Lil Wayne - I Am Not a Human Being
Record Label: Cash Money Records
Release Date: September 27, 2010 (Digital) / October 12, 2010 (Physical)
Dwayne Carter is a man who really needs no introduction. Better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, Carter has become the master of producing catchy hip-hop music that carries little to no substance. It's fluff in every sense of the word. Believe me though, I say this with no malicious intent. Wayne has found his niche in today's hip-hop scene, and fills it perfectly release after release. His one key moment of experimentation came in the form of Rebirth, an interesting-on-paper fusion of rock and hip-hop that was released earlier this year. Rebirth was critically panned, its musical experimentation only serving to expose how little weight Wayne's lyrics actually carry. Although he's currently serving a prison sentence, Wayne was still able to release his latest album I Am Not a Human Being. Initially announced as an EP, it evolved into its current state after being padded with tracks produced for Wayne's upcoming Tha Carter IV. So, does Human Being carry over any influences from Rebirth?
Not really. Wayne is back to doing what he does best, exemplified perfectly in the opening track “Gonorrhea.” It opens with a generic club beat and synth melody that continue throughout the rest of the song, punctuated occasionally by sirens and hilarious lyrics. It's hard to accept that Wayne is serious with a chorus containing the line, “Pussy ass n***a, I don't wantcha gonorrhea,” but he and the track's feature Drake deliver the lyrics with the same sincerity as the verses. While their subject matter is nothing to write home about, both artists have an undeniable sense of flow and rhythm that makes even the most ridiculous lyrics quite infectious.
And speaking of Wayne's protégé, Drake makes quite a few appearances on Human Being. “With You” is a stripped down track featuring a main piano melody and possibly the only impressive production on the album. StreetRunner's production and Drake's vocal prowess during the chorus make this track a definite stand out on the short album. He also contributes a verse to “Right Above It” over repetitive synth chords and horn instrumentals. It's typical Young Money, with topical name drops and silly wordplay, but their delivery remains strong despite the lyrical content.
The album closes with “Bill Gates,” an entirely forgettable track that doesn't even entertain with typical Weezy antics. It's slow, repetitive, and overall the worst track on the album. While very few of his songs carry any sort of meaning or coherent thought, “Bill Gates” goes way beyond that. I'm torn between being happy this song won't be on Tha Carter IV and upset that it has to exist at all. Because Human Being does very little to impress, it was a huge mistake to make “Bill Gates” the last song and therefore the freshest in someone's mind when they think back on the album as a whole.
While a few of the songs stray a bit from the typical Wayne combination of “let people know my name/nickname, let them know how awesome I think I am, laugh a little bit, name drop, repeat” the majority are typical Weezy fare. Human Being, like most of of his extensive discography, holds very little water under intense scrutiny. But, let me reiterate: this is not always a bad thing. Wayne is an artist that has found what works in his range of talent and expands upon it as much as he can. While many of his songs are easy to laugh at, they are catchy and fun. If you are looking for an expansion of the genre into unknown territory, steer clear of Human Being. But if you don't mind a bit of silliness and would like a prelude to Tha Carter IV, definitely check this album out.
Weezy's always been my guilty pleasure thanks to all the funny lyrics.
I really wish the production/beats would improve, though. Pretty much every song of his loops the same goddamn thing for 3-5 minutes, it would be nice to see more complete songs out of him than just verse/chorus/verse/chorus/verse..... endlessly over the exact same thing.