Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
Welcome 2 Collegrove
Gamebread LLC / Def Jam Recordings
3.5 out of 5 Stars
For the majority of 2023, Lil Wayne fans held their breath in anticipation for Tha Carter VI, the long-expected follow-up to his stellar 2018 album The Carter V. However, instead of adding to Tha Carter series, Wayne decided to go in a few different directions.
Videos by American Songwriter
This began with Tha Fix Before Tha VI in September, a compilation of loosely related Wayne tracks to hold fans over before the eventual album. Then, in another gesture to get fans amped for Tha Carter VI, Wayne reunited with his good buddy 2 Chainz for Welcome 2 Collegrove last Friday (November 17), their sophomore effort as a duo.
The Collegrove collection first started in March 2016, when Wayne and 2 Chainz meshed the names of their hometowns Hollygrove, Louisiana, and College Park, Georgia, to deliver a 13-track joint LP. Though a few cuts off the record were solo 2 Chainz albums, the songs that contained performances from both MCs were electric and up-tempo. These included the fiery “What Happened,” the explosive “Bounce,” and the tangy, punchy “Gotta Lotta.”
On Welcome 2 Collegrove, though, the pair opted for more of a mixed bag of approaches, expanding to a 21-song track list to contain their wide array of ideas. This outlook yielded moderate success for them, opening the door for both mellow, poised, and pleasant bops like “P.P.A.” with Fabolous and “Oprah & Gayle” with Benny the Butcher. They also found ways to work in up-tempo, bold hits that work well like “Significant Other” and “Persia,” which erupted on TikTok as a promotional single.
Earlier this year ahead of the album’s release, Wayne mentioned how 2 Chainz devoted a lot of time to clearing samples for many of Welcome 2 Collegrove‘s songs. These efforts surely paid off, as songs like “Long Story Short” and “Shame” turned out to be some of the most enjoyable moments thanks to their Project Pat and Ol’ Dirty Bastard samples, respectively.
Collegrove 2, shame on you
I will leave your homie brains on you, then aim for you
Wayne and 2 Chainz goin’ Wu-Tang on you
All we need is a track, and we run a train on you, choo
On the flip side, there are quite a few duds throughout the LP as well. With the number of songs they aimed to include here, it seems like some of the ideas were either cheap, awkward or improperly fleshed out. Some of the best examples of this are the tacky, trendy production choices on “Millions From Now,” “Crazy Thick,” and “Crown Snatcher,” the strange placement of the gospel-inspired contribution from Vory on “Godzilla,” and the straight-up goofy beat on “Big Diamonds.”
Overall, though, there is still a lot to like on Welcome 2 Collegrove. Wayne is still rapping like he is in his prime as an artist, as his auto-tuned, crooned flow will never get old. Add to this the ever-amusing, boisterous flows from 2 Chainz, which contrast well with Wayne’s delivery. It just feels like, at times, a sharp-minded executive producer could have done wonders for the rhythm of the track list.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)