Review Summary: Wayne reveals a new latent talent with witty punchlines, risky production and an unchained flow. But he's not a rapper.
Almost every track Lil' Wayne has released emphasizes that he is not ordinary. Whether it be a proclamation that he is the best rapper alive, not a human being, or simply ahead of the curve, we're supposed to believe Wayne is cutting edge. Unfortunately, Tha Carter IV was nothing but average. Varying tracks of different genres; R&B, hip-hop, rock, all seemed to demonstrate he was trying to fit in. Since the release of Tha Carter IV, Wayne's been proving he has no more desire to be normal. He's made headlines after talking about quitting music to start skateboarding. He's been talked up by every emcee in his posse, especially Mack Maine who has claimed that I Am Not A Human Being II is lyrically "insane" and “When he does I Am Not a Human Being, he actually taps into a different part of his brain where he just talks out of his mind and out of this world. Just expect him being Wayne, but more edgy, saying what he wants, a lot of fun, a lot of high energy.” Is the album Wayne's magnum opus like the YMCMB fanboys have been claiming it will be? That's the wrong question. Is the album revolutionary? This is Lil' Wayne we're talking about. Is the album...enjoyable? For the most part, yes.
Let me get this clear right away. This album is solid and cohesive. Unlike Tha Carter IV, it has a unified theme which brings the tracks together. I Am Not A Human Being II is (mostly) about sex. A few of the tracks predictably contain references to Wayne's confidence in the bedroom. A few are revealing, as Wayne reveals some doubts and regrets about women he thought he trusted. Others are mixed bags, with just lightly humorous and subversive jokes about the subject. I'm not saying the album is by any means deep, but it's refreshing to see Wayne focused. It makes for a better and more interesting martian, rather than a dull one. There are of course, tracks obviously dedicated to Wayne's other favorite topics, like "Gunwalk" and "Trigger Finger" which explain Wayne's subtle interests in violence involving automatic weapons, "Rich as ***" which is a piece of celebratory excess, "God Bless Amerika" which is a surprisingly effective piece of social commentary, and "Trippy" which details Wayne's "occasional flirtation" with illicit substances. But from the emcee who made "Lollipop" don't be shocked by the numerous references to oral sex. A man's got to eat.
The production on the album is risky and unproven, and it works. The album is almost a statement by the producers on what hip-hop's instrumentals have become, and them trying to audibly explain what they'd like changed. The opening song, "IANAHB" is actually one of the most effective I've heard in a long time, as it's just Wayne unleashing bars over an unplugged piano, and nothing else. The spastic and loopy production of "My Homies Still" fits Wayne's voice perfectly, as it's alien, distorted, and a bit robotic, which is what we've come to expect from Weezy. "Gunwalk" is almost a parody of trap music, in its grimy yet simplistic structure, and you can tell Wayne feels comfortable with it. "Rich as ***" is spooky, simplistic and ominously empty. "Days and Days" contains a soul sample and builds almost the entire track from Barbara Lynn's vocals. This is an album which embraces a dark, independent and adventurous feel, and there are no risks included that don't pay off in some fashion. There's even, on occasion, a bit of rapping over heavy metal, which as we all know was terrible on Rebirth, but Wayne seems to have more or less "mastered" it here.
The album is packed with guest appearances, who bring a different variety of talents to the work. Some of them work better than others. Big Sean is my favorite guest on the album, as his spot on "My Homies Still" feels energetic and enthusiastic, spitting non-stop punchlines and his flow blending with the trippy production perfectly. 2 Chainz is a small feature even though he's on more than one track, there's just enough for him to not overstay his welcome. Drake and Wayne have always complimented each other well, so I have no complaints for his feature. Future constructs quality hooks, that are fairly catchy. (I'm on that good kush and alcohol...) Other guests are more or less redundant. Nicki Minaj is just shoved into the album for the sake of having her as a guest, and Soulja Boy almost ruins the track he's featured on, and the track he produced is terrible. (Trigger Finger and Wowzers.) For the most part though, if you like Wayne's collaboration efforts, this album won't disappoint.
My final impressions of this album are that it exceeded my expectations, which were close to nothing. YMCMB fans will love it. Lil' Wayne detractors will find something to hate, be it the metal, Weezy's voice and flow, or the pussy-obsessed lyrics. Casual Lil' Wayne fans like myself will appreciate the album in small doses, as I myself can tire of Wayne after a bit. It's better than the previous "I Am Not a Human Being" LP, and better than "Tha Carter IV." Face it though, we're never getting mixtape Weezy back. We're never getting Tha Carter II Weezy back. But I can settle for this version of Lil' Wayne.
Days and Days
Rich as ***
Bitches Love Me
Tracks to Avoid: