Your eyes, as the old saying goes, give you away. A cursory glance at the striking, starkly beautiful cover of 2 Chainz’s (@hairweavekiller) new album, ColleGrove, seems to reveal a photo of the rapper. Look a little closer, however. The face is 2 Chainz’s, but the tattoos — notably, the command to “Fear God” etched in cursive over the delicate, paper-thin skin of the eyelids — are all Lil Wayne.
“When it hit me, I thought it was the dopest idea in the world!” 2 Chainz says, his voice rising with excitement. “I told a few people and was like, ‘That’s not lame, right, if I put his tats on my face?’ If you notice, the album cover doesn’t have the title on it. I thought that would just say everything.”
The cover, shot by Jonathan Mannion (@jonathanmannion), does just that. Though the album is the first full-length collaborative project of 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne (@liltunechi), it brings their relationship, which reaches back almost 15 years, full circle. In 2007, when 2 Chainz was known as Tity Boi and half of the group Playaz Circle, Wayne memorably appeared on and boosted the profile of their debut single, “Duffle Bag Boy.”
“Wayne is my brother, my friend, I got him on speed dial. I have to slap myself to realize that sometimes. So many things that took place in ‘07 and ’08 have really changed my family’s life. He’s one of the main reasons why I’m in the game,” he says. “It’s rare to get that kind of friendship out of your peers in this rap game today.”
It’s also rare to get two stars of 2 Chainz and Wayne’s magnitude physically together for a photo shoot, so Jonathan had to improvise a little. “I set up a portable studio behind [Wayne’s] trailer on the set of ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.’ With 2 Chainz, I shot him about two weeks before that, in a studio in Los Angeles,” he says. “It was me and a retoucher. I was like, it really has to look like these tattoos sink into his face as if they’re his own.”
The title ColleGrove is a nod to the two rapper’s humble beginnings — 2 Chainz’s College Park, Georgia, and Wayne’s Hollygrove neighborhood in New Orleans. It’s a bond, 2 Chainz says, that brings them together even more deeply than simply being Southerners.
“That’s ghetto to ghetto. That’s the common denominator,” he says. “I feel like everybody that comes from a certain area and reaches a certain goal has that little butterfly tingle in your stomach that, you know, we made it.”
Beyond that, he says, the album is about paying respect to one of his favorite rappers. It’s often endearing to witness adult male friendship, but hearing a famous rapper wax poetic about another is even more charming.
“Wayne actually moved the culture. I just felt like that had to be acknowledged. I just felt it was a cool thing for me to do,” he says. “We have a living legend on our hands. We should always try to give somebody their roses while they can smell them. It’s too late at the funeral.”
Ashton: You were frantically throwing things into a suitcase, unable to comprehend what was happening. You had to get out of the house, and see your Father. Your Mum had called you in near hysterics telling you that your Father had fallen ill, and that you should come and see him. You were terrified that this would be it, that this was the day you would loose your Dad. So after some arranging with your Mum, you would stay with her, helping her out, and most of all, spending it with your Dad, that is, if he made it through the night. You quickly grabbed a piece of paper, and a pen, leaning against the counter with shaky hands as you wrote Ashton a note. I am so sorry baby, I have to go. I don’t know when I’ll be back, I’m sorry. Love, (Y/N). Your hands were shaking so badly your writing was almost illegible, as you put it under his mug, and left without a second glance. You would call him when you got home and to the hospital to let him know what was happening, but right now, you needed your Dad.
