Lil Wayne is entering a paradoxical later stage of his career. He shot up into pantheon of rap greats in the late 2000s and early 2010’s, but the things start to go off the rails. He put out that rock album and then seemed to lose some of that quick wit and unstoppable flow as he dealt with long standing substance abuse and mental health issues. He was also fighting with his rap family, suing Cash Money Records for the release of Tha Carter V and unpaid royalties to Young Money. This all seemed to have been settled amicably and Tha Carter V was released after years of hype, but could never live up to the impossible expectations thrust upon it as a nearly mythical album. Now Weezy has taken a very different approach with his 13th album Funeral, which is out today after being announced in the past week.
It is 24 songs and 75 minutes long so settle in for a slog of an album. To make it worth your while, Weezy keeps things interesting sonically. “Dreams” uses some soft vocal chants behind his own mellow autotune and furious raps, while the proceeding song "Stop Playin With Me" sounds like the sort beat that Lil Wyane belongs on. ”Clap For Em” rumbles like a Miami bass strip club and adds a harpsichord to give it an eerie melody.
“Mama Mia” borrows from a grating horror film soundtrack and is a horror in itself. His collaboration with Adam Levine sounds like one of those soft rap, pop collaborations from the early 2010s and should be left there. He wastes the talent of The-Dream on “Sights And Silencers” with a weird, slow ballad.
He is still as aggressive as ever, looking to take on any potential competitors. He is ready to “pistol whip you till you know the serial number by heart,” on "Line Em Up” and earlier on Funeral he lets everyone know they aren’t as talented as him on “Not Me.” The middle of the LP is very forgettable, but he has his moments to shine at the beginning and end. It is another sign there was a lot that could be cut.
The album feels at times like a dump of finished songs, but it overall does hold together somewhat well. Some of the features fall flat, which is a shame because they are needed at 24 tracks. This would have been best split up into two albums, but 24 tracks plays into the streaming game for chart position. It is best to listen without expectations, because this could either pleasantly surprise or could disappoint.
Stream the full album below and get your copy here.