A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that because of the constant use of profanity, this album is definitely a no-go for kids. That's probably not a big surprise, but with less sexually explicit themes and more emotionally introspective tracks, it might seem like this is a kinder, gentler Lil Wayne. Although there might be some truth to that, there really aren't any tracks that are suitable for kids to hear. And yes, there still are the trademark violations, including using the N-word, disrespecting women, and glorifying drug use.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
So maybe it's not breaking news that Lil Wayne has released a rock album. The buzz surrounding the LP has snowballed, with the album being pushed back numerous times and leaked on various occasions. The album, full of rock guitars and hip-hop beats, also finds Wayne singing without the constant crutch of auto-tune. It's open to interpretation whether that's a good thing or not.
Is it any good?
Critics have bashed this album like it was a guitar at a Who concert. Apparently Lil Wayne's interpretation of rock music has rubbed many the wrong way. But there are things to like about the unlikely release. Wayne does in fact summon the spirits of some questionable rock gods, and sounds that could come from an '80s hair band spring unapologetically. On a few tracks you might swear you're listening to Bon Jovi, Genesis, or The Clash. Wayne's rock inspirations span the ages from punk to ska, but the LP isn't all about rock. This album is a mixed-up mash-up of hip-hop, pop, rock, and rap, and that's what makes it great. Like a musical collage Wayne intertwines his stream-of-conscious raps with straining ballads helped along by stellar guest spots from Shanell, Eminem, and Nicki Manaj. "Knockout," "Running," and "Da Da Da" are especially fun. Many will wish Wayne returns to his hardcore roots, but perhaps this album marks the beginning of Wayne's new sound that will only improve with time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about setting boundaries for appropriate music content. What are your family's rules? Does profanity make an album off-limits? What if a song doesn't have any bad language but still has violent messages? Have you and your family discussed what is acceptable and what's not?
What do you think of Lil Wayne's attempt to move into rock music? Do you think musicians should stick to the genre that made them famous, or is it admirable to try new things? Do you think this album will be as successful as his past work? If it's not, does that mean it was a failure, or could it be a success on other levels besides sales chart position?
Talk about music labeled "for mature audiences only." Do you feel out of the loop not being allowed to listen to certain albums, especially ones that everyone is talking about? Do you feel peer pressure to listen to music that you know your parents wouldn't want you to hear? Why do you think some music is labeled inappropriate? Are there some messages that teens aren't ready to hear?