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Inside Lil Wayne’s Hearing: A Vulture Special Report

Lil Wayne is not going to jail! Yet! The rapper, who was expected to begin his one-year Rikers sentence for attempted weapons possession today, was at the New York Supreme Court on Centre Street this afternoon for formal sentencing. Instead, his case was adjourned until next month. The reason? Wayne needs some dental work done before he enters the clink. He’ll be having surgery this week, and after an agreed upon recovery period, will be sentenced March 2.

We were at the court this afternoon also, and tailed behind Wayne — who was dressed in a black V-neck sweater, a puffy blue coat, and Weezer glasses, his dreads tied back — as he followed his attorney, Stacy Richman, into the court. We sat in the back row, a few seats over from Cash Money co-founder Slim, seated by himself with a Yankee cap in his lap, and right behind Birdman (we were close enough to reach out and touch the red five-star he has tattooed on his head, if for some reason we had thought that was a good idea at that particular moment in time). Wayne was in the front row by himself until the bailiff called “Dwayne Carter,” then moved quietly up to the desk with his lawyer. He didn’t say a word the whole time.

So, dental surgery? We assume that means he’s sensibly decided to remove the diamonds that stud his teeth before entering prison, although at press time Richman’s office could not confirm the exact procedure. Seeing as he released this farewell statement, it may have been a last-minute issue. (MTV reports it’s a cracked tooth. The tooth fairy is standing by on whether she can soon retire.)

We rushed downstairs after him to see a cavalcade of black Yukons, Suburbans, and Escalades pulling away from the curb slowly, with a stray crew of photographers and cameramen trailing them down the street. The cars took a left onto White Street, presumably headed towards the airport and a flight to Miami.

So, dental surgery? We assume that means he’s sensibly decided to remove the diamonds that stud his teeth before entering prison, although at press time Richman’s office could not confirm the exact procedure. Seeing as he released this farewell statement, it may have been a last-minute issue. (MTV reports it’s a cracked tooth. The tooth fairy is standing by on whether she can soon retire.)

What will he do with his newly granted time off? Rolling Stone’s excellent cover story on Wayne (not officially online, although Rap Radar has conveniently scanned the whole thing here) reports that the Carter IV is basically done now, with plans to release it right when Wayne’s sentence is up (Says RS, “Wayne has been favoring vintage, hard Beastie Boys-ish stuff recently”*), but that he’ll be messing with it up to the last minute. He also spent Super Bowl weekend shooting ten new videos, so maybe he'll cram a few dozen or so more in? Otherwise, we’ll see him again in court March 2.

*Also, just because it’s awesome, from the same RS article: “When I ask him if he’s an addict, he says, 'I'm a very successful addict. And a very smart one. And a very charismatic one. And one that just won four Grammys, and one that sold a million records in a week. One that still appears on everybody's songs, one that still sounds better than any rapper rapping. One that has four kids and is the greatest father ever to the kids.' He laughs. 'What am I addicted to, being great?'"

Photo: Splash News