Notable about Lil Wayne and Rich the Kid’s collab on Trust Fund Babies is just how much fun they’re having here in a natural, impromptu kind of way.
The prospect of a collaborative effort from Lil Wayne and Rich the Kid is not a low-stakes project. Indeed, it would be far more accurate to call said release a no-stakes project: to be the least bit listenable, the collaboration would first of all have to be in on how ridiculous it would be for the two to team up. Trust Fund Babies, a recent mixtape by the duo, certainly lives up to that non-ambitious descriptor: it runs under half an hour, has one feature (YG on “Buzzin’”), had virtually zero press coverage upon release, and comfortably sounds like it was recorded over the span of a few days. The pairing’s origin story is equally unimpressive: they really like skateboarding together… and that’s essentially that! Somehow, Rich the Kid has been able to cultivate some long-lasting high-profile professional relationships (he was, in essence, the fourth member of Migos early on in their career), but they’re also the kind that highlight how much of an A&R middle-man the dude is instead of an artist with anything interesting to say. He’s made bold claims that Wayne was the initiator of this recorded collection, and perhaps that really is the long and short of it. Weezy has never been one to shy away from doing the plainly ridiculous, but Rich must be some really cool dude to kick it with, one worthy of bestowing an album’s worth of material to. The same questions were raised a year ago when he collaborated with NBA Youngboy, to which the exact same answer applies: they’re friends, that’s it.
Truth be told, that’s all the lore one needs in order to be properly primed for the occasion; it’s almost admirable how little context has been given for this most unnatural of musical unions. What’s important is that they’re having fun, or had fun recording at Wayne’s skatepark; more to the point, they at least sound like they’re having fun, in a natural, impromptu sort of way. Wayne will lead with some tongue-twisting chorus that he’ll breezily rattle off, making way for Rich to make some lame joke about his “big racks” (his favorite topic) for a few bars, passing it back to Wayne, then back to Rich, rinse, lather, and repeat. It’s an approach to craft that could generously be considered “relaxed.” As one would expect, this doesn’t result in the greatest material either has ever attached their name to — though that’s an admittedly low bar for Rich, a strong candidate for the least necessary character in hip-hop — but Wayne and his partner have an agreeable enough chemistry with one another, the kind that can comfortably keep a project of this scope afloat. To put it another way: Rich doesn’t get in the way of Wayne being great — which he is at least on “Headlock,” where he’s vocally traipsing around the track’s darkly orchestral production, going full-on stream of consciousness with his wordplay (“Moonwalk, lеt the juice talk/Got sticks, got racks, no pool balls”) — enough of the time for it to ever become much of an issue.
Published as part of Album Roundup — October 2021 | Part 1.