Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Lil Wayne, Rebirth, Releases of the Week, Tear Drop Tune 2, Tha Carter 3, Weezy
PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Lil Wayne’s “Ground Zero” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts
More than just a long-awaited CD from the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper Alive,” Lil’ Wayne’s Tha Carter III sounded like a victory lap. After a year of dropping song-stealing guest verses on seemingly every major single, releasing mixtapes that were arguably better than many hip-hop albums on sale in stores, and breaking every rule defining what a rapper should be, Lil’ Wayne finally completed an actual album. He lived up to his potential, sold three million records, won a Grammy and earned critical accolades. So, the question needs to be asked, now what?
Well, the answer may lie in one of his new mixtapes, Tear Drop Tune 2. It starts off with a five song assault of rock.
But you shouldn’t be too surprised by this. After all Lil’ Wayne’s been teasing Rebirth, his “rock album” for months. Still though, it remains a shock to hear Weezy rap over shredding guitars and crashing drums. And all considered, it sounds pretty good, specifically tracks like “Ground Zero.” Weezy brings his trademark confidence to each of the rock tracks, yet fails to include his best rhymes. The songs sound like test runs, for something more inventive that Lil’ Wayne’s only starting to warm up.
The other songs on the record are a different story. Apart from some returns to the blistering guitars that dominated the early part of the mixtape, like on standout “Ready For The World,” the production is typified by fairly B-grade electronics with minimalist synthesizers and drum beats abound. If he’d brought his A-game lyrically, this would be forgiven, but unfortunately, he fails to. Instead, Wayne tosses off these songs, and besides some exceptions– stereotypically braggadocios “Kobe Bryant” and the fun, dance-ready “Told Y’all”– it shows. Of all people, he should know that slacking off is not an option, even on a mixtape.
However, in spite of Tear Drop Tune 2’s tossed-off feel, the mixtape is not without its merits. Lil’ Wayne, even at his worst, is still one of the best wordsmiths in rap today. And as to what he’s going to do now to follow-up Tha Carter III? It appears that this is only the tip of the iceberg for Lil’ Wayne.
— Marc Sollinger