Just one week ago, rap legend Lil Wayne announced his new album Funeral. Today, the new LP is out in the world, and we can now fully confirm that it has nothing to do with Arcade Fire. Wayne’s Funeral is his 13th official studio LP, though if you count mixtapes and collaborations and whatnot, the number is a whole lot higher than that. And it’s the first album that Wayne has made since he fully escape the legal drama with Cash Money, his old label, that led to a years-long delay in the release of his triumphant 2018 commercial comeback Tha Carter V.
Wayne did not release any advance singles from Funeral, and he didn’t reveal any info about the album beyond its release date and it cover art, which reads “Lil Wayne” when you flip it upside down. So the album arrived in full this morning. It’s long. Funeral has 24 songs, and it runs 76 minutes. There are a few weirdly long stretches of silence on the album, which suggests that it was put together in a hurry. (Pitchfork reports that the 24 seconds of silence after “Bing James” aren’t a mastering mistake; they’re a moment of silence in honor of the late Kobe Bryant.)
The album still features plenty of guest stars, including 2 Chainz, Lil Baby, Big Sean, Adam Levine, Jay Rock, The-Dream, OT Genasis, the late XXXTentacion, and Wayne’s old Young Money protege Lil Twist. (Remember Lil Twist? I was not ready to read the words “Lil Twist” this morning, but here we are.) Producers like Murda Beatz, Mike Will Made-It, and Wayne’s old collaborator Mannie Fresh make contributions.
On first listen, Funeral is a numb and overlong but still impressive rap album. For the most part, Wayne just seems to be rapping here, not switching up his approach or attempting to appeal to different audiences. We don’t get many of the overworked song-concepts or auto-pilot collabs that marked Tha Carter V. Instead, it’s got the slapdash immediacy of a mixtape, which is really the best format for Wayne. Listen below.