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2 Chainz and Lil Wayne have an explosive collaboration with a new album called Welcome 2 Collegrove

André 3000 recently shared with GQ that his highly anticipated solo debut wouldn’t fit the traditional hip-hop mold. At 48, he expressed discomfort rapping about subjects common in the genre. 

However, 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, in their latest collaborative effort, Welcome 2 Collegrove, don’t seem to share that concern. In one instance, on “Can’t Believe You,” Wayne humorously remarks, “I’m too grown to be a Chuck E. Cheese fan.” While contextually about taking a stance against snitching “rats,” it also inadvertently showcases a moment of unintentional self-awareness.

A notable example is the track “Transparency,” a repurposing of a previously leaked Chris Brown song. Supposedly a somewhat serious song about integrity, the two rappers take the titular concept literally, making jokes about see-through garments.

However, this isn’t the most significant issue with Welcome 2 Collegrove. While it can be fun in bits, and some of its most juvenile tracks (“P.P.A.” and “Crаzy Thick”) stand out, the album’s main problem is common to many sequels: it attempts to be bigger and better but ends up feeling lumbering and belabored.

Welcome 2 Collegrove tries to be a sprawling concept album—a Southern fable divided into five suites or “scenes,” with each introductory interlude narrated by 50 Cent for some unclear reason. The loosely defined narrative follows Tunechi (Wayne) and Toni (Chainz), two Ԁrug kingpins distracted by wоmen who must reclaim the fictional neighborhood of Collegrove from a young, up-and-coming, fentanyl-dealing coalition.

Wayne and Chainz don’t seem invested in this narrative, executing it lazily. The album is filled with half-baked songs like “Presha,” which tentatively conflates skirt chasing and Ԁrug cooking, and “Milliоns from Now,” where the rappers dismissively scoff about a woman’s lack of memorability, contributing little to the story.

On paper, Wayne and Chainz are a classic yin and yang matchup: Wayne as the off-kilter impressionist and Chainz as the square-shouldered realist. This dynamic is showcased in “G6,” the album’s first track, an ecstatic height unfortunately unmatched in the ensuing 19 tracks. While the contrast between the two sections is striking, there’s no real interplay or a sense that the rappers are in conversation. Wayne often outshines Chainz in delivery, as seen in “Bars,” where Chainz’s sluggish address is revived by Wayne’s hysterical energy, a move repeated in tracks like “Can’t Believe You” and “Crown Snatcher.”