Ashton came home a little later that night, exhausted from a night of working with the boys, to find the note stuck under his mug. He read it, and reread it quickly, before running to your bedroom. Clothes were strewn around the room, your suitcase gone, as his heart dropped to his feet. “No, no, no.” He said, and thought back to everything. He thought that your relationship had been going great, if not amazing. You two were the happiest you had ever been, and he didn’t understand why you would just get up and leave him like this, especially without an explanation. He sat on the edge of the bed, the note clutched in his hands and he pulled out his phone that he hadn’t checked all day. There were no messages, no missed calls, no voicemails. He was at a loss, his voice unable to comprehend any words. He looked around the room in defeat, wondering if it was his fault, if you had been hiding something for so long and now was your opportunity to leave unnoticed. He felt tears well up in his eyes as he imagined a life without you, lying down and curling up into a tight ball. He wasn’t embarrassed to cry right now, he had just lost something so great from his life, and he had no other way to express it. He must have fallen asleep because he woke up to your ringtone echoing around the room, and in his hazy state, he searched recklessly for his phone. After hitting the talk button, he pressed the phone to his face so quickly, it made a slap noise. “Hello?” He said, and he could hear the pathetic tone to his voice. “Ash,” You breathed out, staring at your Father, who was unconscious in the bed. “Where are you? Why did you leave?” He said, sitting up, and frantically waiting for your voice to break his thoughts. “I’m at the hospital, its Dad, Ash. Its not looking so good.” You said as fresh tears worked their way into your eyes. “Wait, what happened?” He said, as you explained the situation to him. “I thought you had left forever (Y/N).” He said after you had told him. “Why would I do that? I should have left a better note, I was so scared though, and so frantic. Can you come down? I-I can’t do this alone.” You said staring at the heart monitor. “Of course, I’ll leave now.” He said standing up and grabbing a duffle bag. “I love you (Y/N), I’ll be there soon.” He said, as you returned the statement. When he hung up he couldn’t help but breath a breathe of relief. It was awful - the circumstance - but for a fleeting moment he had thought that you had really left. As he texted the boys and climbed into the car, he began to drive, really wondering how he would function without you, and that was something he never wanted to experience.
Calum: Calum was sitting at home, waiting for you to get back from work. You had called saying it was going to be another late night, so he would sit up and wait for you. You said you would be home around ten, but now it was a bit after eleven, and after numerous calls that were left unanswered, he had decided to call all of the boys, and ask if they had heard from you from whatever reason. They had said they hadn’t, and for some reason that made him even more scared. He was pacing the living room, clutching his cell in his hand as he stared at the clock. Finally, he felt his phone vibrate and begin to ring. “Hello?” He answered, his heart pounding. “Hello, is this Mr. Hood?” The strange voice asked. “Yes it is,” He said a little unsure. “I’m Officer Smith, and I’m calling in regards to (Y/N). She was in an accident, and has been airlifted to the nearest hospital. You were her first contact, and listed as her emergency contact. I am calling you to notify that she is in intensive care, and that I recommend you go and see her.” He said, his voice even. Calum could tell that he had made phone calls like these before, and that he was almost unfazed. His heart plummeted to the floor, and back up to his throat, blocking his airway. “Yes, okay. Thank you.” He said, after getting information on your location. As he hung up he put his fist to his mouth and took a deep breath. It was if his world was crashing down around him, smothering him within seconds, and he realized he was gasping for air from the pain in his chest. He shook his head, now wasn’t the time to panic. (Y/N) needed him, so with a mechanical calm he began to pack, throwing a few things in a duffle bag, and ringing the boys to let them know. In record time Calum had made it to the hospital that the officer had told him that you were in. He found himself jogging to the front desk, panting as your name tumbled from his lips, the receptionist having dealt with this before. “Take a deep breath dear. Whats her name?” She asked him. “(Y/N).” He said, his heart hammering as he realized he was so close to seeing you. She looked through some files, before nodding and asking him some information about himself. “Follow me dear. I will warn you, she is in really bad shape.” She said, a sad look crossing her face. His heart was racing in his chest, his hands shaking, and a nervous sweat beading along his chilled skin. Following the woman down the sterile, white hallways he couldn’t help but notice the smell of cleanness, and death. Finally reaching your room, he couldn’t help the pained whimper that escaped his lips at the sight of you. You were lying in the bed, so small and fragile, with so many tubes sticking out from you, so many machines around you helping you with numerous things. When he got closer he noticed the amount of cuts and bruises along your skin, the bandage around you head, and the gauze along your arm. “She has had serious head damage, internal bleeding, and a fractured leg, and three broken ribs. The other truck hit her pretty hard.” He nodded his head, collapsing into the chair, allowing the tears to fall freely. “When will she wake up?” He said softly, grabbing your hand and holding it gingerly. “We don’t know. She’s in a coma now, it could be hours, it could be days. we don’t know.” She said patting him on the shoulder. “Are you planning on staying the night?” She asked. Calum nodded his head, looking up at her. “She will wake up right?” He said. The woman’s face changed again, to a look of sheer sympathy. “We can only hope dear. The amount of blood and trauma has caused a lot of damage, we did everything we could. Only time will tell love.” She said, leaving and returning shortly with some blankets and a pillow.
