NEW YORK (AP) — It’s no secret that rap superstar 2 Chainz considers Lil Wayne an inspiration, and now that admiration for the “Tha Carter” series icon has translated into another official joint album that he says will be out before 2023 ends.
“We have two videos shot, photoshoot shot, (the) album’s mixed and getting mastered, so it’ll be coming sooner than later, and I’m really excited about it,” said 2 Chainz, while promoting the new season of Amazon Music Live. “It’s rapping at a high level — steel sharpens steel. And he’s one of the people that I enjoy working with the most.”
The long-awaited album, expectedly titled “COLLEGROVE 2,” has been teased since 2020 as the sequel to their 2016 collaboration. 2 Chainz is credited as the main artist on that project although Wayne appeared on eight of the 12 songs, due to Weezy’s contractual issues at the time. While much of the album is shrouded in secrecy, various reports say features will include Benny the Butcher and Usher, who recently popped up in social media videos with the pair in what looked like the filming of a music video.
2 Chainz, whose most recent studio project was 2022’s “Dope Don’t Sell Itself,” said Wayne left most of the direction of their upcoming album to his leadership.
“We worked together on every song and we over-recorded. But he kind of laid that responsibility in my lap. He’s creative. He’s coming up with concepts and ideas. And then, I’m someone that does the same thing on the marketing side, putting together the right set of songs that fit the particular concept I’m trying to convey,” said the Grammy winner. “I think we work well in that extent to where he trusts my opinion and how I’m handling everything. And he’s going to bring the A-game to work every day.”
Known for hits such as “It’s a Vibe” feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz and Jhene Aiko, “No Lie” with Drake and “I’m Different,” mainstream rap fans were first introduced to Chainz, then going by Tity Boy, when he was in the group Playaz Circle with Dolla Boy. Lil Wayne was featured on their 2007 hit “Duffle Bag Boy,” which reached No. 15 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
In addition to the mixtape, Chainz and Wayne have contributed to a number of songs on each other’s albums, as well as Juicy J’s smash record “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem” and a version of Young Dolph’s “Preach.”
The Georgia native also said he’s bringing his best when hosting this new season of “Amazon Music Live,” the concert series livestreamed from Los Angeles by Amazon Music. The “Good Drank” rapper says the second season will feature performances from Ed Sheeran, Latin superstar Feid and rap heavyweight Lil Durk, with more to be announced later.
“We’re taking it up a notch with some more exciting acts from different genres,” said Chainz, who also served as the inaugural host. “Connecting sports and music, fusing that together which we already know has a strong correlation, it just feels good to be in the middle of all this. To be the host…it comes kind of natural to me.”
Premiering tonight after the New York Giants visit the San Francisco 49ers, Amazon Music Live will follow Thursday Night Football weekly on Prime Video and on the Amazon Music channel on the streaming platform Twitch. Last season’s guests included Lil Baby, Megan Thee Stallion, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Anitta and 21 Savage.
Recently assisting DJ Khaled in opening up for Beyoncé’s Los Angeles tour stop earlier this month, 2 Chainz says although he considers himself to be a master performer, he’s always paying close attention to the artists who grace the Amazon Music Live stage.
“A lot of preparation goes into it,” said 2 Chainz of the performances. “Just seeing how people approach this platform is always interesting for me. I’m still a student.”
The “Birthday Song” artist, who also hosts Vice TV’s “Most Expensivest” series which follows him as he checks out uber-priced items, says his album with Wayne is “right on time” as the music world has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
However, with much of the fanfare going toward The Bronx, hip-hop’s birthplace, and New York City’s early rap years, some fans and artists think Southern Rap hasn’t gotten it’s due, having been the genre’s dominant geographical nucleus the last two decades. But 2 Chainz says the impact and influence of the South in the overall story can’t be denied.
“If we dive in a little deeper, we’ll realize that the South has had a real hold on it for the last 20 (years), with Houston acts, New Orleans acts, Florida acts, Georgia acts, the Carolinas—you name it,” he said. “Whoever telling the story is going to make the story sound beneficial to (them).”
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