Lil Wayne is a 37 year old rapper from New Orleans, and similarly to artists like Eminem or Kanye West, Lil Wayne is a rapper that I believe needs no introduction. Since bursting onto the rap scene in 1996 as a 13 year old he has had one of the most steady and consistentt grinds of any artist in the last 30 years, releasing 13 albums, 4 compilation albums, 2 EP’s and at least 26 mixtapes. Lil Wayne is one of the most well known and most successful artists in the world, and if you somehow haven’t heard any of his music I’m sure you would have at least heard one of his literal hundreds of features, or at the very least would have seen some Lil Wayne memes over the years. If you still feel like you have never heard of Wayne I’d suggest looking up a guide if you want a bit of background, there are a plethora of guides around and I’m not going to waste time introducing an artists everyone knows. Now on with the show!
On January 31st Lil Wayne released his 13th studio album ‘Funeral’, stacked with features from The Dream, Adam Levine, Big Sean, Lil Baby, Takeoff, 2 Chainz, Lil Twist, Jay Rock, Xxxtentacion & OT Genasis. The album is 24 tracks long and had no singles released in the lead up to release despite being mentioned by Wayne since 2016. Below I’m going to review the album in 2 parts, first will be my informal and unedited notes on each track as I listened through them, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include some links to stream the album and some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!
Track By Track Review
1. Funeral – Real majestic glossy production. Starts off pretty slow and boring. Some enjoyable rhyme schemes, but basic flows. Good change of pace and much more impressive flows in the second half. Decent intro with some exciting moments
2. Mahogany – Exceptional start, thoroughly enjoyable flows and bars from Wayne, and sounds amazing when the percussion begins. Hook is just okay, may grow on me. Verses are fire, lots of good lines and impressive rapping and delivery. Interesting song, but adequately enjoyable
3. Mama Mia – Fire, Wayne goes hard with the hungry delivery and hard hitting bars. Beat is strange but unique and Wayne rides it excellently. Some real funny bars too. Interesting change up like 1:30 into the song, beat becomes even more strange with this filthy distorted bass. Lots of variation in Wayne’s delivery and lots of impressive rhyme schemes and quotables. Enjoy the little acapella part. Really enjoyed this I think
4. I Do It (ft. Big Sean & Lil Baby) – Big Sean’s Hook is catchy but isn’t the best. Lil Baby goes hard, real fire feature verse that flows super well. Lil Wayne’s flows are quite simple but the delivery is enjoyable throughout and there are some more quality bars. Good outro, above average song
5. Dreams – Wayne’s singing on the hook is actually quite pleasant, great melodies and decently catchy. Beat is simple and unexciting mostly. Verses are decent with more quality bars on display. Actually enjoyed the change of pace in the final hook, the frantic delivery of it sounded great. Song ended well, but just an okay song overall
6. Stop Playin With Me – Beat is quite subtle with these minimalistic drums and this pleasant little synth. The delivery on the verses is a bit lame, but the flows are decent and the bars and rhymes themselves are real impressive. Hook is just okay. Okay song, on the fence
7. Clap For Em – The album’s twerk song, fairly generic club beat with thumping bass. Basic raps too. Love the change up a minute in, beat gets more exciting. Wayne steps it up too, super impressive rhymes and a whole lot of fantastic and humorous bars. Hook is painful to listen to at times. Ups and Downs, on the fence about this too
8. Bing James (ft. Jay Rock) – Real haunting production, has this low bass and these intriguing foreboding synths. Wayne matches the vibe well, confident delivery and hard hitting bars. Jay Rock is an amazing fit too, rides the beat with ease and his bars and flows are just as good as Wayne’s. Hook is strange but I love it. Good song overall
9. Not Me – Catchy little hook, love the “Rollin like my nigga from Degrassi” line. Verses are okay, some really good rhymes and metaphors, but the flows are average. Delivery is decent for the most part. Average track with some great bars
10. Trust Nobody (ft. Adam Levine) – Hook is poppy but quite enjoyable, Adam Levine’s melodies are real pleasant and the lyrics are nice too. Verses are okay but are a bit short and don’t offer anything new or exciting. Song felt like Adam ft. Lil Wayne , was an okay song but felt like it was lacking something
11. Know You Know (ft. 2 Chainz) – 2 Chainz’ flows are amazing, his delivery oozes charisma, and the rhymes and bars themselves are super impressive. Great feature. Beat is quite chill mainly with this real beautiful piano melody. Wayne’s verse lacks the high energy and confident delivery of 2 Chainz. Hook isn’t too good either, okay song
12. Wild Dogs – More great bars and rhymes from Wayne, but an average delivery and unnecessary repetition. Beat is lacking excitement, fairly basic and boring mainly. Another average hook. Don’t enjoy the high pitched part in the final verse. Okay song, but one of my least favourites
13. Harden – Love the beat, great sample use and drums. Wayne has this real infectious flow and lots of impressive bars and rhymes. Hook is delivered well and is catchy. Consistently good song
14. I Don’t Sleep (ft. Takeoff) – Another super catchy hook, one of the better ones. Fairly subtle beat again with the rattling hi hats and this quiet little pleasant synth in the background. Quality verse from Wayne, the usual impressive bars and flows. Takeoff glides over the majestic beat with ease, lots of great flows and rhymes. One of my favourites, real good all the way through
15. Sights and Silencers (ft. The Dream) – Takes too long to get going. Another simple beat but isn’t too exciting. The Dream sounds nice but nothing special. Wayne’s slow flow and high pitched delivery isn’t very good. Song is a vibe, but a boring vibe. One of the least interesting so far
