Lil Wayne - I Am Not A Human Being II Review (2)
Posted by Tony Acero on 03.26.2013
Lil Wayne officially hits double digits with his tenth studio album. Is it a standout album above the rest, or does it fall flat in the midst of Wayne's health issues? 411's Tony Acero has the full review inside!
02. Curtains f. Boo
03. Days And Days f. 2 Chainz
04. Gunwalk f. Gudda Gudda
05. No Worries f. Detail
06. Back To You
07. Trigger Finger f. Soulja Boy
08. Beat The Shit f. Gunplay
09. Rich As Fuck f. 2 Chainz
10. Trippy f. Juicy J
11. Bitches Love Me f. Drake & Future
13. God Bless Amerika
16. Lay It Down f. Nicki Minaj
17. Hot Revolver f. Dre
18. My Homies Still f. Big Sean
Lil Wayne is an interesting character. I recall being told about him roughly a year or so before Tha Carter III was to come out. My good friend played some tracks for me, and I saw nothing special. In fact, it wasn’t until a mixtape called No Ceilings was played for me that I fell for the dude’s music. It was metaphorically sound, funny, and able to intermingle a good time with some cool beats. Lil Wayne would soon be able to divert himself into a mixtape fiend who had fun on records, to a more serious and focused mentality, such as Tha Carter III. That was about 2008, and a lot has changed between now and then. Lil Wayne has become a caricature of his former self. He’s been in and out of the hospital recently, and it may or may not be because of his lifestyle. With rumors of retirement, and even death, Lil Wayne drops what he proposed a more focused album than it’s predecessor. Does I Am Not A Human Being II change the way we think of Lil Wayne or is it more of the same?
We start the album with an immense amount of promise. An Eric Lewis piano-laden beat that got me really excited. The title of the album (and the reason for the first one) was to implement a sort of mixology of music – an experimental album, if you will. And when Wayne starts with “IANAHB,” and I envision a dude rocking out on a piano, it really set me up for something bad ass…then Wayne references his dick as a possible next president, and the album literally falls downhill from there.
There isn’t just one issue with this album, but several, and it’s not solely focused on the content, although that seems to be where the biggest issue is. Wayne takes a studio-released album and makes it feel like a mixtape that a 20 year old with something to prove makes. With numerous references to his penis, sex, and drugs, he brings absolutely nothing new to the table. But what’s worse than that, is the fact that he doesn’t even attempt to bring a new look into old topics, and instead struggles with stretching metaphors far too thin. While there are sprinkles of that metaphorical prowess throughout, it’s nowhere near strong enough to hold the album together, and instead this comes off as a man-child trying to assure us that his dick is used – and frequently. Songs like “Romance” and “Curtains” are focused on sex in such a way that can only be considered crude – and not in a good, or funny way.
Aside from the contact, the presence of numerous guest stars is also an issue, mainly because they, too, bring nothing to the table. Soulja Boy emulates 2 Chainz for no reason on “Trigger Finger,” and speaking of 2 Chainz, he comes to play on two tracks (“Days and Days” and “Rich As Fuck”) that are easily unforgettable. Nicki Minaj, surprisingly, brings a fire that’s not been seen in years, and Drake actually overshadows Wayne on “Bitches Love Me” (one of the few tracks I actually enjoyed). Gunplay seems to be getting a lot of love for his verse on “Beat the Shit,” but I saw nothing worth listening to.
Production was just so-so, with Soulja Boy of all people handling at least two tracks. Others have a chopped and screwed feeling, and not in a good way. Wayne is seemingly attempting to grasp onto the “what’s hot now” A$AP and 2 Chainz sound that truly is only going to last another year – if that, and the one time that he does try and focus on a serious topic, in “God Bless Amerika” he comes out of nowhere with – yet another – reference to sex and “eatin my girl” As if that ain’t enough, he alters his voice to the deepest (ala A$AP) near the end, removing me from the song completely.
In a rare case, songs like “No Worries” and “Bitches Love Me” are stand outs and I truly don’t know if that’s due to them being played so much, or if they truly do have something worth listening to. Even so, they’re not enough for an album to sit atop fully, and they come off as highlights of an otherwise bland album. Wayne’s wit is still present, but only just barely, as more often than not, he makes metaphorical connections that make little sense, have forced rhymes, repeats end verses due to laziness, and there’s a much more obvious presence of repetition in the album.
I said earlier that the first I Am Not A Human Being was made as an experimental album, adding rock elements, and a seemingly haphazard cohesiveness. It wasn’t as great as it could be, but it was nowhere near as bad as its sequel. IANAHB II is a mess. There are songs where experimenting is evident, but for the most part this seems like a bottom of the barrel tracklist with absolutely nothing of substance. This reviewer is not afraid of sex, drugs, and violence in music, not in the least, but when each song of an 18 track album has at least one reference to the male organ and/or fecal matter, there is much to be desired in terms of creativity. It truly feels like Lil Wayne has ran out of something to say, and it’s a damned shame.
The 411: I really did not want to hate this album, but after repeat listens there's nothing there worth purchasing. There are a few songs you'll undoubtedly hear at a strip club but the Wayne of Carter 2, 3, or even 4 is nowhere on this album. Production is subpar. Some of the experimental tracks work, most do not. Guest stars hardly hold water on the album, and the few that do outshine Wayne completely. An unfortunate waste.