Review: Lil Wayne - Rebirth

Last year, Lil Wayne's No Ceilings mixtape, in which he took ownership of 2009 hits such as "Run this Town" and "Throw it in the Bag" away from his contemporaries, was highly regarded by critics and fans for its complete lack of auto-tune as much as its clever punchlines and obtuse metaphors. Wayne's newest release, as well as his first studio recording since Carter IIIRebirth is sort of an extension of the experimental side that was hinted at on that album and his other recent work. It's sort of like his inverse answer to Chris Cornell's Scream; it's am answer which no one asked for though, and sadly the ending result makes the comparison between the two albums uncomfortably appropriate.

Admirably, Wayne is anything but shy about taking his brand in various unexplored directions on Rebirth, even doing his own instrumentation in some areas. However whatever novelty-factor that remains of hearing Lil Wayne singing thrash-metal or playing a guitar is quickly drowned out by its own outdated sound, running the gamut sonically from watered down and cheesy mid 1990s alternative radio jams to pre-Appetite For Destruction hair metal ballads. Production-wise, Rebirth is able to boast names such the The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Travis Barker as well as other contributors, which makes it all the more disappointing that the songs seem to just run together.

Except of course for all of Rebirth's meddling excursions into new territory, which meet a similar level of mediocrity. The tragically corny “Get a Life” does a punk-polka dance in the dead middle of the album that doesn't need to be heard too many more times than once. “One-way-trip” has a light industrial influence and features a seething keyboard riff which sounds like a  rehash of something from The Fragile.

The worst part is that all the monotonous clutter makes very little room for any standout tracks. One of those being “On-Fire” in which Wayne croons over an Amy Holland sample that any fan of Scarface or Grand Theft Auto 3 will instantly recognize. However its the anxiously-overworked drums that qualify this as a long standing club favorite. “Drop the World” features a dauntless Eminem, whose double time flow is a welcome relief from whatever Wayne is doing for the rest of the song-even if his verse is only about “walls closing in” and various other long clichéd subject matter. If anything, its a reminder of how out-of-place Wayne sounds with this material, and how uneven the rest of the album is.

Grade: D

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