“For every Jay-Z, hip-hop needs a 2 Chainz”.
“I’m The Type Of n*gga cop a Rollie, cop a Benz, cop a tooly. Then wear it all to church n*gga Hallelujah!” – A boastful introduction by 2 Chainz on the opening track “Yuck” featuring Lil Wayne.
On a conceptual level, 2 Chainz raps about trapping, beef, the come-up, h*es, balling, and tricking on his main girl; subjects relatable to the Black American male lifestyle. He infuses his swag and charm over typical southern trill-trap beats in perfect harmony. And although critics may complain about the simplicity of his lyrics, in response I say: “For every Jay-Z, hip-hop needs a 2 Chainz”. See, this is the type of album you just sit back, sing along to the catchy hooks and enjoy. You don’t want to ride around listening to a history lesson, decoding lyrics, or sad songs all day. Sometimes you just want to chill, bounce, and laugh to some witty punch-lines.
The wordplay exhibited on this album is up for debate. His rhymes are not from the most articulate shelf, but his similes and comparisons of his past and present are strung together in a way that if you can appreciate him for telling it like it is, he’ll break it down in its simplest form for you. And depending on the vibe of the track he’s trying to present, he’ll slow down and speed up his flow to keep you entertained.
Researching into 2 Chainz’ history put this album into perspective. He’s from the Dirty South where he played college basketball but didn’t make it into the league. After college, because of few job opportunities, he started a rap group with his boy from high school, Dolla Boy; who was later incarcerated. He talks about how he came up in this game of life. “Started out with a OZ, End up riding 4 deep” – “Dope Peddler”. “Started from the trap, now I rap. No matter where I’m at I got crack” – “Crack”. His simple lyrics tell a deep story of the trials of an intelligent young black man in America with no resources and rather limited opportunities. He goes on to paint a beautiful believable picture of how much he’s balling now, how hot his girls are, and then puts all that into contrast with the grimy street life he was once all about.
Without a doubt, you have to give him credit for his meteoric rise to being a top draft pick for many of the major releases this year for a feature. He reinvented himself and won. (If you’ve followed his come-up you’ll know that he used to go by the name Tity Boi.) And in doing so, he plays into the hands of the commercial music fan by churning out club bangers and strip club joints. His debut contribution is a flawlessly swag-induced symphonic creation, and perhaps that says more about the listener than it does about him.
The beats however are another disappointment; and will leave you expecting more from “Based On A T.R.U. Story”. Although the sound is edgier to the tracks he features on, it’s questionable as to whether or not it lives up to the hype. They say the best rappers kill the wackest beats though. Fact OR Fiction?
2 Chainz also recruited a winning side of industry heavy-weights to collaborate with, cementing names like Lil Wayne, Scarface, John Legend, Drake, Kanye West, The-Dream, Nicki Minaj, and Chris Brown, amongst others, to this album. You can’t fault him on this move. Tracks like “No Lie” featuring Drake that went platinum in the U.S., continues to climb the charts, and endures high rotation week after week on radio stations around the world. “Birthday Song” featuring Kanye West will go hard in the club when the bass is turnt up; if you’re feeling ratchet, whether it’s your birthday or not. Not forgetting The-Dream who does what he does vocally on “Extremely Blessed”, allowing 2 Chainz to slow down his raps for the ladies on some “I think you’re special” kind of tip. And then there’s “I Luv Dem Strippers” – imagine a futuristic beat. And a strip pole. Got it? GOOD!
2 Chainz reconnects with his homie Dolla Boy on “Stop Me Now”, rapping: “If I ever fall off, I’ll be hopping back. Got a bad b*tch with me told her ‘hop in back”. Mike Posner does the hook on “In Town” every bit of justice with his tone and seductive lyrics and 2 Chainz doesn’t hold back on the sexual raps either. “Heard you like to squirt, I might lick it up.” Scarface and John Legend feature on “Ghetto Dreams”; one of the album highlights. And “Countdown” featuring Chris Brown is an impressive Bonus track. Ending off 66 minutes of grimy Southern beats, the grimiest of them all is “Riot”, which makes you want to do one thing and one thing only, wave your durag and scream “2 CHAIIIIIINNNNNZZZZZ!”
All in all, this is a colourful addition to your Hip Hop collection. One I wouldn’t mind bumping in a coupe the colour of Mayonnaise.
Written by Ozzy (@OzzyStarDust)