Lil Wayne, Rebirth
Official release date: February 1
The Verdict: It’s here! The first album in history to be accidentally leaked by a major retailer made its way online last night, and — after sitting through questionable singles, questionable claims, questionable jam sessions, and 3,267 delays — we’ve finally heard Rebirth. It’s a complete mess, of course, but a fascinating one: We’re not sure how much actual rock music Lil Wayne has sat through in his life, or could now correctly identify, so the result is this weird hodgepodge of parodied styles, over-the-top screeching, and the occasional brilliant turn of phrase. “Knockout” would have been a perfectly good Simple Plan song, “The Price Is Wrong” starts off like some throwback Agnostic Front, and “Get a Life” has a totally great ska-pop riff that Wayne has no idea what to do with. There are listenable bits — we were enjoying the rhymes on “Running” and “One Way Trip” before obscure Young Money affiliates (Shanell and Kevin Rudolf, respectively) started screaming on the choruses, and forced us to skip the next song — but it’s no surprise that the only track that really works is “Drop the World,” the one straight rap song on the album. (Also, we can say with confidence that “Paradice” is Lil Wayne at his absolute worst.) And you know what? With all that, we’re still totally happy Wayne was crazy enough to put out a “rock” album. Just don’t do it again!