It made record execs cringe, but Lil Wayne's three-year mixtape giveaway sealed his megastar status, reports Rolling Stone. After his last album underperformed, Wayne built an underground following with four free double-albums released on the Internet. The risky move launched Wayne's new single "Lollipop" to Number One on Billboard's Hot 100; the track became the fastest-selling ringtone in history.
The stunt generated huge buzz for Wayne's just-released album, Tha Carter III. "Of all the rappers that I ever worked with, Wayne was the only one that really believed in his music," said a fellow rapper. "He gave away a million dollars' worth of shit so people can buy an album for $9.99."