The trap star is a very polarizing figure. His fans and other mainstream music lovers will adore him. But the old hip hop heads who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s bark otherwise. Sometimes the barking is necessary, especially when rappers start believing their hype too much (Soulja Boy). But if a rapper with no particularly deep lyrics still likes to have fun and make other people like to have fun, why hate him? Waka Flocka couldn’t rap to save his own life but we love it when he gets dumb and loud. Similarly, 2 Chainz isn’t exactly the deep OutKast/Goodie Mob Southern type. He is more of the 2 Live Crew type who just likes to have fun.
And we have fun too (okay, “real” hip hop fans, you are excused). Why? Because it is big, dumb fun (“Car so big it could fit a stripper pole”). You won’t find any smart stuff but you will find plenty of punchlines to repeat. “I’m Different”: “Everything hot, skip lukewarm/ Tell shawty to bust it open, Uncle Luke on/ Got the present for the present and a gift wrapping/ I don’t feel good, but my trigger happy”. “In Town”: “Got the city on swole with my Louis bandana/ My car is sh*tting on n*ggas, I should ride with a Pamper”.
However, too often the man tries to overreach and step out of his familiar territory. It works once or twice in the beginning but after that, the efforts sound trite. And thus the album morphs from a potential 2 Chainz banger into another Def Jam F*ckin’ It Up joint. And the label strikes again by placing big name guests and hiring Mike Posner (of all people…) to sing some achingly annoying tunes (yes, “real” hip hop heads, now you can join in). Not only that but 2 Chainz seems to be taking himself too seriously. Maybe he might be able to out-rap other mainstream rappers but he can’t stand on his own two with Scarface no matter how good his punchlines are. Because even in the supposedly deep material, he doesn’t offer introspection; he offers punchlines.
2 Chainz is good at being 2 Chainz the big booty stripper-loving richass Atlanta native. But he might want to leave it at that. Right now, it seems like he wants to impress both sides, the fans and the critics. But sometimes it’s best to just stay in your own lane even if diversity is a healthy thing.
Favorite Tracks: “Dope Peddler”, “Birthday Song”, “Stop Me Now”, “Ghetto Dreams”