Cash Money's rise and fall has been talked to death, but it's important to note that the 2006 collaboration between Birdman (Cash Money CEO) and Lil Wayne (Birdman's "surrogate son" and Cash Money's president) lands while the label is on the upswing. Critically, they're doing better than ever, respected in a way they weren't back when they had Juvenile and Mannie Fresh. The biggest reason of all is Lil Wayne's Tha Carter 2, so Birdman bumps him up to president and suddenly the rapper who was evolving with more complex lyrics, strange vocal rhythms, and risky production choices is creative director of the label that used be the down-low dirty-dirty. Like Father, Like Son is a celebration of Wayne and Cash Money's success, a testament to the allegiance the two feel toward each other, and most likely a way for Birdman to set Wayne on the right path as label boss. When it came to singles, Tha Carter 2 stalled after the leadoff "Fireman," so it's no big surprise this album is filled with hooks, infectious beats, and that trunk-rumbling weekend music Cash Money was built on. Synthesized horns blast out "Stuntin' Like My Daddy"'s triumphant melody, while the instantly gripping "Know What I'm Doing" works because it's keep-it-simple-stupid swagger music like the Big Tymers used to kick. Birdman might be reinforcing what Cash Money was built on, but he's well aware of his boy's talent and gives the freedom-craving, forward-looking baller adequate room to roam. The woozy "Leather So Soft" had to be Wayne's idea, "Army Gunz" features one of his most broken deliveries yet, and on the title track he offers, "I'll put you niggas in the closet in the shirt space/Niggas yellow like Sesame Street's Bert face." Production comes primarily from TMIX -- the UGK-sampling "1st Key" is his masterwork -- although Scott Storch stops by for the so-so "You Ain't Know," a great argument the beat-maker is spread too thin in his prolific 2006. The mix of familiar and strange is fascinating, the team-up feels like family, and at 20 tracks long, the album doesn't wear out its welcome. There's probably too much get money/stack-paper for those who want Wayne to speak on the injustices New Orleans has suffered post-Katrina, or to get to work on Tha Carter 3, but that's not what Like Father, Like Son is about. This is the sure sound of Cash Money steadying the ship and getting back on course.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
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