THE RAPPER TURNED ROCKER

Right about now Lil Wayne can do no wrong—or so he thinks. But the multiplatinum rapper is set to release a guitar-fueled rock album, Rebirth, this month, and hip-hop history says give it up, not turn it loose.

Photographs by Teddy Lee/Retna, Jason Kempin/WireImage.com, and Bazel Tiyde/Retna Ltd.

Right about now Lil Wayne can do no wrong—or so he thinks. But the multiplatinum rapper is set to release a guitar-fueled rock album, Rebirth, this month, and hip-hop history says give it up, not turn it loose. Ever since Run-DMC co-opted "Walk This Way," the rock form has tempted rap acts. For every crossover hit like Cypress Hill's "(Rock) Superstar," there are countless duds littering the discount bins—see Ice-T's ill-fated band Body Count, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues from House of Pain's Everlast, and Mos Def's second solo effort, The New Danger, the response to which sent him running back to full-fledged hip-hop. Weezy does have one thing going for him: The Grammy winner, who's already huge in rock-loving red states, will be putting out his new album just as tired rap-rockers Limp Bizkit kick off a world tour—and an attempt at rebirth is always better than a rehash. Matt Hendrickson

The music video for "Prom Queen," Rebirth's first single

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