Day 9: "Smell Like Money" – 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, COLLEGROVE, 2016
What is music supposed to be about? A lot of people will tell you a lot of different things, but of course there's no answer. It can be about anything. Still, one version of music that will always make me happy is 2 Chainz just yelling wild shit. There's a time for Joan Baez or whatever, but there is also a hell of a time for 2 Chainz to yell, "I got every gun except a missile!" I mean, pick your own moment here. But 2 Chainz rapping about missiles is mine.
Considering the way that the internet seems only to have amplified rap fans' enthusiasm for imagining fantasy collaborations—the stores of digital ink to be spilled on a potential Kanye/Drake album are apparently endless—you'd think that the pairing would have generated more excitement. But no matter; COLLEGROVE is something that we will eventually look back on and be happy it exists—a low stakes partnership between perhaps the two most entertaining rappers of their generation having fun with each other. You can say Wayne fell off all you want, but look at it this way: When was the last time you heard a rapper run through a series of rhymes like this:
I just blew my mind out
But still I'm maintaining
Real gangsta shit it get dangerous
I'm talking money and guns, two languages
I throw niggas from off of the plane I'm in
Oh my god it's raining men
Said the weatherman to the anchorman
I sent hella cash to the bank I'm with
What you do it for if it ain't for this?
I watch my steps so much
I'm starting to feel like my ankles wrists
It goes on, but oh my godddddd my dude with the ankles/wrist line that traces all the way back through that whole sequence of three-syllable rhymes! Wow. There's a real pleasure to hearing Wayne do the Rick Ross thing to perfection and rap these grandiose Mafioso bars about gangster shit for just a second over this lush, luxurious beat. But, naturally, his version quickly turns way weirder than anything Ross would do, pivoting to an image of men raining from the sky and two very confused guys in the newsroom trying to explain it. Sure, it's about money—"my BFF is Benjamin Franklin," Wayne quips inspirationally earlier on in the song—but listening to these raps it's hard not to feel it's about a different source of wealth: the boundless joy of bending language to your will. Wayne can still get giddy piecing together such a wild set of images and rhymes. Read another way, it's still a valid question: "what you do it for if it ain't for this?"
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