16. Ball Hard (ft. Lil Twist) – Wayne goes hard from the get go, another super infectious flow and delivery, packed full of impressive rhymes, bars & cultural references. Hook is mad catchy, great delivery from Wayne. Lil Twist kills his feature, his flows and bars are on the same level as Wayne’s, great delivery too. Great song, another favourite song contender
17. Bastard (Satan’s Kid) – Eerie synth and this super low droning 808, sounds good but is nothing special. Song starts a bit slow but Wayne changes up his flow and delivery as things progress and it works amazingly. More decent bars throughout. Hook is different but fits the vibe well. Song has such a dark tone to it. Decent track, on the fence
18. Get Outta My Head (ft. Xxxtentacion) – Xxxtentacion sounds angry, great delivery and rhymes though, good intro. Wayne’s Part has highs and lows, some impressive flows here and there. Hook has this angry feel too, is too abrasive for me. Weird song, but not too bad
19. Piano Trap – The Beat is unsurprisingly a mix of subtle piano and trap drums and horns. Simple beat but Wayne rides it exceptionally, really great flow which changes up regularly. The usual impressive rhymes and bars. Amazing beat switch, Wayne murders this whole track. Song ends great too. Real good song
20. Line Em Up – Love the best, amazing bass and a catchy sample. Wayne goes hard again, solid flows of all different sorts and more enjoyable rhyme schemes and lyrics. Hook is just okay, good song overall though
21. Darkside – Another haunting beat, with these eerie synths and distorted bass. Once again real impressed with the rhymes and bars on display from Wayne. Hook is average but has this catchiness to it, might grow on me. Song felt lacking overall, on the fence
22. Never Mind – Real chill guitar based beat, is a nice change of pace. The slow flow is okay but the delivery and bars are a bit lame. Hook is decent. Song is pleasant and has some funny lines but is average overall
23. T.O. (ft. OT Genasis) – Wayne sounding relentless again, hungry delivery with some solid flows and hard hitting bars. Some great metaphors, rhymes and humour on display at times too. Hook isn’t too good. OT Genasis has a surprisingly enjoyable feature, just as good as Wayne’s. On the fence yet again
24. Wayne’s World – Simple but atmospheric beat, is quite mellow mainly. Some more funny bars and lots of impressive rhymes and flows from Wayne. Hook is lame in a good way, awesome delivery and is quite catchy. Song drags on a little, but still a good outro
Overall I thought this was a thoroughly enjoyable album to listen through, with some quality features, a good variety of beats and vibes, and lots of impressive performances from Wayne himself. With so many songs sounding so sonically different from those around them I found that I never really got bored with this album despite its lengthy tracklist. With that said though, I feel like the main thing holding this album back from being better was its length; I personally only liked 10-12 songs and was on the fence about another 5, so feel this could have easily been trimmed down a bit to make it more of a breeze to get through and more consistent overall.
With 24 songs there was lots of potential for greatness, and fortunately I believe the album had many great moments and thoroughly enjoyable tracks. Wayne himself was the subject of many of the best moments, with some exceptional rapping on songs such as ‘Mahogany’ & ‘Mama Mia’, some great hooks on songs such as ‘Bing James’ & ‘I Don’t Sleep’, and some funny and witty bars and punchlines on songs like ‘Not Me’ & T.O. Wayne actually had a plethora of impressive moments, but was complimented well by his choice of features. In particular I loved Lil Baby on ‘I Do It’, Takeoff on ‘I Don’t Sleep’ & Lil Twist on ‘Ball Hard’. In saying that I think every feature delivered an enjoyable performance, with some just being brought down by Wayne or by average production. The production throughout this album was super impressive too, with everything being immaculately produced and multiple songs experimenting with exciting new sounds. In particular, I really enjoyed the beat switches used on certain songs to change up the pace, most notably on ‘Clap For Em’ & ‘Piano Trap’. So overall a lot of high points and moments I enjoyed on Funeral, and if it were cut a bit shorter it has the potential to be like a 8-9/10.
Despite all the highs, I personally felt this album had quite a few lows too. I felt like it was a silly choice to enlist Big Sean to do only a hook, although his hook was good I would have loved a verse from him on the song. I thought Wayne got white washed by 2 Chainz, with 2 Chainz having an amazing feature and then Wayne following it up with an average verse. I felt like the song with The Dream was boring overall, and felt the song ‘Wild Dogs’ was quite unenjoyable despite having some good bars. There were also a couple of hooks that I thought were bad enough to hold a decent song back, such as on ‘Clap For Em’, ‘Get Outta My Head’ & ‘T.O.’. In the end, the highlights outweigh the lowlights by far, all that was really needed to make this album more enjoyable is the removal of a couple tracks.
So in summary I would say this is a good album, but not a great one, with a mix of good songs and average songs with standout moments scattered throughout the record. I personally think this was a better album than Tha Carter 5, but was no where near as enjoyable or impressive as Dedication 6. One thing this album did really well was showcase how incredible Wayne is as a lyricist after over 20 years in the game. If you’re a Wayne fan I can guarantee you will like parts of this album, and if you’re a Wayne doubter then I think this is a great album to prove that Wayne still has it!
Or you can listen for free on YouTube here!
My favourite songs were Mahogany, Mama Mia, I Do It, Bing James, Harden, I Don’t Sleep, Ball Hard, Piano Trap, Line Em Up & Wayne’s World.
What were your favourite songs on Funeral?
How do you feel this projected stacked up to his 2018 releases; Tha Carter 5 and Dedication 6?
Thanks For Reading!
– Shan –