By JOSHUA LAWSON
Like it or not, Lil Wayne’s multi-platinum selling album, “Tha Carter III,” was the biggest album of 2008 and one of the landmark hip-hop albums of the last decade. In February 2010, however, “Weezy” made what turned out to be the grave mistake of releasing a “rock” album, “Rebirth,” where he donned a guitar and dubbed himself a rock star.
The album’s reception among fans and critics was less than stellar, and barely a month after the release of “Rebirth,” he was sentenced to a year in prison for drug and weapons charges. It seemed like Lil Wayne’s awe-inspiring reign over hip-hop had been cut short.
Luckily for Weezy fans everywhere, not even the Riker’s Island jail can hold him back as he makes an astonishing return to form with his newest album, “I Am Not a Human Being.”
Opening with the bluntly titled “Gonorrhea,” which features a chorus that I absolutely cannot in good conscience write out here, it’s clear from the get-go that Weezy is back to his straightforward, R-rated rhymes and catchy, pop-sensible beats.
Along for the ride on many of the tracks is Lil Wayne’s new protege, Drake, whose place on the album is thankfully neither overdone nor distracting.
The title track, “I Am Not a Human Being,” boasts production by DJ Infamous and Andrew Correa and a beat reminiscent of Rick Rubin in the vein of “99 Problems.” Quite frankly, had Weezy swayed more towards the style of this album’s highlights on his previous rock effort, “Rebirth,” it could have been phenomenally improved.
The album does slow in some places, particularly with “I’m Single,” in which Weezy laments the woes of women. The beat is laid back to the point of almost being drowsy and at nearly six minutes, the song doesn’t really go anywhere, wandering through the same lethargic beat and hook for the entire duration.
Additionally, the track, “What’s Wrong With Them,” while still of decent quality, features a guest appearance by Nicki Minaj that tries to emulate some Rihanna hits but ultimately falls short of channeling the same spirit.
But with so few flaws, it’s difficult not to enjoy Lil Wayne’s latest release. Almost every song features something of value. The closing track, “Bill Gates,” has a colossal beat and finishes the album perfectly, leaving fans craving Lil Wayne’s inevitable release of “Tha Carter IV.”
With “I Am Not a Human Being” Weezy has made sure that even though he’s currently out of commission, he is certainly not out of the picture.
4.5 out of 5 stars