A new Lil Wayne album might not quite have the ‘drop everything’ star power that it would’ve done a few years ago, but he’s still a big deal and arguably one of the most influential rappers alive.
‘Funeral’, his 13th studio album, was surprise dropped last Friday, and proves that even two decades after his debut, Wayne is still up there with the best of them…sometimes. The lack of build-up and sense that whatever Lil Wayne does, he’s already a legend means that this is an album with zero expectations, and he uses this to make some his most out-there music in years.
The album is front-loaded, with ‘Mahogany’, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Stop Playin’ With Me’ all standing up with Lil Wayne’s top-grade output, whilst ‘Dreams’ shows he’s still capable of experimenting with the best of them, starting slow before doing a masterful about-face as Wayne’s unhinged vocals come in on the chorus.
Unfortunately these high-points soon give way to the filler, and there is a lot of filler on this 24 track behemoth. ‘Clap For Em’ is a by the numbers party song that feels like it was written by feeding 100 songs about strippers into a scriptwriting machine, but the really disappointing stuff comes to the fore in two of the album’s collaborations. ‘Trust Nobody’, featuring Adam Levine, is genuinely hard to listen to, with Levine and Wayne’s crooning often overlapping and grating against each other, whilst the ill-thought-out XXXTentacion featuring ‘Get Outta My Head’ sounds like what it is - a sloppy, unfinished cash grab.
Other collaborations work better, with mid album highlights including ‘Know You Know’ and ‘I Don’t Sleep’, featuring 2 Chainz and Takeoff respectively. Neither of them reinvent the wheel but both are solid, enjoyable trap bangers. Album Closer ‘Wayne’s World’ is also delightfully silly, incorporating the ‘Wayne’s World, Party Time, Excellent’ refrain of the film and showcasing Lil Wayne at his least serious, spitting bars about sesame street and sleeping with women who yell ‘It’s Waynes World’ in his ear during the act.
‘Funeral’ is a mixed bag, and feels more like 24 tracks Lil Wayne had lying around than a coherent project. It’s a shame, because there’s a very good album somewhere in the 24 tracks on offer, but it’s weighed down by a lot of filler. One to pick and choose from, rather than stick on in full.
Words: Jake Hawkes
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