Music Review: Lil Wayne's "Rebirth"

2/03/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

There are two possible explanations for Lil Wayne’s rock incarnation “Rebirth.” A: After selling a bagillion copies of “Tha Carter III” and racking up a bunch of Grammy nominations last year, Lil Wayne proclaimed himself a musical genius, and after hanging out with Fall Out Boy and Kevin Rudolph, was convinced that he could conquer the rock world. B: Lil Wayne was so unimpressed with the state of rock ‘n roll today that he decided to make a satire album.

Until now the release date for “Rebirth” has been pushed back several times and Lil Wayne attributes that to his perfectionism. A more likely story is that the feedback since the release of the album’s first single. “Prom Queen,” which appeared over a year ago, has been overwhelmingly negative. “Prom Queen” is enough to convince anyone that singing is not Wayne’s thing, even with heavy autotune on top. While “Lolipop” may have gotten the prom queen at Wayne’s high school to second-guess rejecting him, the song about that particular subject would certainly reaffirm her choice. “Prom Queen” is a prototype for several of the album’s other tracks: Angry, vulgar lyrics sung nightmarishly in front of an electric guitar template.

“Rebirth” might have benefited from including the expertise of more rock producers. Most of the songs are produced by hip-hop producers like DJ Infamous, who worked on Wayne’s Grammy-nominated “Mr. Carter,” and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, produces who have worked with Fat Joe, LL Cool J, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross, but who have worked on zero rock-related projects.

Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump produced “Ground Zero,” which contains no Fall Out flavor. It is a lame, amateurish attempt at dark, edgy and heavy, flat lyrics: “The ground is gone/don’t look now but the ground is gone/I’m so high that the ground is gone/and I don’t even know which crowd I’m on/
don’t look down but the ground is gone.”

“Paradice” produced by Kevin Rudolph is the first glimpse of a song with potential, a potential that can never be reached with Wayne’s droning vocals. Kevin Rudolph gives a facelift to another Wayne track “One Way Trip,” this time providing his vocals, while Travis Barker produces. It works because Wayne revisits rapping and lets Rudolph sing the catchy chorus. The best song is the single “Drop the World,” featuring Eminem, a song they performed together at the Grammys Sunday night. An Eminem verse immediately enhances the track, but once again, it works because Wayne stops singing, starts rapping and also because the imitation rock sound isn’t being shoved down our throats. It sound more like a rap track with rock elements.

Wayne says “Rebirth” was inspired by the Beastie Boys. Anyone who sounds intrigued should know that Wayne may have the Beastie Boys confused with someone else.

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