When rumors first surfaced back in January about Lil Wayne’s plan to release a rock album called Rebirth (Cash Money/Universal), a collective wave of WTF? quickly spread over the Internet. After all, Wayne’s sixth solo album Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal, 2008) was last year’s highest-selling rap album and easily one of the year’s high points for most rap fans. But, fear not: According to Bryan “Baby” Williams, Wayne’s mentor and father figure, as well as Cash Money Records co-CEO, the new album is less about Wayne going rock and more about him experimenting and growing as an artist.
“It’s not a rock record,” Baby told VIBE recently during an exclusive interview. “That’s what I think people are getting misunderstood. When you speaking about a rock record, you think he’s got a guitar and everything, but it’s not that. It’s going to be some of those types of beats, but it’s just great music. I don’t think no artist can do what he about to get done. My son is a rock star.”
Wayne’s first foray into the world of rock certainly sounds like he’s trying to switch up his sound. In January, he released Rebirth’s first official single, “Prom Queen,” which peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two weeks ago, he unleashed “Hot Revolver,” the album’s second single, which has climbed as high as #33 on the Hot 100. And just last week, a video emerged of Wayne, who has been attempting to learn to play the guitar for several years now, strumming along to a recording of “Prom Queen.” (Watch below) Still, Baby insists, he hasn’t lost his love for rap music.“He can rap, he can sing, he’s just an artist,” he says. “I don’t think no one will ever be greater [than Wayne] because I don’t think no one puts in the time or the quality. If someone do come along, can you imagine what he’ll have to do? He got to put out on thousand mixtapes, do a thousand records [and] sell 100 million records. 2Pac, Jay-Z and Biggie didn’t get to the shit Wayne’s done.”
Originally slated for an April release, Rebirth is now scheduled to drop on June 16. In related news, Baby’s fourth solo album Priceless (Cash Money/Universal) will also drop in June. The lead single from that album, “Always Strapped,” features Lil Wayne and is currently available on iTunes.