Once regarded by fans and critics alike as one of the best to ever do it, they say that actions speak louder than words – and the Lil Wayne headlines of late have definitely been more about his actions and less about his words. From vocally chastising the Miami Heat basketball team to being rushed to hospital in a reported near-fatal condition, the self-proclaimed best rapper alive now gives fans the follow-up to his 2010 volume one release of the same name, I Am Not A Human Being II.
With less substance than his 2010 effort, the stories told on IANAHB2 concentrate more on being a spoilt brat with unlimited access to pussy, cars, clothes, drink, and drugs. However, the thing that sets Wayne apart from the rest of the competition, which is also something noticeable throughout the entire album, is his flawless ability to continuously muster up punchlines out of thin air. Now whether or not it has anything to do with his so-called extraterrestrial mindset, some of the bars featured are seriously out of this world.
Featuring a smash like “Bitches Love Me” is obviously going to garner a serious amount of attention for the album, however many will argue that the success of the song itself is more about the appearances of Drake and Future. That said, the first volume of IANAHB featured mass amounts of Drizzy, and now Young Money’s self-claimed white knight can only get a single hook on an 18 track deluxe edition project. Whereas the prior album was more about introducing the Young Money team, volume two’s kaleidoscope of genres, styles and flows offers up an erratic and sometimes confused collection of records.
Some of the album’s stronger joints come in the form of “Gunwalk” and “Trippy,” which both non-coincidentally feature production and vocals from Juicy J. As one of the hottest comebacks in rap as of late, Juicy’s affiliation with Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang has put him in a new category of personal high demand. His signature sound, which hears the ‘yeah hoe’ sample used by him back during the early Three-6-Mafia days ring out, sits comfortably beneath Wayne’s violently-based lyrics and slurred delivery.
With skateboarding and his Trukfit clothing line being something else that separates Weezy from the rest of the pack, his love of rock music has always been another. While his Rebirth rock album received mixed reviews, that hasn’t stopped the Birdman Jr. from recording more guitar-tinged efforts and slapping them on IANAHB2. Singing the opening lines to Green Day’s famous “Basket Case” on his own joint “Hot Revolver,” Weezy’s love of rock music takes one too many steps on this occasion – and whilst the above mentioned track isn’t painfully horrible, the Mike Banger produced “Hello” is. While Limp Bizkit might be signed to Young Money, Wayne is as far from Fred Durst as Freddie Kruger being featured in a children’s book.
Simply because the industry can be so fickle, people are quick to forget things when it comes to music and fame. Wayne is where he is because he’s had, and still does to a certain extent, the skills needed to take the game by storm. How many people have already forgotten his popularity run prior to the release of Tha Carter III? He was on everything and not a single person was hating. Lyrically strong, he became an even bigger star than he already was.
Glimpses of this particular version of Mr. Carter can be heard once again on his latest album’s opening cut IANAHB2. Over a beautifully arranged piano piece, Wayne is heard spitting introductory lines such as, “I be grinding on them hoes like a half pipe/ She say Tunechi you the shit you need your ass wiped,” and, “I got her over here blowing me like coffee, decaffeinated/ Hand me that paper like I graduated/ And I get head while it’s decapitated.” As much as they sound braggadocios and at times foul, the lines are quirky, hilarious, original; and nine times out of ten true.
With the album as a whole not following any particular path as far as a musical structure goes, there are uncharacteristically solid moments that will surprise certain listeners. “Romance” might come off sounding like the confession of a love struck sexual junkie – but that’s Wayne. You either love him or you hate him. The track works as a magnifying glass into his sexual exploits and the way in which he connects love and lust, and it’s one of the few times throughout the entire project that his passion seems authentic. Love appears to be something that the rapper struggles to deal with on IANAHB2, which goes hand in hand with the album’s sentiment that he is in fact not a human being; human emotion is a struggle for him.
As a full body of work, I Am Not A Human Being II isn’t anywhere near the quality of some of Wayne’s previous efforts. However, featuring the odd moment here and there that showcases he’s still got it further proves that perhaps he’s trying to find himself once again. His punchlines are the show stealer without a doubt, but his constant ramblings about how many women he’s bedded and what he can do with his mountains of money get old very fast. Wayne is lyrical beast, he just needs a push in the right direction as far as songwriting goes.