Lights Out

Eighteen-year-old Lil' Wayne, one of B.G.'s fellow Hot Boys (along with Juvenile and Young Turk), has followed up his blinging '99 debut, Tha Block Is Hot, with Lights Out. Mannie Fresh is at the board once again, and the beats here are staccato and jittery, suited to Wayne's precariously controlled persona. The rapper spits propulsive, high-speed rhymes in "Fuck Wit Me Now" and struggles with the demands of adult life ("Oh, man/It's complicated doing everything on your own, man") on "Grown Man." Unlike other companies that made their mark earlier, Cash Money has not stylistically redefined hip-hop, but with talent and releases this commanding, the label shows no sign of fading.