As co-founder of Cash Money, the “rapper” formerly known as Baby and currently known by the far less ridiculous moniker Birdman helped transform Lil Wayne into a superstar, first as part of Hot Boys, and later as a solo act. In return, Lil Wayne has allowed Birdman to indulge his hip-hop-star fantasies far longer than decency would warrant. Lil Wayne recorded a 2006 collaborative album with Birdman, Like Father Like Son, and is ubiquitous on Birdman’s solo albums.
There is, not coincidentally, only one reason anyone would buy Pricele$$, Birdman’s latest solo effort: to hear Lil Wayne on roughly half the tracks. Heaven knows nobody is going to purchase the album to hear Birdman’s trenchant insights or sophisticated wit. Sixteen years after he released I Need A Bag Of Dope, Birdman’s flow is still thoroughly basic, and his subject matter seldom ventures beyond endless dissertations on the value and nature of his clothes, jewelry, and cars. Pricele$$ is less an album than an elaborate inventory of Birdman’s worldly goods; by the end of the album, listeners will know as much about Baby’s net worth and personal fortune as his accountant and the IRS. Not surprisingly, the highlights come from Lil Wayne, who contributes a lively verse to the disco-leaning standout song “I Want It All” and many other tracks. Remove Lil Wayne and buzzed-about newcomer Drake from the album, and Birdman’s latest exercise in crass consumerism isn’t so much priceless as worthless.