Collegrove, the collaboration album by College Park, Georgia’s 2 Chainz and Hollygrove, New Orlean’s Lil Wayne was announced by none other than “Pablo West” earlier in the week on Twitter, but it’s finally out today, March 4th (Def Jam Records). The high powered new duo conjure up in the imagination of fans so many possibilities for a project yet the final verdict of this LP is far from magnificent. Given the two artists’ solid reputations in the game (especially in Wayne’s case) and their history of amicably coming together for songs on occasion, Collegrove would suggest something substantial. What we get in return however is a less than serious trapper’s paradise, a consumer’s binge, a shopping spree and a loosened up, let-go hangout between ghetto celebrities where really anything goes. So much for restraint in anything here.
“Dedication,” “Bounce” and “What Happened” have some integrity and usable offerings, but just about everything else is a wash. 2 Chainz raps some (not enough) of his slow witty wordplay, and at points he’s simply lazy with his rhymes. Lil Wayne does his usual thing well enough, but he doesn’t bring out anything new. Not only that, the immaterial, materialistic and immature past times the two engage in only add insult to injury and at this point only reinforce negative stereotypes some have regarding mainstream rappers. There are some fine lyrical moments, but there just aren’t many, and it doesn’t help when the “tru” 2 raps in gargled, basic spoken English. It just shows that he hasn’t developed his fluency or familiarity with vocabulary and that clarity, articulacy and enunciation are not among his top priorities.
Collegrove doesn’t quite have equal contributions from both 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. It’s almost primarily a 2 Chainz album with several appearances by Wayne. He doesn’t quite get dragged through the mud bed that Tity Boi has laid down, but he sure comes awfully close. The production also is nothing very brilliant and comes from the hands of many of the most popular Southern beat-makers, Mike Will Made It, Metro Boomin, 808 Mafia, London on da Track, and even veterans like Mannie Fresh and Mike Dean. The music holds the vocals in place with a few nice moments but altogether doesn’t change the game or stand out tremendously. Overall, Collegrove is so juvenile and ordinary that it’s disappointing. Attention that should go to nuances and finer points of the lyricism or maybe even the production is at once draw to the album’s main distraction – its outright ignorance and celebration of criminal behavior.