Lil’ Wayne’s Latest: A Hit or A Miss? (Hit)

Rating: *****

Last Monday was Lil’ Wayne’s birthday, but the rap star didn’t celebrate it by licking lollipops or swigging Patrn. Weezy, confined in Rikers Island for weapons charges, nonetheless found a way to celebrate by digitally releasing I Am Not a Human Being, his ninth studio album. Proving that nothing can stop this “American Gangster” from doing what he loves, the album went straight to number one on iTunes and topped the hip-hop/rap and overall best album charts. Though Michael Dwayne Carter, Jr. has not been released, his album has, and it is everything that it promised to be.

The surprisingly well put together I Am Not a Human Being is a much-needed success for Wayne after the rap-rock experiment of Rebirth. “Right Above It,” the first single of the album, debuted in August and instantly hit the Billboard Top 10 singles chart. It’s an exceptionally catchy song with a pop/hip-hop feel and an instant mood lifter, an overall winning formula. The track gives Weezy fans everything they wanted. When the beat kicks in and you hear the flicker of a lighter followed by an inhale, “sssst,” you know that something amazing will soon follow.

As if Wayne isn’t notorious enough for explicit lyrics, the first track of the album is called “Gonorrhea,” and it just so happens to be the current most popular download from the album. Not that I’m surprised—who wouldn’t be curious about this venereal disease-titled song? Safe sex? No. It’s really only a bash track, with Wayne attacking other MCs. Drake provides an unexpected accompaniment on the track and is featured on two other songs on the album: “Right Above It” and “With You,” a surprisingly good love song about “moonlight and candles and sh**.” The rest of the Young Money crew members are involved in the album. Nicki Minaj does a beautiful job on the chorus of “What’s Wrong With Them,” and Lil’ Twist rocks the chorus on “Popular,” the most peppy and addictive song on the album, especially since Lil’ Wayne brings back his famous “Bedrock” lyrics for the hook. The other members of the label chip in on their CEO’s album with “Hold Up” and “Young Money Salute,” one of the three bonus tracks that will be released along with the hard copy of the album Oct. 12.

Unfortunately, as I Am Not a Human Being was recorded prior to his incarceration, we’ll have to wait for the release of Tha Carter IV to hear about jail insights, fights, and Weezy’s prolonged sentence—extended when he was caught with headphones and an mp3 charger. Wayne decided to release I Am Not a Human Being as a prelude to Tha Carter IV, just as The Leak preceded Tha Carter III, his most successful album. In a recent phone interview with MTV, he said that he put this EP together so that he could start recording afresh upon his release, because recording is what he loves to do most “next to breathing.” Luckily there are only about three weeks until our “Rhyming Oasis” is done spending time doing time.

So it’s confirmed. Weezy is not a human being and is definitely out of this world. His voice, his lyrics, his music, and his overall swagger show his love for the game and his excellence at playing it. As he told his fans, “They can lock me up, but my spirit and my love can never be confined to prison walls.” Free Weezy.

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