Let's be honest for a second here, a guy like 2 Chainz has no need to release a free project. Not only has he released two albums since 2012, but the guy has more guest verses over the last couple of years than nearly any other working rapper today. Relevancy isn't an issue for 2 Chainz at this point, and maybe it never will be. So it stands to reason that FreeBase, the free EP 2 Chainz unleashed last week, is nothing more than a thank you to the fans that have helped to propel his career to heights previously thought unimaginable. Exactly how has 2 Chainz decided to thank us? By dropping 6 of the best songs of his career to date.
Keeping up with current trends, 2 Chainz comes out of the gate on “Trap Back” sporting the ubiquitous “Versace” flow, which he correctly notes “This flow came from Drizzy/He got it from Migos/They got it from Three 6.” The song sports a cool, laid back synth line that quietly wails underneath 2 Chainz's slick flow. It sets the stage for the rest of the EP, making it clear these aren't songs that are simply throwaways, but fully formed ideas that play to 2 Chainz strengths.
There are a couple of big name collaborations here, the one that stands out the most being with the recently released from prison Lil Boosie on “Wuda Cuda Shuda.” The Mike Will Made It beat is par the course for the young producer, with a dark melody lead by cold bells and stuttering, almost glitchy percussion driving the beat. 2 Chainz and Mike Will are usually on the same page when they work together, and this track is no different with each finding the comfort zone they've established time and time again. Lil Boosie sounds like he hasn't missed a thing during his time away by the time he comes in, dropping aggressive lines and riding the beat even better than 2 Chainz. It's a shame his verse is so short, but this is a 2 Chainz EP and anything more might have threatened to steal the spotlight from Chainz.
Elsewhere, A$AP Rocky and Rick Ross drop by for “Crib In My Closet,” which leans toward a more bombastic and massive trap style than the airy creep of “Wuda Cuda Shuda.” The three rappers on the track all find their way through the beat with ease, though hearing Rocky over this type of production is a tad bit off putting at first but he more than pulls his weight. The final track “They Know” finds 2 Chainz linking up with one of Chicago's most prolific producers, Young Chop, and the results are an apt closing for a solid release.
FreeBase may not find 2 Chainz making any big leaps forward, but what it does offer is a refinement of some of the things people love from 2 Chainz. The beats are top shelf, his flow is versatile but never overly complex, and his lyrics are humorous, if a little unremarkable. It's just a perfect release to give to your fans for free right before the summer starts since any one of these could be the rap song of the summer.