"If it wasn't for Wayne, it wouldn't be" says 2 Chainz at the beginning of his ColleGrove album, but this is no ordinary 2 Chainz album. ColleGrove could be considered a group or a duo featuring 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, although Weezy doesn't get an official credit on this release due to label issues and contractual obligations. Still, he's either on, or the subject of, every cut on this surprise album, which was dropped unannounced by Def Jam and comes off as a highly polished mixtape. There are hints that the long-absent Weezy is turning into a new version of Future as "Smell Like Money" rattles off "Oh my God, it's raining men/Said the weathermen to the anchormen" and then coasts on a beat that Wayne dubs "dope and cologne." Later, "Blue C-Note" drops "Dreadlocked Rasta, hair like pasta/I don't see what's your problem, I need an eye doctor" and Wayne is the Wayne all fans had hoped for, but 2 Chainz can't be ignored, and rightfully rules his half of the release. Still, it's a casual, tossed-off affair, although one filled with mutual admiration, riveting one-upmanship, and a glorious journey across the hip-hop production spectrum, from Mannie Fresh to Metro Boomin.
by David Jeffries