This album is abhorrent. That’s a fancier way of saying “bad” or “this sucks”, all phrases that apply to Lil Wayne’s latest abomination of music, this one called Rebirth. This one should have been killed back in the infancy of its conceptualization. I’m not a very big fan of Wayne. When I heard a year or so ago that he was planning to entertain the idea of a “rock” album, I thought it made LESS sense than that whole Joaquin-Phoenix-is-becoming-a-rapper-or-is-on-drugs thing that confused the Internet for a few weeks. At least Joaquin had the look of someone who had lost his mind. Lil Wayne, though, retained the same image throughout the ordeal, which can only mean that Rebirth was something “Weezy” honestly thought would be a good idea, which it most definitely is not.
American Star, which kicks off this mess, sets and ominous tone for the record. Lazy guitar work and a Garage Band drum beat that is supposed to be reminiscent of a “rock and roll” sound accompany Weezy’s insipid and incredibly Auto-Tuned lyrics about how he came from the ghetto and is now on top or some other such typical superstar rapper posturing. Toward the end of the song, Wayne shouts ‘BRIDGE!’, and goes on to point out that he was, "born and raised in the USA where the president is b-l-a-c-k" two times. I am HUMBLED by his talent.
The next song is Prom Queen, which came out more than a year ago to basically no fanfare, probably because it’s absolute trash. Its shitty guitar totally copies System of a Down’s Chop Suey, in a way that is more obvious than any of those Coldplay controversies. Lyrically, when Weezy waxes poetic about how he "loved her fancy underwear, I sat behind her every year"and continues in a hideous mumbly-Auto-Tune nightmare vomit voice, I struggled to continue listening to the song. It’s so painfully tone-deaf and obnoxious that it’s almost too much to take.
Ground Zero sounds like a nu-metal rehash, with Wayne sounding angrier but still Auto-Tuned. “I’ma fuck you like a bull, I swear. I gotta lot of love that I could just share, I gotta lot of drugs that I could just share”, he says to no one in particular. I find it somewhat interesting that he talks about jumping out of windows and off of buildings in a song called Ground Zero. Is that supposed to be controversial? Profound? I’m just confused.
Get a Life is more pointless nonsense, with Wayne saying “fuck you, get a life” to someone (perhaps to “haters” like me, who don’t appreciate his “genius”? Hmm.)
On Fire starts out all 1980s, since it is structured on a sample from a song from Scarface, but then it slows down and Wayne grunts more stuff and the song goes to shit. Too bad. It’s one of the more listenable tracks on the album, for what it’s worth.
Drop the World is also not completely terrible, partly because of Eminem’s verse. Wayne angrily snarls "bitch I’ma pick the world up and I’ma drop it on your fuckin’ head", which sounds painful.
Runnin’ has a nice melody (whoa!) and Wayne’s voice isn’t as annoying as on the other songs, which immediately make it one of the album’s “good” (read: tolerable) songs. Someone named Shanell adds some female vocals, which are well-executed.
Wayne shows off his prowess again on One Way Trip when he says, “Woke up this morning with my dick to the ceiling – fell asleep with another chick from my building – kick her ass out and had breakfast like a mofucka – I’m with another bitch by supper.” That’s talent. The song has a bit of a Kid Rock feeling to it, which obviously isn’t a good comparison to make about anything. Inexplicably, this one also has a decent melody going along with it.
Knockout sounds like it’s set to an old Blink-182 drumbeat and guitar riff, but without any of the fun. That’s a good analogy for the record as a whole.
Overall, Rebirth is a terrible realization of an even worse concept. This idea should have died in its initial conception, but of course it didn’t. I’m glad to see that the reception of this record hasn’t been terribly positive. It’s really, really, bad. It takes the basest, most formulaic “rock and roll” sounds and mashes them together with an extremely overrated rapper/mogul in Lil Wayne, who has such a rambling, mumbling delivery that I can’t understand why he’s considered “great”. Rappers like Jay-Z, Nas, Mos Def and others of that stature are actually talented, with inventive lyrics and beats, whereas Wayne raps about licking lollipops and other such thought-provoking, deep topics. Come on, people.
While I may not “understand” Wayne’s rapping skills enough to appreciate him, there’s just nothing to appreciate with Rebirth.
It makes Kevin Federline’s Playing with Fire suddenly have to share the title of most horrible rap album of the past five or so years.