Lil Wayne - Funeral (Album Review)

The father of all the Lil's and the man responsible for this new wave of rappers (Lil Wayne in case you haven't realised) is back in action for the first time since 2018's 'Carter V' with his new 24 track album, 'Funeral'. Despite being so late into his career we still get some high level rapping from Lil Wayne on this, whether it be due to his relentless, never ending and always switching flows or his punchlines which are still top tier. His delivery is also pretty slurred during this project yet so sonically pleasing. The production is fire - there are a few times it sounds outdated or bland but on a whole it's disaorganised and grimy style does a great job. Now onto his subject matter - it's the usual Lil Wayne subject matter of drugs and violence - which isn't all bad when you have the ability to make it interesting like he does, and while that's not always the case on this album it definitely is for the majority. Another issue with the album is it's not really what I'd describe as a cohesive project. However for 24 tracks, while it's not all great, I'd say there's more highlights than there are skips. I'd say it's an up to scratch body of work for the Louisiana rap legend.

As there's 24 tracks I can't take an in focus assessment of each track or I'd be here all day - so some of the tracks will be skipped over quite quickly. The introduction and title track 'Funeral' has a nice intro with a beat that kicks in hard. The constant flow switches keep things fresh and overall it's a decent track. The follow up track 'Mahogany' is a great song. The hook is delivered perfectly with his slurred expression, while them vocals in the background and drums make the beat stand out perfectly. His flow and rhyme schemes are brilliant as well and are sonically pleasing to the ear, just as his punchlines are as the king of them already off the blocks by this point, "Judge gave me time, I did that time like nap time". We have two bangers in a row from Wayne with the brilliant 'Mama Mia'. The distorted violin in the background should sound ugly - but it doesn't, and then Lil Wayne is spazzing on the track with his flow and high energy. If you want to know how good he's rapping wait for the beat break to kick in to really hear it. Lyrics go hard as well, "Titty-fuck your baby mama//She breastfeed your child while I do it, I'm stupid". It's arguably the best song of the album. 'I Do It' has a fire beat (especially the 808's) and a fine hook from Big Sean, a decent verse from Wayne but a pretty forgettable verse for the uninspiring Lil Baby.

'Dreams' hook is amazing with the beat creating some anticipation before it's finally released when he screams "Thank God it was just a dream" - followed by the beat amplifying all instruments to match Wayne's energy. It focuses on the good side of fame and where Wayne would be without his luxuries, which is actually a rare thing in rap nowadays. Next up is 'Stop Playin With Me', with a nice hook, nice beat and decent enough verses it's a good track but it just seems to not stand out within this track list. Next is the party anthem 'Clap For Em', with the bouncy beat, distorted wind instrument and claps creating a party vibe. Flow is good again, lyrics are quite funny and the length of the song keeps its replay value. However, 'Bing James' has a distorted instrument that I can't get past and it puts me off. It's lyrics are alright but a bit of an invisible track, although I appreciate the 24 second moment of silence for Kobe Bryant at the end. 'Not Me' is not for me. It's beat is bland, hook too simplistic and the only redeeming factor is some of Wayne's lyrics can keep it interesting. We get more of a deep cut with 'Trust Nobody'. The guitar in the background is nice and Adam Lavigne's hook has grew on me and now I enjoy it. Wayne's verses lyrically are pretty solid "Safe to say I lost my way but I never lost the lead//Safe to say I lost the brakes but I never lost the speed//Wakey-wake, I lost some sleep but I never lost the dream". It focuses on struggling to know who you are and is a solid addition to the track list. Right before the halfway mark, we get the forgettable and boring 'Know You Know', and the easily skippable 'Wild Dogs' which has a bland beat and a played out hook despite Wayne's nice flow.

We're past the mid-way point of the album with a bang when it comes to 'Harden'. An emotional track about love with many elements making it so strong. The hook is desperate and heart wrenching, as well as the delivery on the verses being very emotional. The flow and rhyme schemes are as usual very strong (I'll stop mentioning it now) while the beat and it's sample help create the emotional feel. 'I Don't Sleep' has a nice Takeoff feature over a flute based upbeat sounding instrumental partnered with a catchy hook - it's a good song. I become very conflicted with this next track, 'Sights and Silencers'. I don't know what I think of this I can't lie, the beats nice and bad, the vocals are good but the tracks boring, Wayne's singing isn't bad but he shouldn't be singing? I've listened to it like 4 times now and I'm still very conflicted. Following that the next two tracks 'Ball Hard' and 'Bastard (Satan's Kid)' are none of my favourites but neither are horrible tracks. XXXTentacion, one of my favourite rappers who unfortunately passed away features on 'Get Outta My Head', and while I liked X's parts it was actually Wayne who was just below par for me but it's an alright sounding song - weird, but alright. 'Line Em Up' is a decent track with a nice beat, 'Darkside' goes pretty hard but the lyrics don't keep it interesting enough and 'Never Mind' is a strong emotional track over a nice smooth guitar and other reappearing string instrument where Wayne's wordplay is back on display, "Whatever we like, she don't judge me//Though I may need her to be the one to give me life".

The final two tracks begin with 'T.O.' featuring O.T. (ironic enough). It's another song that's just alright but it's lyrics are nasty, "Duct-tape that n**** up until he a mummy//Then put him in a freezer until we get hungry". We finish the album of a high note with the enjoyable, light-hearted, bouncy 'Wayne's World'. It has the usual elements of the great flow and the witty lyrics. Ending this 24 track album on a high note and on a whole, completes what is a pretty good album. While not all good, there's a large chunk of it I like off this long LP and it carries on the positive start to 2020 we've had so far with music - it's already looking better than 2019.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Mahogany, Mama Mia, Dreams, Clap For Em, Trust Nobody, Harden, I Don't Sleep, Piano Trap, Never Mind, Wayne's World



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