Just released from prison, Lil Wayne has had a turbulent year. Spending seven months in prison due to possession of weapons, for the first time, Lil Wayne may be releasing an LP with a sense of infamy and notoriety. Produced before his sentence, Lil Wayne returns with a vengeance with his eighth album, I am not a Human Being, which has already spawned a US #1 single. But in turn, the question is posed whether this new term for Lil Wayne brings with it a fresh perspective on his music.
The album kicks off with the crudely named Gonorrhoea, a grimy track that is as dirty sounding as its title. Reminiscent of the underground hip-hop scene of the 1990s, Lil Wayne's reptilian vocals fit perfectly. It's a shame that the quite disgusting lyrics such as 'n****r, I don't want your gonorrhoea' ruin his credibility as a respectable rapper. Similarly Hold up, reduces the glamour of music to the gritty streets. Haunting and eerie, this track reveals that beyond the raps that Lil Wayne shows off his qualities to, there are actually some really well produced melodies. However, sometimes it can all get a bit repetitive as tracks such as Popular and final-track I don't like the Look of It can come across as carbon copies thus revealing the monotony running throughout the whole record.
This doesn't mean Lil Wayne sticks to his urban tones. There are signs of experimentation on this LP as he merges grimy hip hop with various genres. With You is a cool and sleek track that is very different from the rest of the LP. With subtle 60s influences, this would be perfect to lounging in the summer to. Similarly, and yet contrastingly, the title track I am not a human being is quite rocky and experimental. Heavy with thudding bass, this is defiantly a surprising offering from the Louisiana-born rapper. Quite amusingly, Lil Wayne also even transgresses the ballad genre in I'm Single that would show his more emotional side but then again is undermined by carnality and quite horrific raps about acts with women. Whilst the track exemplifies how something can be so effective when it is stripped down, it is a shame that we couldn't encounter a glimpse of sentiment through the words, of which the backing track is so desperately attempting to achieve.
The album should've actually been marketed as 'Lil Wayne and Others' as, bar two tracks, every track practically features collaborations; notable names are Drake, up-and-coming Nicki Minaj and big UK RnB artist Jay Sean. The middle chunk of the LP is probably its best. What's wrong with me, Right above It and That Ain't me are all great commercial tracks that would work well on radio, as long as they are censored. Strangely enough, Right above It, probably the best track off the record, starts off sounding like an 80s game show and then continues on with a great backing instrumental that would sound amazing in nightclubs across the world.
To be frank, there is nothing that is out-there or special about this album; if you like Lil Wayne, you will love this LP and will be fulfilled by what he does best. Whilst his tracks are all staples, it would've been better probably to see something quite unique or diverse from the rapper who has released seven albums already. It all comes across a bit stale and the horrific lyrics certainly do not help at times. It's not about being prudish; Parental Advisory really is advisable here, as it definitely even shocked a 'youth'. After his recent prison time, a new era for Lil Wayne has started. Surrounded by controversy and infamy, it is probably suitable that he has titled this LP 'I am not a human being'. The myth of Lil Wayne has begun.
3 / 5