The next few days were the absolute worst. Calum didn’t leave your side, all recording, touring, and promotions halted until there was an answer. The boys came to visit everyday, waiting with him in the eerie silence of your room. There were flowers from co-workers and friends, your parents coming and staying at a hotel. Calum refused to leave though, as he held your hand and watched the monitor that regulated your heartbeat. There were a few times were your heart would accelerate, and the doctors would come rushing in, shocking you to life with the paddles, and every time Calum would begin to cry, wondering if this was it. The boys would hold him, as he sobbed relentlessly as your body convulsed on the table, until the sound of your normal heartbeat filled the room again. But finally, after eight days of being in a coma, your eyes fluttered, and there was movement from your limp body, something that relieved the doctors immensely. They said it was a good sign, but there was still the possibility of more complications. However, on the tenth day, you woke up. Your bleary eyes cracked open, your gravelly voice panic stricken. Before Calum could say anything to you, the doctors rushed in, checking everything about you. When you had calmed down, and there was time to talk that was when Calum broke down, sobbing as he clutched your hand. “I thought you were gone forever.” He said between hiccups. “I’m so sorry Calum” You whispered, lying on the bed. The pain was too much for you to move significantly, but you squeezed his hand gently. “Don’t be sorry, it wasn’t your fault. I’m just so thankful that you woke up, I can’t imagine my life without you, and that was too close.” He said, smiling through the tears. “You’re okay, and awake. That’s all that matters.” He said, putting his forehead against your hand, relishing the feeling of a healthy pulse, and some warmth returning to your skin.
Luke: It was rare that Luke was bold with strangers. He was reserved around most people, not being rude, but he kept a lot to himself. He was polite to the general public and the fans, but when he met certain people he became intrigued. It was something that he questioned, but at the same time adored about himself. He thought he had a good judge of character that way. He had that feeling with all of the boys, and now look where they were. It was something that blew his mind on a day to day basis. He was doing things that they had only talked of in the garage when they practiced at his Mums place. Now their single was number two on American charts, and they were touring the world. He had met a few people that had become some of his closest friends, but there was one girl that he met that had captivated him, and he had the exact same reaction to her. You had met him on the streets, as you both hailed the same cab. It was something out a movie, and he couldn’t believe it. It was pouring out, the rain making for a dreary day, and you had no mind to walk seven blocks in this weather. The same cab came for both of you, but he had said that you both could take it. You were nervous, surely this was something out of some bad horror movie, but at this moment you couldn’t afford to be late, but you didn’t want to wait in the rain for another cab. He had introduced himself as Luke, and you had been flattered, he was cute after all. But then it dawned on you that he was out of 5 Seconds of Summer. You were amazed that you were sharing a cab with the Luke Hemmings but you had kept your cool, and chatted the entire way. He was so easy to talk to, despite what the media said about him. You had smiled at him, flirting, as he flirted back with you. Your stop came up before his, and you smiled as you paid the cab driver, before hopping out. “Can I get your number?” Luke asked, smiling at you. “If we see each other again, I’ll be sure to give it to you. I have a business meeting I can’t be late for, I’m sorry.” You said, flashing him a smile and trying to ignore the look of defeat on his face. You kicked yourself for your stupid move, it would have taken you five seconds to rattle off your number, but no, you had to be so stupid and say you had to run.
