Brad Beatson is the flyest person on a boat ride.
You’ve made up your mind on 2 Chainz by now. You either love him for his hilariously entertaining and catchy songs, or you’re a buzzkill. If you happen to be a buzzkill, it’s okay, I used to be right there with you. Now I’m happily aboard the Tity Train.
Corroborating the typical Internet-rap fan trajectory, I once turnt up my nose at beats that didn’t sound like Dilla and bars that didn’t sting like Elzhi’s. If it was a song invoking hoes or drug dealing or whatever my naive mind thought the song was about, I just wasn’t going to listen to it. When I heard of the track “Birthday Song,” or rather when I heard “All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe” drunkenly chanted in the streets, I scoffed and wrote it off as garbage. I wasn’t having any fun. I was being a buzzkill.
Enjoying 2 Chainz depends largely on your state of mind. The best comparison is heading to the movies in the summertime to go see a blockbuster. You know you’re probably not going to see the best picture winner, but you’re sure as hell going to be entertained. You set the bar a little bit lower and that allows you to be pleasantly surprised. When I started listening to Based on a TRU Story II: #METIME, I did exactly that. By the end of the first song I had a huge smile on my face, because:
“My wrist deserve a shout-out, I’m like ‘What up, wrist?’
My stove deserve a shout-out, I’m like ‘What up, stove?’”
He might not be talking about a kitchen stove (though he loves to cook), but this is what I imagined when I heard the line for the first time. And this is just 2 Chainz warming up over some of the finest producers making music today. In the first four songs we’re treated to two beats from Mike WiLL Made It, the second of which, “Where U Been,” has 2 Chainz thinking presidential:
“White cup, white hat, laying on a white couch
Got that presidential and a residential white house”
Before Diplo unleashes his Single Word Snapback Sound on “Netflix,” 2 Chainz treats us to “Used 2,” a song about filming himself having sex with a girl and putting it on YouTube. The very next song is “Netflix” and is about filming himself having sex with a girl and PUTTING IT ON NETFLIX. Who else would make these two songs and arrange them this way, but a wonderfully absurd entertainer?
“Netflix” also features Fergie (?). Later he brings out Lloyd, Ma$e, and the ever in-tune T-Pain who joins Tity to make a surprisingly good storytelling song. Also joining the feature heavy album are some of the younger up-and-comers like IamSu! and Rich Homie Quan. RHQ has a natural rapport with 2 Chainz on “Extra” and hopefully marks the start of a long-lasting musical relationship. They both have a penchant for catchy songs and brand names. By this point in the album, so many designer names have been dropped that I wouldn’t be surprised if Macy’s gave them a float in the parade.
“Rich Homie, no new team, boy I’m a star like Macy’s”
No 2013 blockbuster would be complete without the ever-ubiquitous Pharrell and Drake, who appear on the albums two lead singles. “Feds Watching” is tolerable but one of the albums weaker tracks. While “I Do It” features Drake in bed with a girl thinking about what ‘Lil Wayne would say to her. It also features Drake being “Controlled” by 2 Chainz doing his best Mariano Rivera impression: “Have Drake sing a song just to get her pussy wet, then I take her to the crib, Man fuck that bitch right on the step.”
When the album ends, you want to stick around for the next showing. I’d previously criticized 2 Chainz for the simplicity of his raps, but here he says “Yeah I bear arms, I got something up my sleeves.” He’s effortless at this — showing he takes his words seriously, but not himself. For the last several years, he’s worked his ass off to entertain. As Slava pointed out, he and Juicy J are the two ratchetcheers and despite their relatively advanced ages, they’ve produced two of the year’s best big budget rap albums. 2 Chainz is making the best music of his career on his 36th birthday (today, in fact). If you want to have a great time, there are few better contemporary soundtracks. And hey, you might learn a few things too.