Last year, Nicki Minaj recounted a story of how Lil Wayne thought her auto-tune ballad “Your Love” was garbage upon a first listen. Taking his words to heart, that single was supposed to never be released. One unplanned (or planned, depending on who you believe) leak later, the song would be the track to ignite Minaj’s solo career and influence the direction of her debut Pink Friday. Obviously, Lil Wayne paid close attention to his mistaken judgment. His latest Carter 4 single, “How to Love,” has all the markings of a wanting to replicate the success of his stablemate.
The simple, acoustic arrangements reflect production you’d expect to hear from aspiring bands on college radio. In fact, that crowd may turn out to be the ones most receptive to this. Some of Drake’s influence can be heard in Wayne’s singing inflections. The other Hip-Hop elements are reflected in the bass drops and “aye” ab libs. In pop music fashion, the sound gets bigger and more sprawling as the track builds. Wayne isn’t a singer, so his voice never can quite match the sound’s growing level. Thankfully, the song abruptly cuts the sequence short.
As expected, fans have polarizing opinions about this song. Most Hip-Hop followers don’t mind genre-meshing if it’s done right. Whether this song is a hit or not will determine if we’ll get more Wayne singing and perhaps even a Rebirth sequel. Singing rappers have been around since the genre’s birth. Some can do it very well (Queen Latifah, Mos Def, Lauryn, Ceelo etc.). Others should only do it when they’re clearly engaging in parody, ala the Notorious B.I.G. on “Playa Hater.” Based on this offering, Lil Wayne should put his singing “talents” in the latter category.
LIL WAYNE “HOW TO LOVE”