Despite Lil Wayne's recent medical scare that dominated music news for days, the visionary rapper is on track to release his new album, I Am Not a Human Being II, on Tuesday (despite having leaked a few days ago to file-sharing sites). According to Cortez Bryant, Lil Wayne's manager and Chief Visionary Officer of his Young Money label, despite the headlines, Wayne's new effort capture him at the most vital moment yet of his career.
"It's mixtape Weezy – straight street bangers you're going to hear in the club," Cortez says. "The sound is more urban, with no R&B hooks, and the wordplay is still incredible and shocking – every bar has some witty punchline. Wayne really took it back to his roots."
"It reminds me of the traditional Cash Money sound," adds Bryan Williams, Cash Money's co-founder, who also rhymes under his Birdman alias. "He went back to raw rapping and beats with lots of swagger." Of course, rap's resident alien doesn't exactly do basic: take the Diplo-produced "Lay It Down," featuring Nicki Minaj. "It's not a normal hip-hop track," notes Bryant. "At first, I thought it was kinda weird – the beat sounds like it came from outer-space – but it grew on me, and Nicki killed it."
Minaj heads up a stellar guest list including Drake, 2 Chainz, Future, Big Sean and Gunplay. According to Bryant, Young Money protégé Gudda Gudda almost outshines his mentor on the track "Gunwalk." "Gudda Gudda just kills on that," Bryant says. "Wayne said he almost couldn't get his bars off because Gudda's voice is so nice."
From advance notice, I Am Not a Human Being II also seems to be a Dirty South movement unto itself: former Three 6 Mafia mastermind Juicy J produces and raps on a few cuts, and Miami's self-proclaimed "baddest bitch" Trina appears on the Souljah Boy-assisted cut "Trigger Finger." Tunechi keeps the vibes diverse in Human Being II's gritty urban gumbo, moving from the topical rant "God Bless America" – featuring the sure-to-be-controversial chorus "God bless America/This godless America" – to downright love jams like "Romance."
"That's one for the females," Bryant explains. "It's about real love and relationships. Wayne's delivery on the song is crazy – it really penetrates." According to Bryant, such diversity is par for the Weezy course. Lil Wayne remains a master of hip-hop's many moods: as such, the album's eerie, Kanye West-designed cover art featuring a blood-red moth provides perfect symbolism for Weezy's latest evolution, suggesting this isn't the last we've heard from him. "Moths always transform into butterflies," Bryant explains. "Wayne continues to reinvent himself, but every phase always ends up a beautiful thing."
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