Luke definitely thought you had left forever, that he would never see you again. It was a big city, with thousands upon thousands of people swarming around with their daily business. He understood that you were in a rush, he could tell from the way you checked your watch on your wrist, and the way you tapped your foot nervously on the floor, but took the time to talk with him as if you were an old friend. He was currently getting a drink from a small coffee shop, when he saw you making your coffee at the little stand. His heart fluttered in his chest, as he took you in. You were taller than he gave you credit for, and that was with heels. You wore a simple pencil skirt and a nice blouse, your long legs travelling for what seemed for miles before they were capped off with a pair of heels. Your hair hung down around your shoulders, your concentration on your coffee, and nothing else. He put his shoulders back, and took a breath, leaving his spot in line and walking up to you. “Well, you said if I saw you again I could get your number.” Luke said leaning against the counter. You jumped, clearly startled, before your face registered who it was. You broke out in a wonderful smile, displaying your pearly whites. You laughed a little shaking your head. “I definitely thought I would not see you again.” You said giggling. “Did you not want to see me again?” Luke said, raising an eyebrow. “No! I really did. I was kicking myself for running away like that. It was really rude, and quite frankly it would have taken five seconds.” You said a little ashamed. “You were clearly in a rush, if you don’t mind me asking what was it for?” He said. You laughed a little. “An internship with a big business company. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it would open a lot of doors for me. I ended up getting it too.” You said smiling. “I wouldn’t normally dress this businesslike.” You said laughing as you looked down at your formal attire. “Congratulations! Well, I guess we were supposed to meet again. If you have time now, how about your number?” He said, biting his lip. “I would be more than pleased.” You said, grabbing a napkin and a pen from your blouse pocket and scribbling your numbers onto it. “Are you just getting off?” He said, tucking the napkin into his pocket. “Yeah,” You said smiling at him and sipping your coffee. “Want to go out for an early dinner?” He said. “You’re absolutely stunning, you don’t need to change.” He said making you smile and blush. “I would love to,” You said throwing your stir stick away and putting a lid on your coffee. You couldn’t believe your luck, and neither could Luke, because you both thought you would never see each other again, but fate had other plans.
Michael: “I can’t believe you!” You yelled at Michael, throwing your hands up in frustration and yelling, walking away from him. “Would you stop for just a second and hear me out?” Michael said from the other room. You stood still, your body shaking with adrenaline as you turned to face him. “I’m sorry,” He began. “I was stupid, and I really shouldn’t have said that.” You scoffed. “Telling the paps that I was weighing you down really makes me feel fantastic Michael.” You said shaking your head. “But is that true? Am I just slowing you down? Weighing you down, not allowing you to have fun with the boys anymore? Because Michael, if thats how you feel than we should really just end this now. So you can have fun right?” You said shifting your weight. You knew you sounded like a bitch, but quite frankly you wanted to know. “Don’t say that.” He said clearly growing frustrated. “Then why would you say that?” You yelled back equally as frustrated. “I don’t know (Y/N)! I had a bit much to drink, ask the lads!” He said scratching the back of his neck. “That doesn’t make it better. Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘drunk words are sober thoughts’ Michael? Thats what this sounds like. You know what? I need to go,” You said needing to take a step back. “Where?” Michael said, his voice a little desperate. “Away from here.” You said needing to cool off. After slipping on your shoes and grabbing you keys you turned to face Michael when he spoke. “When will you be back?” He said, upset. “I don’t know.” You said leaving, slamming the door behind you. You were pissed, actually, pissed wasn’t the right word to describe what you were feeling right now. You felt betrayed, you felt humiliated, but most of all you felt hurt that he would say that. Right now, you needed to breath, think some stuff over, and take a bit to reevaluate some things in your life.
