While the world at large may or may not be ready to accept Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, it’s hard not to agree with its premise in the context of Hip-Hop. Species must evolve to progress and the strongest thrive while those who do not become extinct. How many rappers fall prey to “here today, gone tomorrow”?
Lil’ Wayne would be the perfect example of an artist who has been able to adapt and evolve to survive. The Young Money mogul has been rapping since he was 8 and became a member of the Hot Boyz at 15. 16 years later and Tunechi is still standing while many of his peers are nowhere near his star power or relevancy. Even the biggest Weezy stans would have to admit that they probably didn’t see Weezy being the celebrity he is now, especially when his fellow group members, Juvenile and BG, were at the height of their popularity while Wayne was just finding his way. Not only did Mr. Carter find a way to thrive, he was able to make us take him seriously when he proclaimed that he was the best rapper alive. Most people who challenge Jay-Z at his zenith are usually dismissed as delusional. Wayne not only was taken seriously, he was certainly hard to argue with.
Yet millions of album sales and epic verses later, Wayne barely seems present. Gone are the days of boasting of not only being the best rapper alive, but the very essence of music incarnate as well (Check his forehead). Nowadays Weezy seems more content squeezing into skinny jeans and enjoying the latest strains of cannabis, most recently to his detriment depending on whether you side with TMZ’s or Birdman’s take on Wayne’s recent hospital scare. Wayne is still making headlines, but not where you’d think he would. Most recently he was left completely off of MTV’s Hottest MC’s list. However that list was made before I Am Not A Human Being II was released. Will this project return Weezy back to GOAT discussion or leave him as Hip-Hop’s hottest tabloid fodder? Read and find out…
1. IANAHB Produced by ELEW
ELEW provides an ominous sounding piano loop to open I Am Not A Human Being II. The loop is extended which does its job in building our anticipation for what Weezy has to say. Wayne has been taking the stream of consciousness approach to his raps for a while now, but while his best work still seemed to have some sort of direction, here he is all over the place, for better and worse. Strong bars like “I shoot him in the head, no brainer”, are often followed by cringe worthy boasts such as “she said Weezy you the shit, you need your ass wiped.” There are also some downright head scratchers like “I personally know strangers.” Somewhere in this jumble is a great introduction to one of the most anticipated albums of the year. The problem is you have to find it.
2. Curtains Featuring Boo; Produced by Detail & Rasool Diaz
Maybe I didn’t catch it, but I’ve listened to this song a few times and I can’t definitively say why this song is called “Curtains”. Wayne returns to a standard song format with verses and a chorus, but the content is still very abstract. While Wayne may lack direction it’s still fun to see him animatedly talk about nothing. Former Young Money affiliate Boo shows up and makes the most of his former employer’s invitation before he returns to obscurity. Decent track, nothing more, nothing less.
3. Days And Days Featuring 2 Chainz; Produced by Cool & Dre
Cool & Dre don’t get enough credit in my opinion. They make great use of a Barbara Lynn sample and create a really great beat to rap on. It’s a shame that Wayne can’t step up and do the track justice. Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of times Weezy will say something that’s supposed to sound dope but comes off more like a shot at himself. “I’m the heart of the streets, and I just skipped a beat,” comes off more insecure that it does confident. 2 Chainz shows up, but it’s more of a lateral move than one forward or backward, which is good, I guess.
4. Gun Walk Featuring Gudda Gudda & Juicy J; Produced by Juicy J & Crazy Mike
It’s ironic that Mr. Trippy Mane Juicy J is the one that is able to get Weezy to bring his most focused verses on the album. By all accounts there is nothing extraordinary about this song. It’s still your standard menacing, violent bragging that 90% of rappers are known for, but at least Wayne sounds better than the 90%:
Uh, fuck that nigga, ho ass nigga
Leave that nigga with a toe tag nigga
Barrel so long, you can pole dance, nigga
Run up in ya house, where the dope at nigga
Murder she wrote on a notepad nigga
Light that nigga up, smoke that nigga
Stomp that nigga, roast that nigga
I walk around with this shotgun
And this bitch bigger than me nigga
Don’t open up yo fuckin’ mouth
Cause I’ll pull the trigger like teeth nigga
Shoot ’em up, then leave nigga
I smell summer’s eve nigga
We shoot first, it’s better
To give than receive nigga
5. No Worries Featuring Detail; Produced by Detail & Rasool Diaz
The first single from the album, by now you’ve heard this song since it was released last summer and was on the Dedication 4 mixtape. Even though I hate when artists repackage songs to fill their albums, I can’t hate this song too much. I don’t know if I can call it a good song, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh and that I don’t turn it up every time it comes on in the car. This song is the perfect example of the saying “ignorance is bliss”.
