OPENS UP ABOUT SUICIDE ATTEMPT: Lil Wayne. Photo: Owen Sweeney/AP

Lil Wayne attempted suicide when he was just 12 years old.

The 35-year-old rapper shot himself in the chest after finding a gun in his mother's house, and though he's previously described what happened as an accident, he's admitted on a new song that he was deliberately trying to take his own life.

Wayne added the lyrics to the track over the summer following the suicides of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain.

His friend and business associate Mack Maine told Billboard magazine: "He just told me one day that he was ready to address it now.

"Just being an adult, reaching a level of maturity and comfort where it's like, 'I want to talk about this because I know a lot of people out here might be going through that.' "

Between 2013 and 2017, Wayne had a number of seizures and as a result, he's cut his epic 26-hour recording studio sessions down to "12 or 14 hours".

He said: "That's the main thing that friends and family and the doc and all them recommend. Just get you some rest."

The 'Go D.J.' hitmaker has been through a much-publicised dispute with his former record label Cash Money Records - which was settled in June - and credits his four children from past relationships, Reginae, 19, Dwayne III, nine, Cameron, also nine, and Neal, eight, for getting him through the turbulent time.

He said: "My four jewels -- when I FaceTime one of them, man, everything goes away.

"I didn't let it get to me too much. Just the confidence in knowing that there's always a tomorrow and I'm going to make sure that tomorrow is bright. Some people can't go on [like] that, like, 'OK, tomorrow will be better.' They need it to be better right now. And thank God I didn't, and I never did."