Lil Wayne – I Am Not A Human Being II
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Record Label: Young Money/Cash Money/Republic
If you are a fan of any of Lil Wayne's older albums, I'm so sorry. I know firsthand how hard the fall of the once self-proclaimed greatest rapper alive has been to watch. Weezy's output beginning with Tha Carter II and ending with Tha Carter III is enough to cement him as an all-time great in the eyes of some people, and with good reason. 2007's Da Drought 3 completely re-imagined what a hip-hop mixtape could be. Tha Carter III took Wayne's unorthodox and weird style to the absolute extreme, resulting in one of the most ambitious, eclectic, and impressive hip-hop releases of its time. And then came the downfall. Its almost hard to believe that the guy who penned “3 Peat” put out one of the worst “rock” records ever conceived less than two years later. Rebirth was truly the beginning of the end, as every release following Rebirth has ranged from disappointingly average to downright abysmal. I Am Not A Human Being II, the sequel to the 2010's mediocre first part, falls dangerously close to the latter. Everything that is wrong with Lil Wayne post-Carter III is present here, and the few attempts to reinvigorate himself come up unsurprisingly short.
Back in 2008, the use of auto-tune became a little too prevalent in mainstream music, but Lil Wayne's intentions with the tool were clear. Unlike most, he was using it in interesting ways that turned his goofy voice into an unpredictable instrument. Unfortunately, the results of Lil Wayne and auto-tune have been less than stellar since then, and at this point the combination has become completely unbearable. On songs like “Curtains,” its just used in the way most run-of-the-mill mainstream rappers use it. At this point, it is completely overdone and the only guy in hip-hop doing anything remotely interesting with auto-tune is Future, who actually makes an appearance on the album. “Love Me” is far and away the best song here and the only one you'll probably find yourself replaying, but it is still massively flawed. Mike Will's smoked out and dark production is on point as always, and Future offers a really pleasant hook. Lil Wayne's verses are predictably terrible and instead of letting Drake (who is confined to three lines after the chorus) and Future get a chance to really go in, they end up being completely underutilized which makes a song with real potential fall incredibly short. This kind of mediocrity and poor decision making ends up being a theme throughout the album.
Every redeeming moment on the record has absolutely nothing to do with Lil Wayne, and he actually ends up making those moments a lot less enjoyable than they could be. “IANAHB” opens the album with a really interesting and passionate piano loop, but the minute Weezy opens his mouth the urge to skip the song becomes almost overwhelming. Long gone are the clever punchlines from the once hilarious rapper; instead, we're given some of the worst punchlines in the history of rap like “I'm in a crib butt naked bitch/She said my dick could be the next black president” and “Letting all these hoes ride my dick, carpool.” He really doesn't have anything to say beyond sex, telling haters to fuck off, and doing drugs. The most memorable lines on the album are only memorable because of how unintentionally bad they are.
The album is packed with guest spots, most of which are completely forgettable. However, a few people featured here are able to make the most of their slots. Gunplay offers one of the wildest verses we've heard from him yet on “Beat The Shit,” and his verse on its own may be the best part of the entire album. Unfortunately, the nursery rhyme-like melody of the hook makes everything surrounding his verse completely unlistenable. The aforementioned Drake and Future make the most of their criminally small guest spots, but guys like 2 Chainz and Soulja Boy that get multiple at-bats (“Wowzers” features production from Soulja Boy) do very little to change anyone's preconceived notions about them, and the fact that Soulja Boy is included on a Lil Wayne album in 2013 is as perplexing as it is horrendous. While not everyone's performance is poor, even Juicy J's charming ridiculousness and bass-heavy production can't eclipse an overly obnoxious Lil Wayne.
I Am Not A Human Being II is aptly titled. Lil Wayne isn't a human being, but unlike the Martian we knew and loved on Tha Carter III, Wayne's otherworldly quality has become a severe hinderance to his music. Blame it on the codeine or blame it on him running out of ideas. Either way, the results of his recent output have been unquestionably subpar. Weezy recently had a brush with death, and hopefully the experience will lead to him putting down the syrup and working with a clear head. Tha Carter V is allegedly going to be his last album, and it would be really nice to see this once inspiring figure go out with a bang. At this rate, though, it doesn't look like that is going to happen.
Plan on giving this a listen through in the near future, not expecting much since it's post-2008 Wayne, but I still liked two or three tracks on Carter IV, so hopefully there's something redeemable in here. I also like T-Minus and I'm pretty sure he's on this.