6. Back To You Produced by Fabio Marascuillo & Christian Davis Stalnecker
Remember back in 2006 when Like Father, Like Son came out and Wayne was strumming the guitar on “Leather So Soft” and you were like, “Ehh, that’s kind of cool…I guess.”? Then do you remember in 2009 when Rebirthcame out and you were like, “Wow, Wayne really took the time to become a competent Rock artist and I can’t wait for him to make more music like this!”? If you said that I hate you because people like you could be part of the reason Wayne still thinks he can make Rock music. Die hard Tunechi fans may rock with this, and the moody track fits in with the emo stuff that makes The Weeknd a top selling artist rather than a random depressed drug addict. But I’ll pass on this one.
7. Trigger Finger Featuring Soulja Boy; Produced by Juicy J & Crazy Mike
If anyone had been anxiously awaiting the long awaited return of Soulja Boy (or just wondered what he’d been doing since the whole Kat Stacks thing) wait no more as he shows up here. Album protocol usually states that track number 7 is its most definitive statement and sets the tone for the remainder of the album. The only thing definitive about this song is that Wayne is committed to talking about the same things for the entire album. Juicy J can’t work magic twice as the beat is slow and boring…and Soulja Boy is still who we thought he was.
8. Beat The Shit Featuring Gunplay; Produced by DVLP & Filthy
Again aggressiveness brings the best out of Wayne. DVLP and Filthy create a futuristic and frenetic beat that allows Weezy to make threats like the best of them. While lyrically Wayne delivers, Gunplay manages to completely outshine the future legend with his raw intensity and energy:
I’m a knuckle-throwin’ knucklehead
What that motherfucker said?
Bring that rockets up in here
Throwin’ bottles, chuckin’ chairs
Got the pretty models duckin’, breakin’ heels and chippin’ nails
Turn around and go right back to breakin’ down my cigarillo
Countin’ up with Suga Hill, slidin’ up in somethin’ new
Gin and jungle juice
and I got that lumber too
And I brought the fuckin’ zoo,
tear this shit up and chuck a deuce
This triple C, they Triple L, lames bitches love to lose
A hundred million in my horoscope,
’bout to show you a horror show
Boot you fuckin’ head off your collar bone
Them niggas flinchin’ at the sight of arms
Pussy niggas ain’t eatin’, but we fry the farm
Beat a nigga down ’til he left without a vital sign
I can definitely see some people getting beat up in the club to this one.
9. Rich As Fuck Featuring 2 Chainz; Produced by T-Minus & Nikhil S.
This is the street single that had the hood excited. 2 Chainz returns and both rappers sound much more inspired here. Wayne’s couplets are on point; I was personally impressed when he said “spraying at these rusty niggas call it WD40” and “all rats gotta die, even Master Splinter.” 2 Chainz swags out the chorus and definitely helps deliver a straight banger.
10. Trippy Featuring Juicy J; Produced by Juicy J & Crazy Mike
I’m really not sure how necessary this song is. Wayne has spent the entire album rapping about his love for drugs EXCESSIVELY. Devoting an entire track to the subject seems really redundant. You could almost put the title “Trippy” on any song on this album and it would fit. This song isn’t horrible, but it definitely derails any momentum “Rich As Fuck” created.
11. Bitches Love Me Featuring Future & Drake; Produced By Mike Will Made It
This is the second and current single from the album that has taken over urban radio for the past couple of months. Mike Will Made It produced a truly hypnotic back drop that Drake and Future sound as smooth as butter on. Too bad Wayne has to be on the song as I cannot comprehend how anything he says sounds appealing to anyone outside of the most ratchet of groupies. The beat and chorus definitely mask Weezy’s perverted sing-songy bars.
