2 Chainz – “Rap or Go to The League” Album Review
2 Chainz shows serious evolution as an artist and rapper on his latest project “Rap or Go to The League,” released March 1st. Chainz’ lyricism is sharp, his flow is impeccable, and his storytelling is vivid. Combine this with an impressive ear for production and the traditional 2 Chainz anthems and it produces a stellar fifth studio album for the hip-hop veteran.
The rapper, formerly known as "Tity Boi," has began to delve into more socially-conscious raps and he showcases this more mature sound immediately, as the intro “Forgiven” concludes with a powerful open word poem about the way black men are viewed in America.
Later, Deuce uses his traditional anthemic hit-making style to create a high energy head nod inducing track with “NCAA,” which is critical of the establishment. Chainz raps, “Let me get this straight, if I drop 40 today/ You don't care if I eat, you don't care if I ate /They say, ‘You better have a good grade like a mixed baby hair’/They say, ‘We goin' to the tournament, we gonna need you there.’” These lyrics show a new focus on social issues and are consistent with the title of the album.
This maturity is becoming of a hip-hop elder statesman and he showcases how long he’s been in the game by name-dropping while telling street tales from his younger life on “Statue of Limitations.” He also delivers the harsh realities of this life when he raps about having to discuss his past life on the chorus of “I Said Me.” Explaining that he had to tell his daughter that he was a drug dealer when she asks what one was.
“Rap or Go to The League” is a star-studded affair containing features from Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Travis Scott and more. The Lamar-assisted “Momma I Hit a Lick” contains a magnificently-showcased vocal versatility as Kendrick switches flows and deliveries effortlessly, further solidifying his spot as the greatest rapper alive.
On the most pop-friendly song, “Rule The World,” Deuce teams up with Ariana Grande in what seems like an olive branch for her using his flow on “7 Rings.” The collaboration is a smooth track which features Grande’s vocals over the chorus singing, “I realized I can rule the world,” which seems like the new mindset and focus that 2 Chainz seems dedicated to, based on the content of this project.
On the production side Chainz enlist some star power with the production lineup consisting of Pharrell Williams, 9th Wonder, Buddah Blessed, Mike Dean, WondaGurl and more. This collection of producers creates a diverse soundscape that highlights some of 2 Chainz best skills.
On “Money in The Way,” Buddah Blessed and Jab create a soulful track that can be best described as driving music due to its use of the sample and the smooth use of drums. “NCAA” features the most interesting production direction of the project as incorporates a guitar solo before going into the anthem-like song.
The pace of the album also slows down at the perfect points on the project, like on “Girl’s Best Friend," where Cardo and Dez Wright create a bouncy but smooth track that perfectly highlights 2 Chainz skills when constructing a more vocally-based chorus accented by Ty Dolla $ign.
“Rap or Go to The League” is an evolutionary showcase of an artist who seems more focus on legacy than the moment. When looking back at when 2 Chainz started, he is commercially successful. “Rap or Go to The League” will be the starting the point.
Reviewer’s Best Track: “Momma I Hit a Lick” & “NCAA”
Reviewer’s Worst Track: “Sam”
Jerome Taylor is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism