It’s safe to assume that not many were all that ecstatic when Soulja Boy and Bow Wow announced their new project together, the mixtape Ignorant Shit. The Internet-era rappers are long past their prime—in fact, they’re barely even relevant anymore. Bow Wow announced his retirement from the rap game as recently as a couple months ago. The two rappers did collaborate once before, on the 2008 single “Marco Polo,” but afterward they beefed with each other (Soulja memorably challenged Bow Wow to a Lamborghini drag-race). All told, Ignorant Shit may just be the most low-stakes release of 2016—which also could be the reason it’s so impressive. The title track here has Bow Wow express what his audience must be feeling directly: “Fans saying we were late/Had some growing up to do/Now me and Soulja straight.” The final two minutes of the song find Bow Wow and Soulja cut off the rapping entirely, and instead stunt on each other over who has the better Rari. Which is to say that Ignorant Shit delivers on its titular promise: two give-no-fucks rappers being unabashedly apolitical, and paying no mind to anything going on in the modern rap landscape.
Both feel so comfortable in their swagger that every line becomes riveting.
Call it a victory lap of laziness: On “Ric Flair,” a usually tired sample from the iconic wrestler (“I can’t help it!”) becomes as an endearingly giddy gesture of appreciation for the man’s grand showmanship. “Louis Vuitton” is another overzealous tribute, with Bow Wow pitching himself to the fashion house: “I’ve been rocking Louis so long, I think I deserve an endorsement.” Both rappers feel so comfortable in their swagger that every line becomes riveting; we hang on one incredible boast of wealth until a new one comes in to take over from the last. Whether it’s flooding a club with bills on “Fucking Up a Check” or the “boatloads” of money on the tape’s spacey intro, Ignorant Shit finds these two flexing in the best way they know: by rapping their asses off about expensive shit. That’s an ethos only interrupted by the London on da Track-produced “Soulja Got Me Leanin’,” on which Bow Wow recounts his horrifying experiences with promethazine, still gliding effortlessly over the beat. Soulja croons about his unrepentant addiction to the substance, in the process creating a more nightmarish landscape of dependency than anything even Future has come up with. This darker subject matter could hint at bigger and bolder things to come for Bow Wow and Soulja. But for now, the two rappers aren’t concerned with fame—they’re just about being rich.