If I had to sum this song up in one word it would be “juvenile”. This sounds like something 7th graders listen to in the back of class and giggle about. Unless you’re just hitting puberty I don’t see how you can condone this song. Nothing about this song is romantic or even sexy. If you’re with a woman and you put this song on and it actually gets her in the mood you need to kick her to the curb and raise your standards. This makes early Plies sound sophisticated.
13. God Bless Amerika Produced by Cool & Dre
When I saw the title of this song I was actually excited. Many people forget “Georgia Bush” from Dedication 2 where Wayne poignantly rapped about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina and President Bush’s seeming disregard for the victims. When he wants to Wayne and get political, and for a few seconds he does:
Damn, military minded, lost and can’t find it
The stars on the flag are never shining
Uh, I saw a butterfly in hell today
Will I die or go to jail today?
Cause I live by the sword and die by the sword
Heard police was looking for me, I’ma hide by abroad
Unfortunately Wayne can’t help talking about his dick as the very next line is:
Shootin’ stars in my pocket, bitch sit on my rocket
From there the song dissolves into incoherent rambling about eating girls out and getting high. For me this was the lowest point on the album because my expectations may have been highest here. I wasn’t expecting Cornell West level insight but I was hoping we could at least get a break from the norm. No such luck.
14. Wowzers Featuring Trina; Produced by Soulja Boy
If you really enjoyed the Soulja Boy feature from earlier then you’re in luck because he comes back here to make the beat. Trina shows up and at this point you shouldn’t need me to tell you what the song is about. Just like it was redundant to have a song like “Trippy” it’s redundant to have a song completely about sex because basically it’s heavily featured on every other song on the album. If it still isn’t clear to you at this point Lil’ Wayne really enjoys eating pussy, violent oral sex and destroying the vaginal orifice. I will say that I raised my eyebrows when Trina said her mouth was like a jacuzzi but other than that this song is wack, unless you just love hearing women talk about sex in an explicit nature.
15. Hello Featuring Shane Heyl; Produced by Mike Banger
Thankfully we reach the end of the album and Wayne decides to go back to Rock. It’s funny that the change in genre doesn’t inspire Weezy to talk about something different, but no, he’s still puffing, fucking and getting sucked. Now he’s just yelling about it instead of rapping about it. I am not the biggest rock fan but even I know this isn’t good. I was really hoping Wayne would try and close the album on a high note but at least it’s over.
Sidenote #1: I find it odd that the standard version of I Am Not A Human Being II only has one guest appearance by an actual YMCMB artist.
As I was listening to the album and doing the track reviews I was honestly dreading getting to the scoring section. This album is downright terrible. The problem is that it might not be terrible if Johny Raps-All-Day made it. Yet for an artist of Dwayne Carter’s pedigree; one who not too long ago legitimately was thought to be the greatest human being to ever make words rhyme, for him to make this record is an absolute travesty. This literally sounds like Wayne got high and went in the booth and pressed record. Which is cool if you’re Devin The Dude, even Curren$y; at least those artists don’t let the drugs sap their love and effort. This project has ‘fuck it’ written all over it.
Wayne has been hinting at retirement for the past few years now, with the upcoming Carter V supposedly his swan song. That may be for the best as Wayne not only sounds disinterested in rapping he also sounds bitter. Bitter that at this point he’s still rapping and still having to prove that he’s one of, if not, the greatest. Many people point to Jay-Z as not being hungry anymore. If Jay is not hungry than this album sounds like Wayne has completely lost the will to eat. Don’t get me wrong, everything that made Weezy great is still here and present at multiple times throughout the album, but there is almost no discernible evidence here that he wants to focus and make the classic that he is easily capable of.
Sidenote #2: The Deluxe Version of I Am Not A Human Being II contains the songs “Lay It Down” featuring Nicki Minaj & Corey Gunz, “Hot Revolver” featuring Dre, and “My Homies Still” featuring Big Sean