Not since Busta
Rhymes' flurry of activity back in 2004 have we seen one artist make so
many moves in such a small amount of time as Lil Wayne. Following the release of Tha Carter, Lil Wayne
started his own crew Young Money,
and then proceeded to appear on too many mixtapes and albums to count,
including everyone from Avant to Chris Brown to OutKast to Cam'ron to DJ Khaled (and that's just off the top
of my head). He topped the platinum sales of Tha Carter with last year's Tha
Carter II, an album that helped further establish southern legitimacy in
terms of lyricism, all the while repping for the embattled hurricane Katrina
victims in his home state of Louisiana.
Then there was/ is the ghostwriting feud with Gille The Kid, a slew of banishments from local venues and even
rumors of romance between he and the Birdman,
So it was with cautious optimism that I got into Like Father, Like Son. If you heard Tha Carter II, then you encountered a Lil Wayne that was all about distinguishing himself from the
legions of other southern rappers on the scene while simultaneously trying to
elevate the status of his genre beyond trendy club dance-move tracks currently
saturating radio airwaves from coast-to-coast.
Like Father, Like Son has neither of
those heroic qualities. Although he's billed second on the album he is clearly
the featured persona, dominating virtually every track with talent, charisma
and quips that are sure to entertain. I found it refreshing to hear Weezy return to the youthful,
uninhibited improv-style of rhyming. His flow on this album is somewhere
between freestyle and pre-fab, which lends an un-polished feel to it. This is a
very good thing. Lil Wayne is at his
raspy best when he sounds like he's distracted in the booth, almost as if he doesn't
really need to try that hard. He excels by not taking himself too seriously.
The focus is still there, however, and he dabbles in the content that made him
a Cash Money Millionaire on tracks
like "Get That Money" and "Over Here Hustlin'."
There are tracks that you won't miss; namely, "1st Key" and the title track.
The former because it's dumb and the latter because it borrows a little too
heavily from other rapper's rhymebooks: "Birthdays
was the worst days/ now we sippin on Louie when we thirsty." And both are
perhaps a little too autobiographical, with Weezy laying on the I-owe-my-whole-life-to-the-Stunna perhaps a little too thick. "Don't Die" is on life support:
dismal at best, confused at worst. Wayne mentions
his recent banishment from South-Beach hot spot Wet Willies in the hook, but I'm still not sure what Baby is talking about... mostly Phantoms, Maserati's, G-4's and
the like. "Ain't Worried Bout Shit" should have been titled "Ain't Talking Bout
Shit," or at least "Ain't Stressing Bout Shit (since that's what Wayne
actually says in the hook)." Similarly, "Out the Pound" recycles several tried
and true Cash Money clich