Ever since he heated up the mixtape scene over four years ago, Lil Wayne rose from being one of the many rappers in the game to on top of the game. Once he was able to shake the underdog title, Wayne finally met commercial success. After the release of his triple platinum album, Tha Carter III, Wayne decided to switch genres. Because he felt that he mastered the rap game with his previous effort, Lil Wayne decided to go rock for his next album.
The album was announced in October 2008 and it was to be released early in 2009. The title of the album was revealed to be Rebirth. Rebirth symbolized Lil Wayne’s time in the game and his decision to switch his game up. Early in 2009, the first single was released from the album. The album’s lead, “Prom Queen,” would quickly rise to become a hit. Despite the popularity of the song, it did not remain on the charts for long.
Universal Motown, Lil Wayne’s recording home for his entire career, felt that Rebirth would end up ruining Wayne’s career. Because of that, they pushed his album back many times. Every time he would attempt to release another single from the album, they would mishandle his work. This led some to believe that Lil Wayne would soon be leaving the label for a deal with the rival music group, Warner Music.
These rumors did not stick and soon Lil Wayne revealed that he had completed Rebirth. Despite his completion of the album, Universal pushed the album back from its planned December release to a February release. Released in the place of Rebirth was Lil Wayne’s album with his crew, Young Money. Their album, We Are Young Money, has not done as well as the other releases from Lil Wayne.
For this album, Lil Wayne wanted to go all out. He has wanted to work with Eminem for many years, but the opportunity never presented itself. When Wayne reached out to him for Tha Carter III, Eminem ignored him. It was not until Drake joined Lil Wayne at Young Money and then blew that Em got back with Wayne. Their first collaboration was alongside Kanye West and Drake for the single, “Forever.” The chemistry that the two rappers had together led to Eminem agreeing to appear on Rebirth.
Of all of the collaborations featured on this album, Lil Wayne’s favorite is his work with Eminem. Other collaborations on the album come from Nicki Minaj, Shanell, and Kevin Rudolf. For production, Wayne had Tha Bizness, DJ Infamous, Cool & Dre, Travis Barker, and Patrick Stump.
- “American Star” featuring Shanell
- “Prom Queen” featuring Shanell
- “Ground Zero”
- “Da Da Da”
- “Get a Life”
- “On Fire”
- “Drop the World” featuring Eminem
- “Runnin’” featuring Shanell
- “One Way Trip” featuring Kevin Rudolf
- “Knockout” featuring Nicki Minaj
- “The Price is Wrong”
Lyrically, Lil Wayne has lost some ground on this album. But, the fact that this album is not exactly a rap album makes up for this. For the first time in his career, Lil Wayne was simply focusing on being creative. Rebirth has introduced a new sound that will be copied many times by other rappers. Initially set to be a rock album, entirely, Wayne’s combination of rap, rock, and R&B is simply classic.
When he was gearing up for the release of Tha Carter III, many Lil Wayne fans felt that album would be his defining album. Tha Carter III was a solid and entertaining album, but Wayne went pop so that he could top the charts and sell 3 million copies. With Rebirth, Lil Wayne was not trying to impress anyone but himself. Because of that, the album has a great, classic, sound and it will go down as the best album of Wayne’s career.
Lil Wayne has been on top of the game for some time, but he had yet to deliver that one album to define his career. His third album in as many years solves all of these problems for the rapper. It is known that he is one of the top lyricists in the game. Usually, his lyrical ability is saved for the mixtapes and he showed his chops on Tha Carter III. But, for this album, he did not get very lyrical, with the exception of “On Fire.” Despite all of this, he did enough, lyrically, to maintain the respect of his fans.
For this type of album, Lil Wayne did not need to come out and prove what he could do, lyrically. His creativity took over for this album and it paid off. Universal Records was afraid to risk Wayne going out of his comfort zone. More than anything, fans love it when rappers go out of their comfort zone. Jay-Z with The Blueprint 3 proves this. Also, the demise of Ja Rule proves that rappers have to change it up or they lose it all. Lil Wayne moved just in time and he will most likely maintain his crown.
Although the year is still young, as it stands, Lil Wayne’s eighth studio album, Rebirth, is the best album of 2010. The reason is because it does not fit into a specific genre. This album may turn some fans off, but with this album, Wayne will make some new fans. He is able to transcend into many other genres and tie them all back together.
Lil Wayne – Rebirth (10/10)