I Am Not A Human Being
Young Money, 2010
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/07/2010
Few artists are as prolific as Lil Wayne, not to mention the fact that he put the finishing touches on this album while in Rikers, still serving his nine-month sentence for possession of a weapon. Serving as a prelude to his upcoming Tha Carter IV, I Am Not A Human Being nevertheless is missing a lot of the spitfire spark that made Tha Carter III a triple-platinum hit.
The problem with a lot of the material here is that it’s lacking in a unique bent at all The majority of the backbeats are slow R&B grooves, and probably the fault of that lies with Young Money protégé Drake, who makes his appearance on a majority of the tracks. Weezy has done his best to convert this Canadian ten drama star to a full-fledged rap star, but Drake can more often than not tend towards the sappy. Take “With You,” for one, a droning slow jam with Drizzy on the hook, apparently a love song but it’s just so boring it tempers even Lil Wayne’s oft-venerated flow. Lines like “Damn you the shit / I’ll rip out my heart and hand you the shit” are just laughable, and the lower tempo and cheesy beat eliminate any chance for Weezy to really salvage this cut.
When he’s actually given a beat to work with, the offerings of I’m A Human Being are a lot more solid; the title track is brimming with slurry drums, frenetic electronic stylings, and lines worthy of his self-characterization as the Martian. It’s probably the standout cut on this disc, and the hook “I am the Rhymin’ Oasis…I got my foot on the line I ain’t racin’ / I thank God that I am not basic” is awesomely tricked out with big swaths of guitar, and Weezy is spitting with the sort of energy that really calls into light why downbeat, cheap prom tracks like “With You” are such a disappointment.
That’s why even though opener “Gonorrhea” is absolutely ridiculous when boasting lines like “I wish I never met ya / I wouldn’t wanna be ya / Pussy ass nigga, I don’t want your gonorrhea,” it’s also sputtering with verve (which even Drake can’t turn into a slow-jam). With references to two girls, one cup and diarrhea, Weezy is swinging for the lowest common denominator, but the one-two punch of this cut and “Hold Up” prove why Lil Wayne is an MC to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, “What’s Wrong With Them” brings in another YM up-and-comer in Nicki Minaj, and while I generally can’t stand her baby-talking croon, she serves as a nice counterpoint to Weezy’s rhymes on this one, a solid standout on the album.
The lead single from this album is “Right Above It” – featuring, who else, Drake – but it debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard and iTunes charts for good reason; the beat is strong and shimmering, made for blasting on a radio, and the lines are a tangle of swagger and wit (“Life’s a beach, I’m just playin’ in the sand…You niggas can’t see me, but never overlook me / I’m on the paper trail, it ain’t no tellin’ where it took me / Yeah, and I ain’t a killa, but don’t push me”).
So when I’m A Human Being is good, it’s pretty good. There’s nothing that will really change your life or emerge as a career-defining single, but it paves the way nicely for Tha Carter IV and keeps the throne warm for Weezy.