Lil Wayne is driven by a pathological need to create music that’s divorced from even the fuzziest notion of quality control. So when Cash Money surprised the world by rushing out a 10-track album as a prelude to his feverishly anticipated next album, Tha Carter IV, it was the simultaneous source of optimism and pessimism. Sure enough, I Am Not A Human Being is all over the place. The title track is a hangover from Wayne’s ill-fated drunken rock spree Rebirth, while the minimalist, codeine-slow “I’m Single” moves at such a glacial pace that it feels much longer than its five-minute running time, and “That Ain’t Me” is ruined by a cheesy R&B hook.
Though Human Being feels more like a mix-tape stopgap than a proper album, it’s nevertheless full of intriguing experiments and infectious tracks. The smooth, soulful “With You” showcases Wayne’s oft-overlooked softer side, though the rapper isn’t too romantic to rhyme “shit” with “shit,” or perform a song called “Gonorrhea,” which boasts a constantly morphing beat and Wayne and Drake trading freaky space-alien-on-syrup flows. Though Wayne appears to be a bad influence on that nice young man from Canada, their standout collaboration “Right Above It” has some of the anthemic, propulsive force of Tha Carter III’s “Mr. Carter.” Human Being seems designed to keep Wayne in the public eye during his big-house stay, but he’s a superstar who could pull a J.D. Salinger, and the press and public would still be obsessed with him. If nothing else, Human Being serves as a potent reminder that Wayne is still capable of both greatness and awfulness.