Lil Wayne’s career recalibration has always struck me as a bit of a ruse. His public devotion to Jigga somehow rendering lines like “I’m important to rap/but I’m special with gats” or “I came into the game high with two o’s/like Ohio” superior to earlier, similar similes like “I got so much ice/ you could skate on it, nigga.” Admittedly, Wayne’s flow has improved as his voice has lowered over the years, and Jay-Z’s style is at least more interesting when combined with a southern emcee than in his many East Coast carbon-copies.
Like Father, Like Son is an above-average example of Cash Money-style crunk, with occasional screwed-and-chopped choruses popping up but only a few accidentally poetic drug and gun references. Wayne is the star of the album more than Birdman is, and listening to line after line from him gets a bit tiring, as do the Mafioso skits, which are at least twelve years too late. The production is keyboard-driven (of course), but it’s sprinkled with enough creative touches and samples that it rarely grates.
Birdman (née Baby) acquits himself decently as usual, but not enough to overshadow his status as Cash Money’s Svengali. Still, he remains oddly dependable emcee in the vein of Dr. Dre. The guests are good, with T-Pain, Rick Ross and Cashville Prince holding down the South and Fat Joe and Daz and Kurupt representing other coasts. I was hoping for a bit more Robin Thicke, but I guess nobody else was. Maybe his annoyingly eyebrowed dad didn’t allow him to make any more songs with people who have teardrop tattoos (quoth the Birdman, “These teardrops is true”). It’s great to see Lil Wayne sticking around and getting his weight up, but at some point a compromise must be reached and new subject matter must be breached. Maybe Jigga’s newfound monied Coldplay-loving playboy image will inspire him.