It seems like 2020 will be a big year for hip-hop. There have been a lot of great albums and singles dropped, on top of artists confirming they will have albums dropping this year. One of the earliest drops occurred on Jan. 31 from one of hip-hop’s biggest icons, Lil Wayne.
Wayne released his 14th studio album, entitled Funeral. While not many expected an album from the multi-platinum rapper, fans were ecstatic when he announced his upcoming album and release date.
Coming off “The Carter V,” which was subject to mediocre reviews, fans were ready to see the rap legend prove all of the doubters wrong. However, he may have fed more fuel to the fire for those that doubted him.
Despite an overall disappointing album, one thing was obvious; Wayne can still rap at a very high level. For nearly two decades, we have seen Wayne rap at a level that very few rappers can achieve. On Funeral, he displayed his wordplay, unique flow, and most famously, his similes and metaphors. Some of the standout tracks are “Mahogany,” “Mama Mia,” and “Harden.” The tracks listed contain lyrics that are certainly jaw-dropping. Being the standouts, they all had one aspect in common, none of them had any hooks, just elite verses composed by Wayne.
Another high point from the album was the ode to the late Kobe Bryant, who passed only five days before the album’s release. The 8th song of the album was “Bing James,” which is a play on Lebron James’ nickname, “King James.” The placement of the track was a tribute to Kobe, being number eight on the album. The song ended with a 24 second moment of silence, which is a reference to his second jersey number, 24.
While the album featured high-level lyricism and a touching tribute, those were the only true highlights of the album. The album’s most notable downfall is the lack of focus. The album had 24 songs on it, which is entirely too many, especially with hip-hop today.
In an interview on Undisputed with Skip and Shannon on Fox Sports One, Wayne admitted that he turned in 52 songs to be reviewed by his associate, Mack Maine. The massive number of songs suggests that Wayne may have not been in a space to make an album that had replay value, which he has done several times before, especially on his albums Tha Carter II and Tha Carter III.
The album overall had several qualities that made it difficult to listen to. Most notably, songs throughout the album were very repetitive and not catchy. They sounded out of touch with today’s sound in hip-hop. The album also had a poor beat selection, which is one of the most critical elements of a hip-hop song. This combination made it very difficult to enjoy listening to the album. Both were also not characteristics that we have seen from Wayne in the past, which made it a disappointment.
While the album may have not been near the level Wayne has gotten us accustomed to, it still features very good songs that hip-hop fans will enjoy. But if you are looking for a full-length album that has replay value, Funeral is not one that you want to select.