Published Mar 09, 2016Rap duos in the post-Run the Jewels era are a tricky thing to pull off: now, in addition to the expectation of top-notch projects from two all-star rappers, such works are expected to be available for free.
Which makes the out-of-the-blue album from 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne — announced two days prior to its release by Kanye West on Twitter and officially sold as a 2 Chainz album with Lil Wayne features to sidestep Weezy's contract obligations — a little difficult to process.
It's very fun. Tracks two through four exhibit Lil Wayne at his best in years. The lively back-and-forth on "Bounce," a strong contender for banger of the year, can only be compared to, you guessed it, Run the Jewels. The production work excels, with Manny Fresh's "Gotta Lotta" and Lil C's "Rolls Royce Weather Everyday" exhibiting Rick Ross-level grandiosity.
But 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne bank too much on their reputations here. To be sure, 2 Chainz shows up in full force, exhibiting his Kirkland Signature braggadocio — "Drop some loose change on some clothes I can't pronounce" — but with the exception of some early highlights, Lil Wayne mostly ends up getting bodied by Young Thug without Thugga even being there, with Weezy's singing paling compared to the abilities of his rap Padawan. On that note, a few features — maybe Migos or Future — would've helped spice things up here. Two of the tracks were listed directly from 2 Chainz's latest EP, adding to the lazily compiled feel of the product.
When Collegrove is good, it's very good. Unfortunately, it's tough to hear this project as anything but a crude marketing move to keep both rappers relevant until their next solo projects. (Def Jam)