While ever-present auto-tune, constant female guest vocals, and overproduction has inexplicably become a trend in mainstream rap, it’s still frowned upon in rock as a hallmark of artists without credibility. Similarly, the lyrics feature none of the introspection or abstraction that sets rock apart from other music, instead featuring all the bragging and posturing of pop-rap.
What the album lacks in style it does not make up for in substance, either musical or lyrical. Lil Wayne apparently has no grasp of subtly or emotions besides lust; “Drop the World” focuses on the imagery of Lil Wayne picking up the world and dropping it on a woman’s head repeatedly.
Other songs ape the worst aspects of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and the Beastie Boys’ rap-punk days. “Get a Life,” the album’s least rock-tinged song, stands out as the most broadly appealing, but it’s far from great––it simply sounds good in comparison to the uninspired schlock that makes up the rest.
Hopefully, Lil Wayne will be discouraged from repeating this misstep by weak commercial performance and critical panning; his fans can take comfort in the fact that even if “Rebirth”‘s title seems to indicate a permanent new direction for his musical output, “Tha Carter IV” has already been recorded and is being held back until Lil Wayne’s release from prison so he can promote it. The fact that he’s releasing “Rebirth” when he can’t promote it seems to indicate that he knows it’s as bad as everyone else does.