With well over ten millions in sales, unquestionable street credibility, critical acclaim, industry accolades, eight Grammy nominations, and four Grammy wins for his multi-platinum selling album The Carter III, Cash Money/Universal Motown recording artist Lil Wayne has firmly laid to rest all doubt that he is anything less than the best rapper alive today. Wayne’s silky flow, along with his uncanny ability to weave incredible metaphors and similes wrapped in taunt rhymes accented by witty punch lines, compel rap fans around the world to hang onto his every word whenever his records are being played.
Now with his highly anticipated release Rebirth, the CEO of Young Money Entertainment (YME) is once again poised to take the world by storm. As the album’s title suggests, Rebirth is all about change and transformation and it represents Lil Wayne’s development as a man and as an artist. “On this album I want to show my growth as an artist,” says Wayne. “I want my fans to see how far I have come musically.”
Born Michael Dewayne Carter, Jr. and raised in New Orleans’ infamous Hollygrove neighborhood, Lil Wayne started his stellar career at age 12 when a friend introduced him to Cash Money Co-CEOs and brothers Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Birdman” Williams. Spotting his potential right off the bat, Birdman took the talented pre-teen under his wing and began grooming him for superstardom.
In 1993, Lil Wayne formed a duo with label mate B.G. and released an underground EP called True Stories. The record served as a perfect introduction to the game for Lil Wayne. Even then, he proved he had the skills to be a major player, but there was more in store for the young MC. In 1997, Lil Wayne and B.G. formed the southern super group Hot Boys with Juvenile and Turk and released the quartet’s debut album, Get It How You Live, which not only sold over 500,000 units independently, but also convinced Universal Records to ink a lucrative distribution deal with Cash Money Records.
Wayne’s star continued to rise with stellar verses on Cash Money albums such as the Big Tymers’ How You Love That (1998), Juvenile’s multi-platinum 400 Degrees, and Hot Boys’ Guerilla Warfare. In 1999, Lil Wayne scored a No. 1 single with the title track from his solo debut album, The Block is Hot, which sold over two million units. From there, Wayne never looked back. The following year he released his platinum sophomore effort, Lights Out, followed by 500 Degrees two years later.
Then Wayne kicked his career into overdrive with the critically acclaimed Tha Carter series. Tha Carter (2004) earned Lil Wayne another platinum plaque and placed him among an elite class of hip-hop lyricists. Tha Carter II (2006) further solidified his status as one of the best MCs in the hip-hop game. But it was the critically-acclaimed Tha Carter III (2008) that gave him his iconic stature in popular music while making hip-hop history by selling one million copies in one week. The album also garnered Lil Wayne eight Grammy nominations and four Grammy wins.
Lil Wayne’s seventh album, Rebirth raises the artistic bar to unprecedented heights and promises to take him to even greater levels of success. It is without a doubt some of his best work to date, boasting production by some of by some of today’s hottest producers, namely Infamous (Lil Wayne, Plies, LL Cool J), Cool & Dre, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Chase N Cashe (Flo-Rida, Pussycat Dolls). Guest appearances include Eminem (“Drop the World”), Cash Money multi-platinum rock star Kevin Rudolf (“One Way Trip”), and “The Ladies of Young Money Entertainment” — Nicki Minaj (“Knockout”) and Shanell (“American Star,” “Prom Queen,” “Running,” “I’m So Over You”). Musically, Rebirth melds innovative rhymes with complex melodies accented by deep bass lines and touches of rock, reggae, and ’80s pop, giving listeners the kind of unexpected twists and turns that make for a great album.
Highlights include the intoxicating Cool & Dre-produced lead single, “On Fire,” which brings together the spirit of ’80s pop with a hypnotic Miami bass-inspired beat. It is a record that will heat up the airwaves while sending fans rushing to dance floors across the globe. “Prom Queen” is another standout track. Produced by Infamous, the song brings together elements of rock and hip-hop in a way that doesn’t compromise the integrity of either genre. “I have evolved both lyrically and musically as an artist and I want everyone to hear my growing pains,” says Wayne. “This is probably my best work yet."
Buttressed by stellar production combined with Lil Wayne’s seamless flow, distinct vocals, outstanding lyrics, plus his willingness to break new musical ground, Rebirth will no doubt be ranked among the finest albums of 2010.