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Lil Wayne's Rebirth: Guitar Music, Not Rock Album

Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III earned him rock-star status, but there’s a big difference between carrying around a guitar and carrying off a rock album, at least one that’s worth listening to.

As a rapper, Wayne has been impervious to much criticism. As a rocker, though, there are some serious chinks in the Teflon. Rebirth’s (* * out of four) screaming guitars and extensive use of Auto-Tune can’t mask his bad singing and even worse lyrics. Not that he’s the first king of something to stumble trying to conquer a new world. While it’s understandable that he might chafe under rap’s limitations, there is a thin line between innovation and indulgence.

Unlike Kanye West’s pop vocal foray, 808s & Heartbreak — which many hip-hop fans greeted with raised eyebrows —Rebirth is neither well-conceived nor artfully delivered. With Wayne facing up to a year in prison when he’s sentenced on gun possession charges Feb. 9, there’s a chance that this curiosity will simply run its course. Then fans can get on with anticipating his release and hopefully, a triumphant return to rap.

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