I remember Maria. Maria (not her real name) was that girl who wasn’t just hot by some clichéd high school standard, she was beautiful. To make matters worse for the love-sick boys that orbited around her, she practiced a kindness that in retrospect was more like manipulation, always offering just enough of a smile or a conversation to make boys (like me) believe that they might, just might, have a chance. So when I found myself alone with Maria, both of us just drunk enough, at one of those parties that seemed to mysteriously manifest …
DJBooth Album Review
America, we are all Maria, and Lil Wayne is me. I’ll give you a moment to try to figure it out. Not getting it? Ok, let me explain. I hate to state the obvious, but Lil Wayne is in jail, and has been there for months, which means the material that makes up Weezy’s new LP I Am Not A Human Being is comprised of either leftovers from his (terrible) previous album The Rebirth, and loose tracks or songs he didn’t think was worth holding onto for his upcoming full album Tha Carter IV. Clearly Wayne, who’s never been shy to put out material, and the Cash Money brass decided screw it, we’ve got all this music sitting around, let’s go for it. Best case scenario, we make some money and Wayne’s name gets back in the headlines. Worse case scenario, I Am Not flops and we’re in the exact same position we’re in now. The planets will (hopefully) only align this way once. Let’s do it.
The good news for hardcore Weezy F. fans is that the man’s back to raw rapping…or at least he was before he got locked up…at least some of the time. I can’t believe I’m actually writing this sentence, but damn it was good to hear Gonorrhea. Ok, so the ridiculously titled record is essentially a poor man’s A Milli, but I haven’t heard Weezy just go in over a dope beat in so long I’ll take it. Incredibly, Wayne rhymes for more than four minutes on Gonorrhea without a single “make it clap” reference (I’m not explaining that one), but with the addition of a good-not-great Drake verse, it’s still repeat worthy. Actually, come to think of it, the better selection for those hungry for raw Tunechi rhymes is the slowly banging Bill Gates, a joint that’s as close to “mixtape Weezy” as we’ve heard in a minute. I’d also throw Hold Up into this rap-centric group, though a meager (to put it kindly) verse from Young Money rep T. Streets drags the record down, and while I was fully prepared to hate obvious Rebirth leftover and title track I Am Not a Human Being, I couldn’t help but get sucked in by the hard rock energy, and minimal singing. And I can’t forget That Ain’t Me, which minus an ill-fitting Jay Sean hook, is a dopely personal effort. None of these cuts will go down in the Wayne hall of fame, but remember, the bar’s “is it better than nothing?” on this LP, and by that measure, the answer is yes.
The bad news for hardcore Weezy fans it that the man’s obviously still got some serious rock and pop aspirations. He actually manages to balance things nicely on Right Above It, giving his street level flow a more radio friendly bounce, but unfortunately from there it’s all downhill. It’s bizarre to listen to I’m Single and think, “Drake would have done this so much better,” but that’s exactly what happened, and the quasi-spoken word With You is almost painfully forced at times – unless perhaps you’re the kind of woman who thinks lines like, “tonight it’s moonlight and candles and s**t” is romantic. Frankly, I’d rather not even acknowledge Popular’s existence, but since it’s my job, I’ll dutifully report that the Bedrock-rehash, which Lil Twist manages to take from bad to terrible, is, well, terrible. Truly great artists don’t make tracks like this. They just don’t.
So what happened with Maria? I won the battle but not the war. By the next, more sober day, it was back to mere acquaintances. While I like to believe she doesn’t regret that night, I find it hard to believe she thinks of it often, if ever. Most likely, it was just another relatively forgettable moment in a lifetime full of similar moments. What does all that mean for I Am Not a Human Being? I’ll let you figure it out.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 09/27/10
Cash Money/Universal Motown
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Hollywood Divorce ft. Lil' Wayne & Snoop Dogg" (2006)
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