diverse line up of artists and guest appearances by Drake, Soulja Boy, T-Pain, Keri Hilson, Gym Class Heroes and Young Jeezy helped draw the large numbers.

Gee predicts only higher numbers in the future, especially with the upcoming release of the much-delayed ‘Rebirth’ album. “We definitely want to capitalize on the success we’ve had and want to continue building Wayne as a touring artist and not just an artist that tours,” Gee said. “We established him as a headline artist and I think it grows from there.” Weezy will wrap up the national dates of his current “America’s Most Wanted’ tour on Sept. 10 in Mansfield, Mass., then head overseas for additional shows.

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