He just turned 30 last fall, but recently Lil Wayne has talked about retiring from the MC game. Is the life of a rapper starting to affect his health, leading to his much-documented hospitalization for seizures? Has he run out of things to say? Or does he recognize that his time in the pop culture firmament may have passed?
Weezy still commands a lot of respect in the rap world, which is why many of his chart usurpers show up here, each one besting one of Wayne's key attributes: Drake locks down the smirking half-croon; Nicki Minaj spins high-speed surrealism; and 2 Chainz, with his arena-size punchlines and boot-stomping swagger, sounds an awful lot like...well, Wayne from seven years ago. Not that Wayne has completely lost his touch. He can spit free-association couplets with head-spinning aplomb nobody else sells nonsense like ''Long hair, don't care/Hacksaw Jim Duggan.'' But someone should smash all of his guitars to avoid tepid hardcore mash-ups like "Hello." And while he's never been particularly friendly to the fairer sex, he's extra hostile to women this time (certain recurring bits skew ickily pornographic). Lil Wayne still has his curveball, but on I Am a Human Being II his MVP status is behind him. B-
BEST TRACKS: ''Days and Days feat. 2 Chainz'' • ''Back to You''