Album review: Lil Wayne’s ‘I Am Not a Human Being’
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Lil Wayne may boast that he’s not a human being, but the state of New York has other ideas. At press time, inmate No. 02616544L languishes in solitary confinement, finishing off an eight-month prison sentence and unable to sustain his notorious prolificacy.
Consisting of tracks allegedly intended for the indefinitely postponed “Tha Carter IV,” “I Am Not a Human Being” represents a stopgap effort, with Wayne mired in a peculiar stasis. Wildly profane, the New Orleans trickster ascended to hip-hop’s top spot through his surreal spontaneity and marathon recording sessions that yielded a singular eccentricity. But where it was once impossible to predict his next couplet, Wayne and his protégé Drake have calcified into a stiff simile-laden formalism that earned its own Twitter meme earlier this year, with Internet nerds vying to best mimic the Young Money lyrical style.
It’s unclear whether the creative languor stems from the inherent commercial pressure of being the Young Money meal ticket or whether Wayne has exhausted his ideas after compressing a career’s worth of songs into three years. Paired on a generic trio of tracks with smug aftershave-underling Drake, “Gonorrhea,” “Right Above It” and “With You” achieve a bizarre solipsism, with Wayne actively aping his most slavish imitator. And on bachelor ode “I’m Single,” flush pocket paean “Bill Gates” and the extraterrestrial title track, Wayne’s done this shtick better before. He might want to repudiate his own humanity, but on “I’m Not a Human Being,” Wayne reveals he’s mortal after all.
-- Jeff Weiss
“I Am Not a Human Being”