2 Chainz – B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Record Label: Def Jam
It's pretty hard to believe that 2 Chainz went from being one-half of a one-hit wonder hip-hop duo to one of the most prolific rappers in the game today. If you pay attention to the genre at all, chances are that you've heard 2 Chainz on a song that isn't his own more times than you can count. In addition to being literally everywhere, 2 Chainz also released his debut solo album in 2012, and although it was received lukewarm at best by critics, its singles "No Lie" and "Birthday Song" became staples in late-night party rap playlists everywhere. Despite his shortcomings in an album setting, 2 Chainz has always been an endearing character to watch, and a polarizing one at that. There are many people who hate the rapper, but there seems to be even more who can't get enough of his showy music.
Part of the man's charm comes from the inability to escape him; after all, the more you're exposed to something the more likely you'll grow to like it, and 2 Chainz has had perhaps the most exposure of any rap artist in the last year and a half. Beyond that, though, there's an enjoyment in listening to 2 Chainz rap because you never really know what he's going to say next. Yeah, the guy has lines that will make even the most lighthearted of rap listeners roll their eyes, but the guy spits at least a few lines that are solid gold in nearly every verse he does. He has an infectious personality and knows exactly where his lane is. B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME sees 2 Chainz staying right in his trap heavy party rap lane, refining his sound to make it function better for the duration of an album.
Lead single "Feds Watching" may be 2 Chainz's biggest accomplishment to date. On it, he links up with 2013's go-to feature artist and producer Pharrell for the flashiest song he's done, delivering some of the silliest lines imaginable ("I'm known to kick it like the captain of a soccer team") with such confidence you can't help but buy into every second of it. "Netflix" is another huge accomplishment for the artist, partially for somehow making a rap verse from Fergie seem desirable. But the song itself stands up as one of the best rap tracks of the year, with producers Da Honerable C.N.O.T.E. and Diplo mixing their respective styles into a menacing mix of bombastic street trap and more left-field EDM inspired trap. The album contains some of the best production in recent memory, from the bombast trap of "I Do It" to the bass-heavy "Mainstream Ratchet." Throughout it all, 2 Chainz does what he does best, spitting line after line with little regard to how they all connect, living in the moment and taking it a bar at the time.
Even though 2 Chainz isn't what one would call "lyrical," he does go down an introspective route a couple of times on the album. Most notably, on the final track "Outroduction," 2 Chainz offers the most personal verses he's done yet over a hard hitting piano-driven beat. He still has really goofy punchlines thrown in there, and most of the stuff is incredibly surface level, but he makes an earnest attempt at expanding his lyrical palette and the results are actually pretty good. Still, this is a 2 Chainz album, and 90% of what's here is on the opposite side of the spectrum in terms of content.
If you already have your mind made up on 2 Chainz, this album isn't going to do anything for you. Those that enjoy the charisma and style of the artist, however, will have a blast with this album. And that's exactly the point. The minute you start to take 2 Chainz seriously is the minute you lose your shot of enjoyment for his music. That's not to say 2 Chainz isn't a serious artist, but he knows what kind of music he makes and who its for. That's why he has done his best to deliver the kind of care-free, gaudy rap album that will be blaring from the speakers of house parties everywhere for months to come, and B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME readily delivers on that promise.