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“ColleGrove” fails to impress

(pitchfork)

(pitchfork)

Aaron Worley | Arts & Entertainment Editor

2 Chainz and Lil Wayne are a subliminal dynamic duo when it comes to making absurd and over-the-top rap songs. Wayne’s features on every 2 Chainz album comes at no shock, as a combination that they observed with each other was a formula they were determined to make succeed; or at least make an album with each other where they traded verses and bounced off of each other’s chemistry.

While credited as a solo album by Chainz, “ColleGrove,” this eponymous project that they agreed upon making, was actually a collaboration album. Every now and then, with each listen, Wayne’s voice either gets trumped by Chainz’s lyrics, or he fails to offer something that pops his head out of the bushes he remains hidden behind as a ‘contributor’ to the album.

For starters, one should not take this album seriously. It was obviously made for the pure joy of both Wayne and Chainz to create a “bangerz” project which stings as indifferent towards its hits and misses in this aspect. An example of this technique is utilized in the song, “Bounce,” which is low and behold the most memorable and exhilarating track. Credit to this goes to the siren-like background repetitions that add hype to whatever Chainz is saying; standout lines include, “Got a mansion, a condo, a cabin, I sleep in my Phantom/So high dancing with the stars to the Star Spangled Banner.” In any case, the placement of these culture references are not meant to make sense, or even meant to be understood. They are added for the simple fact that Chainz can rap about “Dancing with the Stars” in his own Chainz style of dialect.

Lil Wayne, on the other hand, takes on the role as the subliminal hype man behind Chainz’s lyrics, not even appearing on every track, but spitting mercilessly on about half of the songs you can hear his voice in. His solo albums which were, at one point, devastatingly good and well received, began to take a drop following “I Am Not a Human Being,” and some reviewers and listeners found him to be stale and ultimately bored with the process of making music.  Some could even argue that Wayne is past his prime; this may be the case, but he really tries to make himself a contender on his appearances with Chainz on the project.

It becomes clear that when they trade verses and go over-the-top, they want to compete with each other, and urge the listener to quote something they said as unlike any other artist. The problem with this concept is that Chainz almost always dominates over Wayne, and it is sometimes questioned what actual impact Wayne has on the project, or how readily Chainz could do without him.

Wayne makes his trademark squeals on “What Happened” specifically, as he begins rapping about a girl who cannot seem to get over Chainz and Wayne. The cues show how crazy the girl is, and how, despite both of their voracious sexual appetites, the relationship does not work out and every encounter is referred to as the “last time.”

Despite the humorous lyrics and zaniness in these tracks, the rest of the album does not follow the same enjoyable path, and which each passing song, a level of tiredness is easily achieved by the listener. “Blue C-Note” has too many sounds going on that do not compliment each other in any way, and the songs “Bentley Truck,” “Smell Like Money” and “Rolls Royce Weather Every Day” are boring and sonically bland. These could have surely been scrapped or put in a throwaway album, but one should have expected some songs to be filler content and not special in the least. While not altogether mind-blowingly terrible, one should expect some diversity from 2 Chainz, given that a majority of his albums sound the same, and they do not offer that much of a unique experience to anyone who wants to become a fan. The lyricism is one, thing, bold and brash, while the beats are similar to what you would expect from a non-diverse music producer.

“ColleGrove” has hits, but some punches could have been pulled to spare the listener from some garbage and mediocrity. Either way, some fun could be found in this project, so it works to the faintest degree.

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