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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lil' Wayne - Rebirth review

Officially as of yesterday, Lil Wayne’s Rebirth album was pushed back to June 22. I figured I may as well review this now while people actually still care, but I guess that’s already fleeting, hence the pushback (again). Similar to Kanye’s 808’s & Heartbreak, this is Lil’ Wayne supposed dramatic style change. However where Kanye adopted autotuned, tribal drummed, synth-altenapop, Rebirth is supposed to be Wayne’s debut rock album. Also like Kanye, many predicted this would easily be his worst cd yet, and by the sounds of it, it seems like it. The difference in the two’s stabs at experimenting is that Kanye kept the autotuned, tribal drummed, synth-altenapop theme through the whole album and actually produced hit singles (“Heartless” and “Love Lockdown”). Lil’ Wayne’s album is more rock influenced (at times…) than all out rock, and he has not been able to spawn any hits, unless you count “Prom Queen” selling a lot on itunes, just because it was the first single, and people were interested. In all the album is very bad, I mean awful, but it does have its moments.
On one hand, “Da Da Da” may hands down be the worst song of his career, not to mention the past year. There are too many vocal effects (autotune and distortion), the production is too busy, Wayne doesn’t even try with the lyrics: “I know u want me/give me that monkey/ that funky monkey/ (screwed voice) that funky monkey”. The hook really is him on the autotune just saying da da da. “Get a Life” and “Runnin” really don’t fare that much better either. They are proof that Lil Wayne really isn’t cut out for trying to be “experimental” and should stick to what he knows, because this is not working for him. Also, Shannell (AKA SNL), the singer of Young Money and supposedly the driving force of the album really does not have that impressive of a voice either. With the right production she could make some pop hits, but really she makes Rihanna sound like Whittney Houston pre Bobby Brown. Most of the cd seems like a collage of vaguely rock-ish sounds being put together with Wayne and Shannell singing, screaming, and sounding like their dying with no regard for the actual music. Then some songs, just don’t even seem like it’s much of a rock influence at all. The second single, “On Fire”, with it’s clearly Miami sound would work well on a Rick Ross or DJ Khaled album.
The cd does have definite highlights though. The 1st single “Prom Queen” really is not awful and if all of the songs blended his hip hop roots to the new rock sound, the album may not have turned out so bad. Also, other than Shannell and Tyga, the guests definitely pick up the 2nd half of the album. Eminem delivers a great verse on “Drop the World”, Kevin Rudolf continues to make good (not exactly great) collaborations with Wayne on “One Way Trip”, while Nicki Minaj steals the show on “Knockout”. It actually seems suited for the Z-100 pop/rock base, but Nicki’s autotuned hook sounds poppy enough to get airplay, while she delivers a rap/yelled verse that shows she is conscious of the albums direction. The cd really was horrible, but no one goes to Lil Wayne for pushing the envelope or artistic expression. That’s what Kanye is for. If the cd actually comes out, which may not even happen…who knows, it’ll be interesting to see if it sells just on Wayne’s name alone, since the music wont sell it.

3/10: Listen to: “Knockout”, “Drop the World”, and “Prom Queen”
Avoid: “Da Da Da”, “Runnin’” and “Get a Life”