When I had originally heard that Lil’ Wayne was working on a rock album, I immediately had a flashback to Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert in June where the rapper took the stage, high off his ass, guitar in hand. Eyes ablaze, he strummed the same chord over and over and the crowd unsurprisingly went nuts. This performance was entertaining for the five minutes it lasted, but in no way did I think I was witnessing the next Jimmy Page.
Naturally, my reaction to the new rock album due in May was biased. Weezy’s latest venture is supposedly the result of not hearing beats inspirational enough for him to want to rap. I guess after recording and releasing ten new songs a day, one would run out of inspiration.
This transformation from rap connoisseur to rockstar is not as sudden as it may appear. Toward the end of 2008, Lil’ Wayne released the song, “Hot Revolver,” where he samples lyrics from Green Day’s “Basket Case” over a rock refrain, which I obsessed over for a good month. I decided to disregard my unfavorable recollection of Lil’ Wayne- the Rockstar, and listen to “Prom Queen,” which is the first single off of Rebirth.
I appreciate his attempt to cross genre lines and substantiate his legacy as an innovator. But if Lil’ Wayne wants to be a rockstar, this is not a good first impression. The single is just okay; his raspy, unintelligible voice is still intact, but somehow it doesn’t sound right over harsh electric guitar riffs.
I will not quickly dismiss this latest endeavor, because if I know anything about Lil’ Wayne, he is quite possibly one of the most dedicated artists. Even if this album sucks, he’ll release hundreds of flops a week until he gets it right. Like his rap on Santogold’s, Unstoppable: “My name is Weezy/I’m almost Perfect/And I work harder than hardworking.”
– Carly Wolkoff