The Carter

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For the Lil Wayne album, see Tha Carter.
The Carter
Promotional poster for the movie
Directed by Adam Bhala Lough
Produced by Quincy Jones III
Joshua Krause
Jared Freedman
Starring Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
Bryan Williams
Cortez Bryant
Reginae Carter
Music by Lil Wayne
Cinematography Adam Bhala Lough
Edited by Andy Grieve
Distributed by QD3 Entertainment
Release dates
  • November 17, 2009 (2009-11-17)
Running time
75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Carter is a 2009 documentary film about American hip hop recording artist Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., better known as Lil Wayne. The film was directed by Adam Bhala Lough and produced by Joshua Krause and Quincy Delight Jones III. The Carter documents Carter in the period before and shortly after the release of his studio album, Tha Carter III, which achieved platinum status, critical acclaim, and was notable for selling one million copies in one week. After being shown at the Sundance Film Festival, it was subjected to a lawsuit by Carter to block distribution but eventually was released direct to DVD and iTunes where it topped the charts. Currently it has been yet again banned from legal sale but is widely bootlegged on the internet.


During the filming of The Carter between 2007 and 2008, no interviews were conducted with singer by the filmmakers. As Quincy Jones III told MTV,

"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.'"[1]

The film was shot in a completely cinéma vérité style, with the production team following the artist during his tours, and gaining interviews from his manager and other associates.[1] Lough said that the film is about fame and the "artist's life". Carter was filmed using marijuana and a prescription cough syrup in soda as recreational drugs.[2] The director Lough also clearly showed his strong work ethic which has enabled his high productivity, and said that Carter was always recording, whether on the road or not.[3] He is devoted to the process and working all the time.[4]


Although Carter was under contract to participate in the film and Jones said he was "ecstatic" about the final cut,[1] he later filed a lawsuit against it to prevent its distribution after the second screening at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[5] His lawsuit said that he was promised the final cut and wanted certain scenes removed that were still in at the Sundance screening.[2][3] A judge threw out the $50 million lawsuit, and the film was released directly to DVD on November 17, 2009.[3]

The independently distributed film topped iTunes movie charts in its first week of release.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The film is among the most critically acclaimed documentaries in music history. Jon Caramanica writing in the New York Times called it one of "the most revealing and provocative hip hop films," of all time, writing "It’s a little like watching Nero fiddle just before Rome begins to burn." [6] Brandon Perkins in the Huffington Post ranked it as "one of the top five greatest hip-hop documentaries of all time."[4] He writes that "it's Lil Wayne's commitment to his art that truly resonates."[4] Writing in The Guardian, Ben Westhoff wrote "it is one of the best music documentaries I’ve ever seen." [7] Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone and Complex have also placed it on their Greatest Rock Docs and Hip Hop films of all times lists.


  1. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Jayson (November 13, 2009). "'The Carter' Documentary Gets 'Intimate' With Lil Wayne, Producer Says". 
  2. ^ a b Roman Wolfe and wayne (2009-04-22). "Lil Wayne Loses In Court; 'Carter' Doc Greenlighted". Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The battle over controversial Lil Wayne film". November 24, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "CNN" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b c Perkins, Brandon (November 17, 2009). "New Lil Wayne Documentary: One of Hip-Hop's Best". Huffington Post. 
  5. ^ "Lil Wayne documentary gets release date and film trailer - video". NME. November 10, 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  6. ^ Caramanica, Jon (August 6, 2015). "An N.W.A. Biopic Heads Straight to Mainstream". New York Times. 
  7. ^ Westhoff, Ben (August 26, 2015). "The Straight Outta Compton Effect". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]