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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

2 Chainz / Lil Wayne: Welcome 2 Collegrove Album Overview

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Right here’s one thing that doesn’t seem to be it must be true: 2 Chainz is 5 years older than Lil Wayne. After all, within the mid-’90s Wayne willed his method into the Money Cash Data workplaces as a quasi-intern—after which onto radio and tv—earlier than he was sufficiently old to drive; in fact, the arc of two Chainz’s early profession extra carefully resembles an EKG readout, to the purpose the place the primary track on 2007’s long-delayed Playaz Circle debut was a paean to missed launch dates known as “Pricey Mr. L.A. Reid.” And nonetheless, this little piece of biographical information appears incorrect.

When 2 Chainz lastly grew to become a star, within the early 2010s, it was in a distinctly post-Tha Carter III world. Mixtapes have been nonetheless idiosyncratic and unmonetizable, however rap was in its transient flirtation with EDM, and the collapse of the CD gross sales financial system meant solely established megastars or exaggerated personas like his may lower by means of the din. Even the best way the 2 shut buddies have processed, of their solo work, their relationships to the previous are incongruent, with Wayne perpetually shadowboxing the greats of prior generations whereas 2 Chainz tinkers with status objects self-consciously positioned as fashionable successors to The Blueprint.

Sadly, Welcome 2 Collegrove, the second album to pair these two MCs, is profoundly unstuck in time, dotted with the vestiges of two bygone eras however imbued with few of these eras’ charms. The liner notes recall a whole period together with SARS, Perez Hilton, and Iraq battle protests by means of the Obama campaigns: DJ Toomp and STREETRUNNER, Bangladesh and Large Okay.R.I.T., Usher and Marsha Ambrosious. However the LP is frustratingly polished, defaulting to pristine mixes and beats which are crisp, skinny, and wholly nameless. (This extends, sadly, to these from essentially the most beloved contributors: Mannie Contemporary’s crowded, directionless “Large Diamonds” and Havoc’s pair of middling tracks, together with a stale 36 Chambers riff.) Mixed with verses that ceaselessly prioritize competency over invention, these tracks make for an album that solely intermittently gestures towards both rapper’s signature types.

On Da Drought 3 or T.R.U. REALigion—even on the highlights from 2016’s superior Collegrove—there was an air of delirious impulsivity, the sense that Wayne or 2 Chainz would possibly, within the subsequent second, conjure a circulation or a picture that no human being had ever earlier than conceived of. There was a looseness of construction that allowed for hooks or excessive stakes however required neither. Welcome 2 Collegrove drags every artist into the center of the highway the place even some impressed premises (the mutation, on “Loopy Thick,” of Wayne’s notorious deposition video right into a strip membership instrumental, or his tight little seesaw cadence on “Lengthy Story Quick”) are sanded right down to their least memorable variations. That is true on the totally rote “Tens of millions From Now” and the virtually narcotized “Transparency,” the schmaltzy “Can’t Imagine You” and “Godzilla,” a track as “lukewarm” as 2 Chainz describes a selected lady’s mouth.

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