[Lil Wayne's] I Am Not a Human Being II covers all the gangsta rap bases — getting paid, getting laid, getting high, protecting turf — but does so with little of the energy or ingenuity that made Wayne a household name. In standout cuts like floss track "Rich as Fuck" and scorched-earth assessment "God Bless Amerika," the flow floats effortlessly like the proverbial butterfly and stings like the bee, with lines you never saw coming. On the other hand, "Wowzerz" boasts the best wordplay of the sex-focused tracks, but the bar is pretty low when the runner-up involves genitals and Megatron. Next to up-and-comer Gudda Gudda's featured verse, Weezy's lines in thug track "Gunwalk" fire blanks.
Not only his records are suffering. Lil Wayne is not the only rapper to blow an endorsement over questionable lyrics, but the Emmett Till reference in Future's "Karate Chop," which killed Wayne's deal with Pepsico, might be the most tasteless and offensive thing to come out of a rapper's mouth since Donaghy Estates Sparkling Wine — or at least, the rape jokes that cost Rick Ross his Reebok contract.
30 Rock references will get you everywhere with me, Goose. So anyway, can Lil Wayne redeem himself? Will he be outshone by his undercard on this one? Only one way to find out. Tickets are still available right here.
Now, as a different hip-hop superstar might say, on to the next one ...
Remember M.O.D.? The '80s crossover-thrash weirdos responsible for 1987's semi-offensive U.S.A. for M.O.D.? Well, contributor Sean L. Maloney sure as hell remembers 'em, as noted at great length in the preview he wrote for their appearance tonight at Exit/In. Here's a chunk of it:
It should be noted that it takes a lot to offend this author — my brow is so low that it frequently obscures my vision. Unrefined and patently offensive are my stock-in-trade; crass and unrepentant are my bread and butter. I once went to church wearing a Cannibal Holocaust T-shirt depicting a field full of impaled people — and as a humor-loving, over-accommodating liberal, I am willing to give wide berth to people who can make or take a good joke. What's more, I love thrash metal — I came of age in the late '80s, when every miscreant with a misanthropic demeanor was issued a skateboard and a Slayer record. I think that was a result of Tip O'Neill's much-revered Thrash America bill. Just kidding.
So you'd think, given my flexibility, that repeat listening to U.S.A. for M.O.D. would be guilt-free smooth sailing through the seas of nostalgia. But no: For all my love for this album — it is belligerent and hilarious, bludgeoning and goofy all at once — I still can't listen to it all the way through without feeling like a bad person. Songs like "Bubble Butt," "Ode to Harry" and "Don't Feed the Bears" are absurd, juvenile jokes. Songs like "Trash or Be Thrashed," "You're Beat" and "Parents" are the sort of blast-speed goonery that made hardcore-metal hybridization so appealing in the first place. "Imported Society" and "AIDS," on the other hand, are entirely and unapologetically fucked up. And I know all the words.
Maloney's piece gets even better from there. That one starts at 8 p.m. and costs $7.
All right. So you don't want to see a high-dollar arena-rap spectacle or some goofy, nostalgic metal. Fair. How about some good, old-fashioned, new-fangled surf-inflected indie pop? Seattle's La Luz will perform tonight at The Stone Fox, and culture editor Steve Haruch wrote a little something about that one for us. Here's a bit of it:
Earlier this year, La Luz released the enchanting and too-short Damp Face EP (the cassette version of which quickly sold out and was re-duped by Burger Records) and a split 7-inch single with T.V. Dream, both of which show off a level of stylistic confidence rare in a band that's barely been together a year.
"I spent a long time kind of mulling the idea of the band in my head," singer-guitarist Shana Cleveland tells the Scene by phone from Seattle. "So I think I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted it to be and what I wanted it to sound like."
It was a good idea. And while the band largely owes its sound to a stratum of rock that has been mined extensively — early R&B and soul, '60s surf and Darlene Love-style vocal-group pop — Cleveland and her accomplices channel their forebears with distinctive verve.
That one costs $7, starts at 9 p.m., and features support from damn good local up-and-comers ChurchYard.
Still not satisfied? Well then, I think you're a persnickety person, and you probably don't enjoy life very much. Nevertheless, there's even more good stuff happening. Take, for instance, tonight's Music City Roots, which goes down — as it does every week — at Loveless Cafe. On the bill is Amber Digby, for whom contributor Jewly Hight wrote a Critic's Pick. Here's that one:
’Tis the season for liquor-lubricated, party-starting summer fare at country radio. Amber Digby clearly wasn’t cut out for that world, nor is she interested in whatever stylistic contortions she’d need to undergo in order to fit into the narrow range of what radio programmers are currently interested in. Her mother, father, stepfather, aunt and at least a couple of uncles had careers during a vastly different era of country music, her mom as a backing singer for Connie Smith and her dad as Loretta Lynn’s bassist. But Digby had to discover for herself that she’s a natural-born honky-tonk balladeer, with brightness and clarity to her timbre and an easy, gliding grace to her phrasing. It hasn’t gone unnoticed either, as she’s released a series of independent albums. For this year’s The World You’re Living In, she attracted Vince Gill as a duet partner; they’ll perform that number together on the Opry, where they met in the first place. Though she and proudly contrarian, trad-country badass Dale Watson are doing separate sets at The Station Inn, there will no doubt be some dueting then, too. Wednesday night, she’ll join the Music City Roots lineup. —JEWLY HIGHT
Starts at 7 p.m., costs $5.
But we've got one more option for you. Like a good comeback story? Then hear the tale of Malcolm Holcombe, who will play tonight at Douglas Corner. Scene managing editor Jack Silverman wrote a pick on that one for us, so let's have a look:
If you’ve got someone in your life so self-destructive that you’re at wit’s end, let Malcolm Holcombe offer a glimmer of hope. Fifteen years ago he was so far off the rails even those closest to him found it hard to envision him making it to the new millennium. And today, he’s living proof not only that it’s never too late to turn your life around, but also that you don’t have to be teetering on the precipice to make great art. Over the last decade he’s put out seven solid albums and one EP, and though he’s just a couple years shy of 60, he’s showing no signs of letting up. His latest, last year’s Down the River, produced by Ray Kennedy, features what may be his best supporting cast yet — Darrell Scott, Emmylou Harris, Viktor Krauss, Russ Pahl, Tammy Rogers and Kim Richey among them — but it’s still Holcombe’s gravelly voice, distinctive guitar work and abstract mountain-mystic songwriting that stand front and center. Highlights include the foot-stomping lead track “Butcher in Town,” “In Your Mercy” (sung from the point of view of an elderly woman in a nursing home), and “Trail o’ Money,” a duet with Steve Earle about the evils of greed and the supremacy of the human spirit. —JACK SILVERMAN
That one starts at 8:30 p.m. And if you still haven't found something you're into, peruse the rest of our listings here.