Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Album Review: Lil Wayne - Funeral

Lil Wayne
** out of *****

Oscillating between heart broken inner looking depressed mussing and braggadocio strip club jams Lil Wayne's Funeral is all over the map. While the schizophrenic word play proves his talent is still vibrant, the shoddy production, long run time and lack of any truly memorable songs make for a sluggish overall listen.

The truth is Wayne's rhymes are sharp as ever, he smashes through extended simile chains like a wrecking ball, yet his compulsion to always sound modern has him using non existent beats and breathy synths to minimal musical success. His intense rhyming starts directly from the top as the title track is passionate, Wayne has stated the whole album is a dedication to Kobe Bryant with 24 songs representing his jersey number (a bonus edition with 8 more cover all jersey bases).

"Mahogany" produced by Mannie Fresh continues Wayne's torrents of words that, along with "Mama Mia" and late album highlight  "T.O.", are all reminiscent of Eminem's habit of showing off amazing lyrical bars...yet never fully connecting to a song or a mode. The skittering trap sounds of "I Do It" brings in Big Sean and Lil Baby while "Clap For Em" gets the bounce NOLA party booty shaking by the unique route of harpsichord and tried true samples from "Drag Rap (Triggerman)" by The Showboys.

The flip side to that upbeat effort is mild synths and beats of "Wild Dogs" which precedes a mid album run of tracks which delve deep in the artists mind. "Trust Nobody" finds Wayne flirting with acoustic guitar and auto tuned singing, "I Don't Sleep" rips through drug usage, while "Sights and Silencers" plays like morbid late career Michael Jackson R&B. Around the tedious "Ball Hard", which isn't more than a list of things Wayne free associates, the album hits a wall, with the psycho horror film sounding "Bastard (Satan's Kid)" and the limp "Get Outta My Head" (featuring XXXTentacion) grinding the album to a halt. 

While editing was never Wayne's strong suit, thankfully he has saved his best for last as "Wayne World" concludes the overlong effort on a bright note. The Mannie Galvez and Louie Haze beats support Wayne's dexterous party times rhymes, yet over the course of the full record these complete songs are scarce.

More representative is the so minimalist it is almost spoken word, "Stop Playin With Me" with Wayne devolving into diary mode, dealing with death and really nailing the thesis to Funeral as a whole with the line "They say to be or not to be, bitch, I'm indecisive". By quoting Shakespeare's most famous line and then not really going anywhere Wayne sums up his output days and while the talent is sturdily in the drivers seat, the destination is truly unknown. 

Support the artist, buy the album peep some video below:

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