Lil Wayne

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Rebirth Review

by David Jeffries

When the 2009 documentary The Carter hit DVD, much was made of Lil Wayne’s reckless syrup sipping during the film, but longtime fans had already accepted their hero was a drug abuser because they had bothered to listen to his lyrics. What made the faithful flip was a scene where the previously unstoppable Weezy announced he was a rock star, picked up a guitar, raised a fist in the air, brought the pick down, and then proceeded to deliver one of the most lackluster guitar solos caught on video, and that’s including YouTube. After the widespread indifference to his debut rap-rock single “Prom Queen,” the late 2009 hip-hop mixtape No Ceilings was greeted with universal acclaim, so it seems Wayne’s sense of quality control is strong when it comes to rap, but very weak when it comes to rap-rock. Like “Prom Queen,” the rap-rock album Rebirth is dragged down by drab backing tracks which are akin to the canned heavy metal the world of video games gave up years previously. Hearing Wayne bark “I’m so high that the ground is gone/I don’t even know what cloud I’m on” over a tribal rock beat could be special if this wasn’t some uninspired, studio musician’s idea of “tribal”. While his lyrics are still peppered with the usual wit and laugh-out-loud punch lines, crunching guitars bring out a tedious mopey side of the man you won’t find elsewhere, and many cuts go into downward spirals of weeping and wailing. Then, out of nowhere, comes the jittery new wave of “Get a Life,” and suddenly Weezy’s riding the beats with his usual flair and dropping F-bombs through the Auto-Tune as if Cash Money just signed Devo and couldn’t be happier. Wayne connects with the tune perhaps because of its synthetic, synth pop nature. The rest of the album finds him trying hard -- mostly too hard -- to interact and feed off live musicians when he’s well aware, and has often said, he’s best on his own. It’s more interesting to ponder Wayne's reasons for making Rebirth than to actually listen to it, because the end result is a loud and ignorable bore.

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