- Cash Money
By Jackson Howard, Daily Arts Writer
Published March 26, 2013
Since releasing his 2008 masterpiece Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne fostered the careers of Drake and Nicki Minaj, went to jail and started skateboarding. Noticeably absent over this five-year span, though, is quality music. I Am Not a Human Being and Tha Carter IV were underwhelming releases from the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper Alive,” and Wayne’s position as unrivaled rap god faded to the point of ridicule. On I Am Not a Human Being II, Wayne tries to reestablish himself in the public eye as a rapper again.
I Am Not a Human Being II
Cash Money Records
Unfortunately, I Am Not a Human Being II makes it clear the magic of Wayne’s art dissipated. The whimsical and psychotic lines of his past — once his biggest strengths — are now his flaws, having turned into cheesy and desperate attempts to capture earlier greatness. This void of artistic direction leaves behind a messy mixture of sex, drugs, violence and incoherent rambling. Sure, there are flashes of old brilliance here, but Wayne’s lyrics on the project make no sense when put together; it’s as if he wrote hundreds of half-assed one-liners and smashed them together to create an album.
Take the opening track, “IANAHB,” a piano-flooded ramble that is supposed to come off as serious, but instead is riddled with sexual fantasies about Transformers and lines like, “I’m in the ocean getting shark pussy.” Sex is Wayne’s go-to subject matter these days, and each track on the album contains enough vulgarity and stupidity to make even the most die-hard Wayne fan blush.
Most vulgar of all is the Soulja Boy-produced, Trina-featuring “Wowzers.” Soulja’s beat sounds more or less equivalent to an inebriated sloth pressing the same two piano keys, and, over the chorus, Wayne compares his tongue to an Uzi and his dick to an AK. He also manages to slip in the word “Peniscolada,” while Trina’s verse contains too much unprintable trash to even be referenced.
Still, Wayne’s ear for production can nonetheless pick out a few great beats, including a handful of solid tracks from Juicy J, Cool & Dre and Detail, the latter of which produces and features on the bombastic lead single, “No Worries.” Frequent Drake collaborator T-Minus laces “Rich as Fuck,” one of the better songs, with a head-bobbing, funk-grooving beat, and Wayne manages to let some of his vintage charisma shine. 2 Chainz steals the show on the chorus, but his appearance is much too short, probably because Wayne knew 2 Chainz would outshine him as he did on the third track, “Days and Days.”
Besides the two 2 Chainz appearances, IANAHBII benefits from two other extremely well-placed features: Gunplay on “Beat the Shit” and the trio of Drake/Future/Mike WiLL Made It on “Bitches Love Me.”
Gunplay, Rick Ross’s clinically insane hype-man who has been rising steadily over the past year, absolutely demolishes “Beat the Shit.” “I’m a knuckle-throwin’ knucklehead / What that motherfucker said?” he roars at the start of the song, completely destroying his verse with threats to “beat a n*gga down ’til he left without vital sign.” Wayne does his part too, cooing ironically in auto-tune over the chorus to “beat the shit” out of somebody on top of a beat that will certainly incite a riot at some point.
On “Bitches Love Me,” the most successful single from the album, Mike WiLL Made It lays down a hypnotic, codeine-laced that Drake and Future sing a perfect chorus over. The song was destined to be a hit — a pairing of the hottest producer in the game and the two best chorus-men around — and Wayne’s elementary and cheesy rhymes serve simply as placeholders until the chorus.
“God Bless Amerika” seems to be Wayne’s only attempt to create something meaningful on the LP. Cool & Dre provide an expansive and demented beat, and Wayne’s rhymes actually sound somewhat legitimate. The song doesn’t pack the power of Tha Carter III standout “Dontgetit,” but it is the lone example of introspective examination on the album.
“Everybody wanna tell me what I need / You can play a role in my life but not the lead / I saw a butterfly in hell today / Will I die or go to jail today?” Wayne wonders in the outro, and for a moment his inner-conflict is almost tangible. Then “Wowzers” comes on and ruins what could’ve been the perfect ending to the album. Dwayne Carter the human being might’ve survived the seizures he suffered last week, but Lil Wayne the rapper is anything but alive.