In 2007, Lil Wayne released a mixtape called “The Drought 3.” The first song, “Black Republicans,” was an energetic beat, and Wayne, obviously giddy to be laying down a track, giggled throughout the first minute. At that point, Lil Wayne was releasing visionary, fascinating albums. His punchlines were irreverent, offensive and hilarious. His timing was impeccable. In short, he was everything that is entertaining about rap.
That time, unfortunately, seems to have passed.
Weezy’s latest album, “I am Not A Human Being Part II,” is an unflattering representation of one of rap’s most distinctive voices. Don’t believe us? Ask Wayne himself.
“It sucks; I hate it,” he told Power 106, a hip-hop station in Los Angeles. He backed off his statements a minute later, but it wasn’t the first time he expressed frustration with his own record. In a video for TMZ after his recent hospitalization, he called it a “bum-a** record” and suggested that he didn’t care if fans picked it up. Wayne’s opinion of “IANAHB” is a somewhat bizarre subplot to what is undeniably his most disappointing release to date.
“IANAHB” really isn’t good in any way, shape or form. The high point on the album is “Love Me,” which is carried by Future and Drake’s catchy hook. The rest of the song is much like the rest of the album: Lil Wayne wheezing in auto-tune about his favorite subjects (having sex, doing drugs and having sex). The topics don’t vary much.
Just about every verse of every song features some form (in varying degrees of profanity) of his usual construction: “I am (insert description) like (insert pun).” For example, one of the more printable puns: “That’s my word, like Scrabble,” he raps on “Days and Days.” “So much weed I got grass stains,” he says on the same song. These tired puns repeat over and over without any of the joy displayed in previous records.
It should also be noted that Wayne’s singing just doesn’t work. Drake’s “Take Care” was a hit because his gravelly voice was in perfect contrast with his sad songs. But Wayne’s sung lyrics are no different from his rapped ones, and there is very little to find endearing about hearing the aforementioned “having sex, doing drugs and having sex” in an auto-tune drone.
Several songs show glimpses of what we expect from a Weezy album. In “Trigger Finger,” Wayne’s verses sprint past at a frantic clip until Souljah Boy makes his (ahem) “contribution” to the track. “I don’t speak to cops/I don’t speak pig latin” he spits on “Rich As F***.” But whereas his songs used to be so full of these lines that a listener could barely keep up with the dizzying pace, they are now a novelty worth noting solely because of their infrequency.
There is still some semblance of the old Lil Wayne hiding in places on “I Am Not a Human Being Part II.” Fans just have to hope he’s not too hidden behind his vices to surface once again.
Rating: One and a half stars