14 August, 2012@5:02 pm
The story of 2 Chainz goes like this. He was originally signed to Ludacris’ DTP imprint under the name “Tity Boy”. But no matter if you spell it with one “T” or two, Wal-Mart is never going to carry an album by a guy who has titties in his name. It doesn’t “sit well”, as they say. This pretty much sealed his fate, and perhaps is the same reason why adult film star T.T. Boy never had a successful mainstream acting career. After being released from the label, Tity Boy reinvented himself as “2 Chainz”, releasing one of last year’s most buzz-worthy mixtapes, T.R.U. Realigion. You might remember it from our “2011 Worst Cover Art” list, featuring 2 Chainz pissing and texting at the same damn time.
With 2 Chainz’s debut, Based On A T.R.U. Story, he’s stepped up his game on the cover art tip, outsourcing to Kanye’s DONDA design house, who’ve delivered one of the slickest, most intriguing album covers of the year. With the success of his mixtape single, “Spend It”, 2 Chainz’s popularity has exploded over the last year, with all of the major rap crews fighting to give him a third chain, with their respective logo hanging from the end of it. Ultimately settling at Def Jam, the question remains if 2 Chainz is just the hot-rapper-of-the-moment, or does his debut truly warrant all of the attention he’s been getting?
Let’s put it like this: “No.”
2 Chainz’s unique southern drawl – a bit like a toned down Lil Jon – has it’s merits, and he does occasionally come with a crack-a-smile line from time to time. Loaded with guests, his album proves just how lackluster of an emcee he is, as they steal the spotlight from him every time. Drake carries “No Lie” with another one of his million dollar hooks and one of his best verses in recent memory, while 2 Chainz comes off more like the featured artist of the track. The same can be said for the John Legend-Scarface-Six-July helmed “Ghetto Dreams”, or the Lil Wayne featured opening cut, “Yuck”, which sounds much more like something you’d find on any Young Money release. Even Nicki Minaj out-raps Chainz on “I Luv Dem Strippers”, which in itself is pretty lackluster of a cut.
But it really becomes evident that the “better” moments of Based On A T.R.U. Story are because of the guests, when the solo cuts come around. Some of this stuff is absolutely terrible, such as “Crack”, which finds him trying out some new type of slang (“I got crinack! Yeah, I got crinack!”), or the absolute mess “Dope Peddler”, both of which redundantly hammer the fantastical idea of the-rapper-as-drug-dealer. The Fisher Price keyboards of “I’m Different” are laughably bad, while the album’s two crossover cuts “In Town” and “Extremely Blessed” drip with saccharine.
It’s hard to tell if the brainwashed followers will deem this as brilliant, considering they sing every line to “No Lie” out loud already, but we’re not fooled. We’ve seen this type of thing come and go over the years, and it seems like 2 Chainz is pretty much the flavor of the month. Ease back, industry.
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