I Am Not a Human Being II

OK, fine, Lil Wayne isn't a human being. But is he a rapper? Last summer, Weezy said that rap had become "boring," and he's made noises about quitting music to concentrate on his new love, skateboarding. He's also made headlines for all kinds of extra-musical reasons: his beef with Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh, his brush-with-death hospitalization, his cough-syrup addiction. What he hasn't been doing much of is calling himself the Greatest Rapper Alive, as he once did, at every available opportunity.

This is exactly the record you'd expect to hear from Weezy in 2013: a solid album by a brilliant MC who's half-interested. He raps almost exclusively about sex, especially oral sex; there may be more cunnilingus metaphors in these 15 songs than in all previous pop music combined. He can still reel off dazzling rhymes; songs like the spookily minimalist 2 Chainz collab "Rich As Fuck" are worth it just for the nimble musicality of his vocal tone and flow. The woozy "Romance" is a genuinely kinky sex song: "Give me coochie at my momma's crib/On Thanksgiving/ Everybody listening." But there's none of the exhilarating surprise – lyrically or conceptually – of his peak years. (The drug song "Trippy" is a pale rehash of "I Feel Like Dying.") And some tracks are just dispiritingly lame. "My tongue is a Uzi/My dick is a AK," he raps in the clattering Soulja Boy-produced "Wowzers." E.T. phones it in.

From The Archives Issue 1180: April 11, 2013