There’s the essential canon of Lil Wayne’s extensive discography, and then there’s I Am Not A Human Being II.
With his incredible music run in the second half of the last decade, Lil Wayne fulfilled his personal quest to become one of rap’s greats. The next few years found Wayne experimenting with song structures, finding new inspiration in singing and even rock music to push the boundaries of what was acceptable in pop music. At this point in his career though, Lil Wayne seems to have no greater agenda. Rapping is something he just happens to do, and there is no impetus for him to do it especially well.
Much of what is enjoyable on this album has nothing to do with his lyrics. The melodic delivery and inflection in Wayne’s voice transform the mediocre writing on “Curtains” into menacing braggadocio. The production and guest appearances drive the single “Bitches Love Me,” while Wayne coasts comfortably in the spaces between.
There are, too, rare showcases of vulnerability on this album. Referring to his 2010 stint in prison on “Rich As Fuck,” Wayne raps, “And then I went and got locked up, and every night I dreamed I broke out.” This album as a whole, though, is sloppy and frustratingly unnecessary. It is filled to the brim with awful jokes and graphic sexual metaphors (“Suck this dick and swallow that nut. Call it penis colada”) that would make even the biggest Wayne apologists cringe.
The album’s title refers to the image of an alien, which Lil Wayne has playfully taken upon in recent years as a way to justify his eccentricities and musical choices. But it turns out Lil Wayne isn’t an alien anymore. His abilities are now lackluster, his peculiarities less interesting. The few brilliant moments on IANAHB2 are overshadowed by utterly basic ones. The album doesn’t even seem to be all that important to him. In a statement in response to his recent hospitalization, in which the rapper reassured everybody of his health and well-being, Lil Wayne reminded his fans of the album’s release, stating, “You can get that shit if you want.” He followed that up by saying, “If not, it’s whatever.”
Contact Rahul Pandya at [email protected].