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Album Review

Lil Wayne, 'I Am Not a Human Being'

October 18, 2010

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In rap, there are monuments and there are placeholders. Example: Jay-Z’s been rap’s constant over the last 14 years. But in the gaps between 11 albums, other personalities — DMX, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Nelly for instance — were able to capture the audience he left. Knowing he’d spend eight months in prison on weapons charges — a lifetime for an artist who made a name off flooding the world with mixtapes, albums, and features — Lil’ Wayne recorded the 10 songs on “I Am Not a Human Being’’ to make sure no one filled the gap while he was gone. The problem is the album feels like exactly what it is: a placeholder. His once unpredictable lyrics now feel like fill-in-the-blank formula. The title track sounds like a leftover from his “Rebirth’’ rock experiment. “Single’’ was actually recycled from 2009’s “No Ceilings’’ mixtape. The sharper moments (on “Hold Up,’’ he raps, “Married to the money, you’re welcome to the reception/ she came with problems call them [expletive] stepsons’’) are drowned out by the redundant ones. Typically, the complaints against Wayne are that he’s annoying, grating, and ubiquitous; but for the first time he’s made himself seem uninteresting, which is far more career-threatening. (Out now) JULIAN BENBOW

ESSENTIAL “Right Above It’’