Michael threw his phone down in sheer frustration. He had tried calling you numerous times, leaving voicemail after voicemails, sending you texts but none of which you replied to. He was so angry with himself that he had no idea what to do. He shouldn’t have said that, he had to right, and he certainly didn’t feel that way about you. It had slipped, he meant it as a joke, and he was drunk but you were right, he had no right saying that regardless. He sat down on the couch wondering if you were coming home at all. You were so quiet there, and he knew that when you were that quiet something was really wrong. It scared him, because he knew this time he had really fucked up. What if this was it? The night you didn’t come home and he had fucked something up that was so great. He couldn’t bear the thought, instead he collapsed onto the pillows. Even the pillows had your perfume on them, and he yelled in frustration, unsure of what to do with himself. He closed his eyes, trying to calm himself down, but instead, he fell into a restless sleep, with dreams of you leaving him for another man flitting through his mind, tormenting and torturing him. You woke up that morning in the backseat of your car. You had fallen asleep in the country, something you hadn’t done since you were young and you got into a fight with your parents. You sat up, your back incredibly sore from the position that you found yourself in, but you felt better. You had thought some stuff out, and you were ready to tackle this as an adult with some reasonable things in mind. You drove home, to find Michael sprawled out on the couch, tear stains on his cheeks, the pillows thrown around the room. You walked by him, going to freshen up, but he had woken up at the sound of you home. “You came home.” He said, his voice quiet, but relieved. “Of course I did, why wouldn’t I?” You said leaning against the doorframe. “I thought you had left forever. Before you say anything, I am so sorry. I am such a dick for saying that, and had no right saying anything. I am going to do everything in my power to make this right, and I never wanted to hurt you.” He ended in a huff. “No, I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did last night. That was really immature, it just really hurt. I’m sorry too.” You said looking at the floor. “I guess we’re both idiots eh?” He said laughing a bit. “Speak for yourself Clifford,” You said laughing along with him. “I don’t know what I would do without you, you know that?” You said, walking towards him, and hugging him around his torso. “I thought a lot last night, and I really don’t know what I would do without you. You’re the best thing thats ever happened to me,” He said kissing the crown of your head. You smiled into the hug, relishing the feel of his embrace, and the feeling of being wanted. “I love you,” You said into his chest. “I love you too.” He said, kissing your head again.
An ode to the Trap Rap we’ve all grown to love. Drug references and 808s.
1. Lil Reese feat. Fredo Santana and Lil Durk - Wassup
2. Gucci Mane feat. Yo Gotti - Bricks
3. Gucci Mane - Pillz(Is You Rollin)
4. OJ Da Juiceman feat. Gucci Mane - Make The Trap Aye
5. Waka Flocka feat Gucci Mane - Hard In The Paint(remix)
6. Waka Flocka feat. Diddy and Rick Ross - Oh Lets Do It (remix)
7. Waka Flocka - Bussin At Em
8. Yo Gotti - Standin In The Kitchen
9. Yo Gotti feat. Young Jeezy and T.I. - I Got That Sack(remix)
10. Rick Ross feat Triple Cs - Walking On Water
11. Rick Ross - Money Maker
12. Rick Ross feat. Triple Cs - White Sand II
13. Gunplay - Bogota
14. Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross and Yo Gotti - Don’t Panic
15. Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross - Work
16. Pusha T - Cook It Down
17. Pusha T - Pies
18. Pusha T feat. Wale - Only You Can Tell
19. Pusha T feat. Rick Ross - Millions
20. Lil Wayne feat Birdman - Brown Paper Bag
21. Birdman feat. Lil Wayne - 1st Key
22. Playas Circle feat. Lil Wayne - Duffle Bag Boys
23. 2 Chainz feat. J Hard - Addicted To The Rubberbands
24. 2 Chainz feat Yo Gotti, Young Jeezy and Birdman - Slangin Birds
25. 2 Chainz feat T.I. - Spend It
26. Future feat. T.I. - Magic
27. T.I. - Rubberband Man
28. T.I. - 24s
29. Young Jeezy - J.E.E.Z.Y.
30. Young Jeezy feat. Jay Z - Go Crazy
31. Young Jeezy - Get Your Mind Right
32. Young Jeezy feat. Gucci Mane - Trap Or Die 2
33. Migos - Bando
34. Migos - Hannah Montana
35. Fredo Santana feat. Gino Marley - My Plug
36. Lil Reese feat. Lil Durk and Fredo Santana - Beef