Lil Wayne’s ‘I Am Not a Human Being II’ Is Weezy Having The Most Fun Of His Career
On its fifth anniversary, we look back at a turning point in Wayne's career.
Lil Wayne is not human. Far from it, in fact. That should come as no surprise; Wayne has constantly reminded listeners over the years that his grind in the rap game is unmatched. He’ll outwork you and then laugh about it on wax. That grind and dedication is a huge part of what makes Wayne my favorite rapper of all time.
The true punchline king has set so many trends that we’re seeing countless young MCs still use them today—it’s almost not worth counting them all. His influence in rap today is unmatched, and whether people like to admit it or not, he’s done more for the game than probably any artist of his generation. And that’s just off his style alone. Now, throw in introducing the masses to Drake, Nicki Minaj, and the rest of Young Money, and his influence is unparalleled.
There are the countless mixtapes and albums in Wayne's catalog where he delivered like few artists before him. I’ve always argued about Weezy like he’s one of my favorite athletes on one of my favorite sports teams. And if you know me, I ride hide for my teams. Slander on the Internet? Nah, we’re riding for Wayne. Talking slick about Weezy’s bars? Not allowed. Wayne’s legend status in the game seems to be questioned a lot for someone with a pedigree like him.
A true rap pioneer, Wayne has seen ups and downs throughout his career, but one section of his past always sticks out: his 2013 album, I Am Not a Human Being II. This was a transitional time for Weezy, and as someone who had been a fan for over a decade at this point, I was watching with an open mind to see what he brought next.
Unlike Tha Carter series (which is classic—no need to debate), Wayne always seemed a bit more free to experiment and test the boundaries with IANAHB. From bouncy production to the plethora of frantic, carefree raps, Wayne seemed to always have more fun with this series than any others. With that freedom and experimentation came doubters who tried to diminish what Wayne was doing.
Despite the hate, Wayne delivered —ike always. I vividly remember listening to the project for the first time, immediately after it dropped, thinking to myself that my favorite still had it. They said he lost a step. They said his legendary run was over. On aggressive tracks like “Rich as Fuck” and “Gunwalk,” there was the Wayne we all love—hitting punchline after punchline and flipping clever wordplay on track after track.
Easy standouts like “No Worries” featuring Detail and “Love Me” featuring Drake and Future proved that Wayne could still piss out singles in his sleep, and in directions you didn’t know he could go. “No Worries” is especially fun for diehard Wayne fans to hear in 2013; even with doubt surrounding his greatness as an artist, Wayne reminded the world that he doesn’t give a damn. That same DGAF attitude was prevalent throughout the album, and it was a refreshing change of pace from some of his other projects, like the Dedication series.
While plenty of songs from IANAHB II were on repeat for months, one of my favorite developments on the album was the continued chemistry between 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. Years later, the two would release their collab album Collegrove but in 2013, they were gracious enough to bless the world with “Rich as Fuck.” Lord, I still love this song so much. Talk about a perfect collab from two artists who rarely, if ever, have made bad music together. When you hear “Rich as Fuck” out, the function goes up another level. Pure madness to this day. That song feels like LeBron hitting a buzzer-beater for the Cleveland Cavs during a playoff game.
Lil Wayne’s lasting legacy is a complicated one, filled with classic music moments and memories that fans will hold onto forever. While Wayne’s Carter series albums will always be talked about as the benchmark of his career, it’s on projects like IANAHB II where fans see another side to the legendary MC. We get to hear a carefree artist dealing with immense pressure from critics to reach a level of consistency he's set for himself be able to step back and have some fun.
And with that fun, Wayne gave fans a look at a different side of himself that many didn’t think he could dip into. That maniacal laugh on tracks was haunting the competition. They were worried about what Lil Wayne was doing and here he was just laughing. Us diehard Weezy fans were laughing with him, smiling ear to ear.
You can stream Lil Wayne's entire discography here.