With its release date having been postoned more than once already (April 7th, May 19th, and June 23 were each cancelled street dates), Lil Wayne's anticipated seventh studio album Rebirth (Cash Money Universal Motwon) is now slated to be released eight weeks from now, on July 21st. However, the promise by the rapper that it would be an all rock album is up for debate. Still, regardless of whatever music is on the new Southern rap artist's album, Rebirth is a guaranteed future hit.
Originally billed as a "rock album" by the artist, born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr, who has cited Kurt Cobain in interviews as being among his major influences, Rebirth has caused controversy among rap fans who fear that their hero had deserted the genre he came to fame in. In fact, the first single off Rebirth, the rocking, guitar laced "Prom Queen" (video below), didn't chart nearly as well as some past Wayne hits. Some have speculated that this was part of the reason for the album's delay and its genre reformatting to more of a rap than a rock album.
"The influence of the new album is mainly rock...a little different than they [the fans] have been used to," offered Lil Wayne in his recent Soundcheck interview. "We just used the title rock cos we didn't want people to think I am too different so therefore we put the title on the music before they do. But really it's just more Lil Wayne maturing," he said in an interview on The View four weeks ago. Meanwhile Bryan "Baby" Williams (aka Birdman -- one half of BIg Tymers), Cash Money Records co-CEO and mentor to Lil Wayne, informed Vibe magazine that, “It’s not a rock record...That’s what I think people are getting misunderstood. When you speaking about a rock record, you think he’s got a guitar and everything, but it’s not that."
But with its guests reportedly including The Fray, Fall Out Boy (he guested on their record already) and Avril Lavigne, it will defintiely be a somewhat of a stylistic departure for the megastar rapper. Other artists reported to be contributing to Rebirth include Drake, Santogold, Mack Maine, Gudda Gudda, Dre, and DJ Infamous & Drew Correa (producers of "Prom Queen"). Madonna has also been rumored to be a contributor to the tentatively titled album track "Triggerman." She was also rumored by the tabloid press to be probably sleeping with Lil Wayne. But such rumors and gossip are merely signs of just how famous a celeb Wayne has become.
And for all the fans Lil Wayne has out there, he also sure manages to bring out the gossip & hater in many. This is the result of things ranging from pure jealousy to definitions of what constitutes "real hip-hop" (Wanye doesn't always conform to the gatekeepers of the culture's definition) and also partly because of Weezy's cocky attitude -- making many different bold blanket (and far from modest or even accurate) statements/claims that he is the "best rapper alive" or that he invented the mixtape genre, etc.
But love him or hate him and/or his music, you must give the man credit for all he has accomplished in his young life. Now only 26 years of age, Wayne starting writing raps at age eight, got his first record deal at age 12, enjoyed his first hit at 15 (with the Hot Boys), went solo at 17, and the rest is history -- well, history in progress, since the artist, who recently ranked #12 on TIME magazine's third annual World’s Most Influential Person 100 poll, looks bound to be around for a long time to come. Rebirth will arrive in Amoeba Music on July 21st, although this date is subject to change. Stay tuned for updates.
Lil Wayne "Prom Queen" (2009)
Lil Wayne "Lollipop" (2008)