Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz are a perfect pairing on ColleGrove, one of the most fun rap records that’s been released.
Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz making an entire album together is one of those things that you don’t really think about at all until it happens, but then afterward you wonder how you hadn’t thought of it earlier.
Wayne is and has always been at his best when he’s having fun. His haunting hook on “My Life” is one of a few exceptions, but the Lil Wayne we all fondly remember from Tha Carter III era was pretty much constantly having fun.
2 Chainz has been having fun constantly since forever. So these two together is–you guessed it–a whole lot of fun. As is their new joint (heh) album, ColleGrove. Everything about this project starts with the bond between these two rappers.
This is technically a 2 Chainz album featuring a lot of Lil Wayne, but the two are completely intertwined throughout. The album cover is 2 Chainz’ face with Lil Wayne’s iconic tattoos superimposed. The album name is a combination of both rapper’s neighborhoods: 2 Chainz hails from College Park, while Weezy comes from Hollygrove.
If those two references flew right over your head, the first track on ColleGrove should clear up what this album is about. “Dedication” is 2 Chainz at his most sincere, pouring out what Wayne has meant to him for years. The title of that song is a nod to the Dedication series of mixtapes that helped to boost Weezy to best rapper alive status in the 2000s.
The most impactful line from that song, and probably the album, comes right away at the start of 2 Chainz’ third verse. He tells Wayne directly: “You tatted your face and changed the culture.” There’s the album cover, the title, everything wrapped up sufficiently. This is an ode, from each rapper to the other.
It’s also a reminder, to many that seem to have forgotten. Lil Wayne is not dead. He’s also not human. The Martian is back. I’m thrilled to see what Weezy comes up with next, as long as he keeps this energy that courses through ColleGrove.
Every song on this album makes me smile. It’s just so damn enjoyable. Chainz and Wayne (also known as 3 Chainz) are always completely honest and unfiltered.
Part of my smile comes from Lil Wayne making enjoyable music again. Weezy had been on a long cold spell for five years or so before this. Most of his verses over that half-decade just felt uninspired, like he was clocking in at the studio and putting out tracks just because he felt like he had to.
Wayne had lost his fun. 2 Chainz found it, and gave it back to him in spades.
My personal favorite track from ColleGrove is “Bounce”, because it’s just two friends having a great time spitting bars at each other. It’s a pointless song–there’s no overarching meaning or message here. But it’s hype as shit, and it’s a legitimately great song. These two play off of each other perfectly–their chemistry is impeccable.
This bar from 2 Chainz on “Bounce” sounds like it could’ve been copy-pasted from No Ceilings:
Get pulled over for swervin’ like “Hi, officer,”
When he ask me why I was swerving, “I’m high, officer.”
2 Chainz fans shouldn’t worry about him losing his swagger just because of the Wayne influence. This Bill Cosby reference from “Smell Like Money” is undeniably 2 Chainz.
Call me Trill Cosby, I might spike my own beverage
“What Happened” is a great song on ColleGrove that’s essentially about being salty when a former lover returns after a while. Chainz and Wayne play off of each other especially well on this track. First this, from Weezy:
Girl, what happened?, you act like you don’t miss me, oh my god you suck at acting
I am like I thought you don’t fuck with me no more, girl I’m laughing
She said, she get real, when that vibrator out of batteries
Then the follow-up, about halfway through 2 Chainz’ verse:
I bet you think you found another n*gga you can vibe with
Quit lying to yourself, retrace all ya steps
Fucking with them suckers, they gonna have ya playing with yaself
I’m a smooth operator; you don’t need a vibrator
There are several moments like this on ColleGrove. One of either Lil Wayne or 2 Chainz throws up an alley-oop, and the other smashes it home.
If “Bounce” is the Stephen Curry of super fun songs on ColleGrove, “Rolls Royce Music Every Day” is the Russell Westbrook. Damn near as good, but in a different style. “Rolls Royce Music Every Day” is a much slower paced song, but it’s a blast.
I’ve missed Wayne’s clever wordplay so much. Here’s a sample of some strong Weezy bars, from “Rolls Royce Music Every Day”:
Fast lane, fast life, you blink you probably miss us
You thinking ’bout your missus
I’m thinking about my missions
We think you outchea snitching, that’s why we ‘round here whispering
I think my palms are itching, I think my bomb is ticking
There are some darker, quieter moments here as well as a few tracks that are strictly 2 Chainz, but the charisma that 2 Chainz has always had and that Lil Wayne has recently rediscovered makes ColleGrove an easy listen from start to finish. This album is going to be a staple in my rotation for a long time.
It’s important to smile, and to be happy. These two rappers understand that as well as anybody.