Lil Wayne was expected to begin serving his one-year sentence on a weapons-possession charge on Tuesday (February 9), and while that sentencing was postponed until March 2, the MC has spent recent weeks manically recording music and videos — and over the past weekend, he hit the latter with a vengeance.
Cash Money chiefs Ronald "Slim" Williams and his brother Brian (a.k.a. Baby, a.k.a. the Birdman) enlisted Rousseau to shoot nine videos for Lil Wayne during Friday, Saturday and parts of Sunday. The director said he and his crew started setting up for the production around 9 a.m. Friday and the last camera stopped rolling at around 8 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.
"We shot some sh-- from the [We Are Young Money compilation] album, we shot something from [Wayne's forthcoming] Tha Carter IV. Some stuff from [Wayne's recent LP] Rebirth," the director told MTV News on Tuesday, before Wayne's sentencing was postponed. "We knew what our deadline was. We're trying to get maximum coverage for Wayne. Most of the time we only shot Wayne's verses — we'll finish the rest of the videos off in the next couple of weeks.
Rousseau, who had previously directed the soon-to-be-released Young Money video "Roger That" and the recently released Kevin Rudolf/ Wayne/ Birdman/ Jay Sean collaboration "I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)," said the Williams brothers contacted him two weeks ago about his huge task.
"We were put on hold," Rousseau said. "Cash Money said, 'This is our deadline. This is a hard deadline.' It was basically a 'Mission: Impossible' [scenario]: This is your mission if you choose to accept it. Everybody is onboard because everybody knows what's at stake. Unlike T.I. and some of these other guys that's disappeared while they were in, the point is to keep Wayne [visible] on TV and everything for whatever time he's in. There was a plan in action. Slim and Baby really could foresee that. He's at the height of his career, you can't let that momentum slip."
Some of the videos that were shot over the weekend were "Da Da Da," "Knockout" and "Get a Life" from Rebirth and a brand-new Weezy song from the highly anticipated Carter IV. "Da Da Da" features the rock band !Mayday! — which performed at Wayne's "farewell" party on Sunday night — and was shot on location at the Marlin Hotel in Miami. The rest of the clips were filmed at the New Art studio in North Miami in front of a green screen and white background, so footage can be added later.
"There isn't a title for it," Rousseau said of the Carter IV song. "Honestly, I can't tell you too much about it. That was a complete secret. We had to kick everyone off the set for it. No photography, even their official photographer had to leave. That's under wraps. The album is still under production. It's a crazy song."
Rousseau did divulge that the video from Tha Carter IV record would have parts of performance as well as a story line, as does the video for "Knockout."
"We got some concepts," the director said about what we can expect from the videos. "Cash Money came to the table with certain rough concepts. We went off that. In the next couple of weeks, we'll figure out what we got; 'Let's take this over here, let's take this over there.' At the end of the day, what it comes down to is making sure you got Wayne in the can. There's rough ideas for everything. They may not be completely sculpted out, but there is a plan. Nothing is done, just to do it. Everything was pre-thought, whether it be by Baby or Slim or Wayne himself. They're in the loop. As a label they were prepped."
Along with the Cash Money/ Young Money family, Juelz Santana, Yo Gotti and boxer Sugar Shane Mosley came out for the shoots.
"We tried to keep it wide, medium, close-up, just him vibing. Then we let him go change clothes," Rousseau said about the different shots in the videos. "Then other people would come in for 30 minutes. Wayne would come back out, same thing; wide, medium, close-up. Then we bring out somebody else who is on the song, Nicki Minaj, Sean Garrett, Baby, Tyga. Then again, 35 minutes [later] Wayne would come out. The only way to keep him fresh is [doing it] like a basketball team. You know, you can't give your starter too many minutes: You got him for 35 minutes on the court, outfit change. It was a tight schedule. We shot 16, 18 hours [a day]. He was there the whole time. He was a trooper.
"He was in a zone," Rousseau continued. "He was ready. It was a work mentality. He's getting prepared for everything that's about to happen to him. He knows it's the fourth quarter. He was completely cooperative, and completely professional."
Asked how he maintains such a rigorous schedule, Wayne told BBC Radio 1's Tim Westwood last weekend, "Determination. You set a goal. I'm one of those people that don't stop until the goal is done."
Besides the aforementioned videos, Weezy told Westwood that he recently shot four in Los Angeles, one in Dallas and has "been shooting" in Atlanta as well. Those videos include Rebirth's "Drop the World" (with Eminem) as well as "Roger That" and "Girl I Got You" from the Young Money LP. He also filmed "WTF" with Shawty Lo in Atlanta.
Of course, Wayne now has a bit more time to work on these videos — and probably a lot more.