Recording information: Downtown Music Studios; Speakeasy Studios, Los Angeles.
Photographer: F. Scott Schafer.
While their first two albums of self-styled "fake rap" split the difference between rap album and comedy record, the Lonely Island's third outing, The Wack Album, finds the trio gearing up to really explore their own uncoolness with hilarious results. On the surface, it might seem like the group is simply sitting back and taking pot shots at rap culture, but the truth -- perfectly encapsulated by the back cover photo of the group standing in a pasture with a horse while wearing plaid dinner jackets -- is that the album is really an exploration of their own innate wackness. The Lonely Island don't try to come off as larger than life figures, but rather to showcase how sadly mundane they are compared to the club bangin' production that anchors their tracks. Instead of sipping Cristal and riding in style in the back of a Maybach, they're buying diapers and making down payments on reasonably priced, though not ideally located, grave plots in "Diaper Money." Instead of stirring up beef with others rappers, they use the track "The Compliments," which features a guest spot from a bewildered Too $hort, to let everyone know just how good they are at making skinny margaritas and helping out in the kitchen. Most impressive about The Wack Album is that the Lonely Island manage to get their jokes across without feeling like they're making fun of rap which, given how much material they'd have by making fun of themselves, would really be a last resort. ~ Gregory Heaney
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The secret weapon is musical skill: TLI are versatile MCs, and A-list producers turn jokes into pro-grade pop and hip-hop."