Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rebirth, Releases of the Week
PREVIEW: VISIT Lil’ Wayne’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 6/20 Watts
Over the past decade, Lil’ Wayne has made a name for himself as a game-changer, innovator and popular music icon for an entire generation. Whether rightfully or wrongfully so may be up for debate, but the fact of the matter is that Weezy is a highly marketable, successful brand. Unfortunately for us, this has gone to his head a bit too much of late, hence why we are now faced with evaluating “rock” experiment Rebirth.
If it simply featured some guitar noodling, a couple samples and maybe a guest appearance or two by some notable rock artists, perhaps Rebirth would be both acceptable and favorable as a fan album. Hell, Kanye West‘s 808s and Heartbreak worked out pretty well, and it was virtually one big experiment. However, this is where any comparison between the two records starts and ends.
Instead of taking a conservative approach to a genre he is completely unfamiliar with, Wayne decides to dive right in to all of the pitfalls and hackneyed stereotypes that have made consumption of mainstream rock so insufferable of late. Every song is chock-full of messy clichés and swirling, spiraling solos pulled right out of any number of nu metal records from the past decade. Between tracks completely and unabashedly about sex (“On Fire”), to one solely about being incredibly high (“Ground Zero”), it appears that Rebirth knows not the boundaries of effective and interesting rock music.
It’s this wandering-between-genres persona that may hurt the record most of all. The songs are not catchy enough to be considered pop. The lyrics are atrocious when sung, and surprisingly mindless and overly simple when rapped. All of the instrumental backgrounds are so over-the-top it’s hard to concentrate on what’s going on in the forefront. Sloppy and unorganized, portions of Rebirth are downright difficult to listen to.
As much as those of us who appreciate Lil’ Wayne’s previous work would like to give him some benefit of the doubt here, there’s just very little to like on Rebirth. Awkward, and at times degrading to who he is as an artist, the album is so stuck in Wayne’s perception of being a rock star that it knows little of how ridiculous it sounds in practice. It’s an unfortunate misstep for an otherwise successful artist. Let’s just pretend this never happened once Tha Carter IV is released.
— John Cassillo, Reviews Editor