‘Woo this that shit you didn’t want me on’ the Louisiana rapper opens the album with to the accompaniment of a soaring choral beat followed by some genuinely tight flows. For a brief moment I was genuinely excited. Lil Wayne seemed to have upped his game, finally scrapping the bland poppy beats and actually riding these beats instead slurring over them like a drunkard.
But then the tracks began to progress and slowly, alas, I realised that this wasn’t some divine new rebirth – that even though musically there are some clear improvements, Weezy is still clueless when it comes to writing lyrics. From front to back, FWA is a whole load of puns and not much else. Some tracks attempt to take a theme like the awkward love song ‘Thinking Bout You’, but there others like the impressively ignorant ‘I’m That N***a’ and ‘I Feel Good’ which any fourth-grade wannabe rapper could have written (although the James-Brown-borrowed beat choice on the latter is pretty cool).
I didn’t expect Lil Wayne to start spurting socially conscious poetry, but he needs to find some kind of interesting subject matter. Everyone wants to hear him get personal – a full-out attack on Young Thug and Birdman might lose him his record contract with Cash Money Records, but it would make him an exciting character again instead of the bland hip hop template that he’s become.
Even the instrumentals and flows, as much of a refreshing face-lift as they are, aren’t enough to truly get rid of the wrinkles and make Lil Wayne sound fresh again. He’s trying to keep up with current trap rappers, when really he should be trying to carve out his own lane.