The Evolution of Lil Wayne Dreads (2003 – 2024)

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

Content Updated in 2024

Semi freeform, braided dreads, bleached, thinning would explain why Lil Wayne Dreads continuously make the headlines.

What makes this even more impactful is the new generation of rappers with dreads he’s inspired due to his cultural impact.

Our editorial covers each stage of Lil Wayne’s Dreads past and present until 2024 today!

How and When did Lil Wayne Dreads Start?

Lil Wayne Dreads throughout the yearsHow: Lil Wayne dreads were initially started by the semi freeform method in 2002.

This would explain his thick hair and roots in his earlier photos. He then transitioned into having his hair maintained at the root.

When: Lil Wayne began his dreads back in 2002 and has been growing his hair for over 20 years at this point.

Within that 20 year period we have seen his hair in a loose afro, curls, cornrows, traditional dreads and free formed.

Lil Wayne Dreads Gallery

Late 90s – 2003
Style at the time – Cornrows and Semi Freefom Dreads

Prior to his starter dreads Wayne can be seen in multiple cornrow hairstyles throughout the late 90s and early 2000s.

starter locs

All archive images of Wayne during the late 90s features his braids styled in multiple ways during his time in the Hot Boyz music group.

Lil Wayne Braids in the late 90s/Early 2000s

His transition began in 2002 when his hair was taken out of cornrows and placed in semi freeform dreads, this would eventually grow into short thick locks.

As time when on his hair began to form and shape into its own pattern due to the minimal manipulation.

2003 – 2006

Style at the time –  Semi Freeform Dreads

With his hair still growing and maturing at this stage we were able to see his hair density increase whilst simultaneously growing in length as they reached his shoulders.

thick dreads
semi freeform

2007 – 2010s

Style at the time –  Traditional Dreads

Now a household name at this point and the period most would deem the peak of his career we saw Wayne’s hair at full maturity with his dreads reaching his back.

long dreads

For most people 2008 is the year Wayne took over the rap world with his album The Carter 3 and in most of the music videos in support of his album we saw his dreads now pencil sized and maintained at the root.

lil wayne long hair

With the resizing of his dreads Wayne began to style his hair in multiple ways from his braids to his 2 strand twists, both trademark looks for the rapper.

2014 – 2015 (Dreads Cut)

Style at the time – Freeform Dreads

In 2014 Wayne had cut his dreads as you can see from his ends. At this point he had been growing them for 12 years.

lil wayne dreads cut off

The decision to cut them was primarily for wanting a new look whilst also being easier to maintain.

As dreads begin to grow in length weight is increased which can be an inconvenience to some.

lil wayne cut dreads

Its also at this point we begin to see Lil Wayne dreads get experimented with bleach and colour with one of the first colours being red at the tips.

2018 – 2022 (Bleached Hair)

Style at the time –  Freeform Dreads & Bleached

 Having cut his dreads in half a few years ago he also joined multiple dreads to form multiple big dreads which is a common practice.

lil wayne hair bleached

In addition to this we can see Wayne’s crown thin at the top which the next sections perfectly pinpoints out.

bleached dreadlocks

2024 (Current)

Wayne’s dreads were predominately styled in tightly in the early 2000s which has lead to thinning crown in 2024.

Since he has increased the density and size of his dreads today he won’t be able to style his hair as he used too.

The crown is particularly susceptible to traction alopecia because it bears the brunt of the tension from these hairstyles.

Since Wayne has been doing styles since the 90s as our gallery proves the repeated pulling and stress on the hair follicles can caused weakening.



Key Take Away: Maintenance!

Dreads require the upmost care since they can catch dirt, latch onto fluff or even worse break off if not managed.

Wayne is a great example of what can happen to an individual if hair is not managed well and you’re going to need to learn from his mistakes. Ensure you

  • Oil your scalp
  • Keep protective styles in for maximum of 8 weeks
  • Protect hair at night or doing any physical activity
  • Spray rose water on your dreads to lock in moisture
  • Allow for retwisting every 4-6 weeks so your scalp can breathe, reduce tension and pulling. This is ultimately how to avoid traction alopecia
  • Talk to a loctician and get a Consultation for professional guidance and help

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