In May we did a profile on 2 Chainz and his come up on the mixtape circuit, which hopefully dispelled the idea that he was just an overnight success. If anything 2 Chainz will be held up as proof that even though your in your mid-30s, he’s 36, you can still make to to the top of the rap charts. I should say if you’re 30 and just starting rapping, you probably wont make it. 2 Chainz story is more about persistence for years, as in a decade in the game, before anyone took notice. Sure he had “near hits” such as as part of the duo Playaz Circle with the Lil Wayne assisted “Duffle Bag Boy” which did hit #2 on the rap chart and #15 on the US chart in 2007. The thing was nobody cared about Playaz Circle, that song was all about Wayne as that was at the height of Weezy mania.
Fast forward to last year, 2 Chainz released another mixtape T.R.U. Realigion featuring the single “Spend it”. Listeners new to 2 Chainz weren’t sure what to make of this song popping up all over radio. Was it a Future song? Was it a person with down syndrome rapping? Who was this 2 Chainz character? Judging by his name alone, it seemed like he was another fly-by-night Southern rapper, here today gone tomorrow (Hi Young C!). But something was different about 2 Chainz in that just of “Spend It” people began to download his mixtape. At the same time, as if the whole hip hop community had mutually agreed, 2 Chainz began appearing on a slew of guest appearances most notably Mercy and Beez in tha Trap. Kanye’s co-sign (his company Donda helped design the awesome cover art for Based on a T.R.U. Story) along with the people that had been listening to Tity Boy (2 Chainz former rap name) all combined to create a group of taste makers and influencers that decided, “2 Chainz got next”.
So does his album deliver? Is it the #albumoftheyear as @2Chainz has been tweeting it to be?
Best songs: Yuck!, Crack, No Lie, I’m Diffrent, I Luv Dem Strippers, Wut We Doin, Riot (Bonus)
1. Yuck! featuring Lil Wayne (Produced by StreetRunner, Matthew Burnett)
How can you not like this song? I’ve been pretty much playing it everyday for the last 2 weeks. It nicely encompasses everything good about 2 Chainz all while putting him in a slightly more serious light, even though on one rhyme he says, “turn the camel toe into casserole”. When I first heard it I thought “oh my God, 2 Chainz has made a classic album”, unfortunately the rest of the album is nowhere near as good as the “intro”. So don’t get your hopes up. Interestingly, Lil Wayne, who is usually ferocious on guest appearances could have (and should have) been cut as he adds nothing to the song.
2. Crack (Produced by Southside)
Fans of 2 Chainz early material will appreciate this record as it’s an update on his catchy, entertaining, trap sound. It’s also fun as hell to turn up in the car and do Lil B’s cooking dance.
3. Dope Peddler (Produced by Bangladesh)
You have to be really drunk to enjoy this song because the beat is all over the place.
4. No Lie (Produced by Mike Will, Marz)
When I first heard this I didn’t like it. It didn’t sound like a 2 Chainz record. It sounded like a Drake record on a Dj Khaled album. And it still does sans Khaled screaming whatever catch phrase he’s screaming at the moment, “WE THE UNIVERSE, WE UNIVERSAL”.
5. Birthday Song featuring Kanye West (Produced by Sonny Digital, Kanye West)
As a huge fan of Kanye, this song is more about Kanye working with 2 Chainz than a 2 Chainz song featuring Kanye. When I first heard 2 Chainz was working with Kanye my first thought was Kanye’s learning how to make trap music, so expect his next album to incorporate the trap sound in some way. At the same time, 2 Chainz looks like he’s learned how to dress better.
Best line: “Last birthday she got you a new sweater, put it on give her a kiss and tell her ‘Do better’.”
6. I’m Diffrent (Produced by Dj Mustard)
Dj Mustard whose best known for Tyga’s Rack City channels some of that old school Bay bounce here. What I like about this song is that the beat is so old sounding and simple and yet 2 Chainz makes it fun.
Best line: “Ass so big I told her look back at it”.
7. Extremely Blessed featuring The Dream (Produced by The Dream)
Skip this song. Actually completely delete it.
8. I Luve Dem Strippers featuring Nicki Minaj (Produced by YoungStarr Beatz, Marvel Hitz, Megatron Holdings)
Okay awesome back to 2 Chainz’s specialty degrading women. Oh and look who shows up, it’s Nicki Minaj.I can just imagine throwing thousands of ones at the back of some well endowed female in a gentlemen’s club in Atlanta, even though I can’t afford to do that and I’ve never been to the A.
9. Stop Me Now featuring Dolla Boy (Produced by Kenoe, Got Koke)
Though different in subject matter, this is the closest we get to the phenomenal K.O. from T.R.U. Realigion with Big Sean.
10. Money Machine (Produced by Drumma Boy)
The problem that I found with 2 Chainz last mixtape was that it got redundant. This song pretty much represents all the redundant qualities of a 2 Chainz song – see how it can get boring fast?
11. In Town featuring Mike Posner (Produced by Mike Posner, Lil’ Ronnie)
Don’t even bother with this. But just so you know “no autotune was used in the making of this recording”.
12. Ghetto Dreams featuring Scarface & John Legend (Produced by Carlos “6 July” Broady)>
This is the only song with any substance, which doesn’t really matter, since I don’t listen to a rapper formally known as Tity Boy for substance.
13. Wut We Doin? featuring Cap1 (Produced by Mike Will)
What’s a 2 Chainz project without a Cap1 feature? Right. Cap1 shows up on this typical 2 Chainz joint produced by, yup you guessed it, Mike Will Made Dat.
Best line: “I don’t like her if she got a fro between her legs”.
For some reason I expected more from a 2 Chainz album. At the very least 2 Chainz could have put more emphasis on how he sequenced the album, because really it just seems like a bunch of songs haphazardly thrown together. The name of the album Based on a T.R.U. Story doesn’t even come into play other than to play off his last mixtape T.R.U. Realigion. We learn nothing of substance about 2 Chainz’s life and are left feeling any connection to him.
Certainly, 2 Chainz excels by creating a fun album which puts him leagues above the competition but it’s not as fun as his last mixtape which stayed truer to his trap sound. Songs with Mike Posner and Chris Brown (on the bonus track “Countdown) just make me barf in my mouth and make me question 2 Chainz’s album making ability. I would have thought that with all the hype surrounding the album and particularly with Kanye’s implied involvement, 2 Chainz would be the guy to reinvent the trap sound (Lord knows it’s overdue for a tuneup).