Rapper Lil Wayne released a video explaining the bizarre collection of tattoos all over his body. In the video, Wayne says he got his first tattoo at age 14 in honor of his late father. He said he got his next tattoo to emulate the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
“I have no problem with people going and getting a billion tattoos. But why are you doing it? I know my first tattoo I got, I got because my dad died. I was 14 years old and I knew, not for nothing, God forgive me, I did want to represent my dad in a way but I knew that, ‘Man, I could get my first tattoo at 14 if I asked my mom, ‘Can I go get my dad’s name?’ She’s not gonna be against that.’ The next tattoo that I got said ‘Original Hot Boy’ with a star. Then I went and got my tat across my stomach ’cause I wanted to be like Tupac. I got my tattoo because I wanted to be like Tupac and at the time, I would tell the tattoo dude that’s why I was getting it.”
Obsessive tattooing falls under the category of self-harming behavior. Self-harm is most common in adolescence and young adulthood, usually first appearing between the ages of 12 and 24.
Troubled young men like Lil Wayne go overboard with tattoos to feel intense pain in order to cover up their feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem and depression.
When they use sharp objects to cut their skin, they are referred to as “cutters” or “self mutilators.” Cutters are usually highly functioning individuals with no diagnosis of mental illness. The majority of them are substance abusers who self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to relieve their emotional pain.