Words About Music
2 Chainz “B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time”
If I told you that 2 Chainz was the salutatorian at his high school and that he went to college on an athletic scholarship for basketball, you might not believe me. You might have a preconceived notion or two about Tauheed Epps based on his over-the-top persona and not always politically correct lyrics (“She got a big booty so I call her big booty).” But let me tell you, The Artist Formerly Known As Tity Boi knows exactly what he’s doing, and he’s doing an excellent job. Last year he released his debut album “Based on a T.R.U. Story,” which featured some pretty excellent pop-rap and trap songs, including the infamous “Birthday Song.” Well a year later he’s returned with the sequel, which combines his trademarked self-referencing larger-than-life personality with some fantastically catchy hooks, extremely mature lyricism with varying themes, and some of the best hip hop production I’ve heard all year.
The first half of this album is full of some of the hilarious and infectiously catchy songs that 2 Chainz is known for, with tracks like “Fork,” “Feds Watching (feat. Pharrell),” and “Netflix (feat. Fergie).” On the other side of this album, though, there’s some lyrically dark and mature tracks like “U Da Realest,” “So We Can Live (feat. T-Pain),” and “Black Unicorn (feat. Chrisette Michele and Sunni Patterson).” He talks about drug use that at times seems fun and other times seems like it’s really bringing him down. He talks about reckless sex like it’s fun and other times like it’s bringing him down. “B.O.A.T.S. II” definitely shows a side of 2 Chainz that I don’t recall ever seeing before. He’s really taking a look at himself, or at least at the way he portrays himself.
One aspect of “B.O.A.T.S II” that really should not be ignored is the production on this album. The production plays a big role in making this an excellent album. Some of these beats bang harder than anything I’ve heard all year, and some are beautiful and feel like they belong in a church, and others combine both of these. With production from producers like Mike Will Made It, Pharrell Williams, and Diplo, among others, “B.O.A.T.S II” succeeds in nearly every possible way. It’s uplifting, insane, banging, and extremely fun to listen to. In a sentence, “B.O.A.T.S. II” is what “Magna Carta Holy Grail” wishes it was. It’s the best of Waka Flocka Flame, the best of J. Cole, and the best of Kanye West. While a lot of these tracks are fun, there’s definitely some lines that make me weep for Tity Boi. One that always sticks out is in “Black Unicorn” where he says “Lyrically I could be Talib Kweli/But with gold teeth it’d be hard for some to believe.”
Don’t go into this album expecting some bland pop-rap. If you ask me, this is 2 Chainz’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” It’s dark, personal, fun, revealing, and T.R.U.ly the greatest release of his career. Some may dismiss him as “hashtag rap” and say that there’s no way someone who calls himself 2 Chainz could ever be a great rapper. Well I think “B.O.A.T.S. II” is an excellent statement and absolutely proves the haters wrong. I never would have expected 2 Chainz would release an album this good, and I doubt it’ll receive much attention. But if you do happen to be here for the fun, ig’nant side of 2 Chainz, then you at least have the first half of the album. So don’t discredit 2 Chainz yet, because he has plenty of tricks up his chains that you may never be able to predict. When he’s not shouting out his wrist, he’s commemorating all the soldiers that have died in wars. When he’s not saying he wants to make a sex tape and put it on Netflix, he’s detailing his past drug addictions and his possible dependence on marijuana. It’s a wild, crazy ride, and entirely worth it. So strap in.
SCORE – 8.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – Fork, Feds Watching (feat. Pharrell), I Do It (feat. Drake and Lil Wayne), Netflix (feat. Fergie), U Da Realest, So We Can Live (feat. T-Pain), Mainstream Ratchet, Black Unicorn (feat. Chrisette Michele and Sunni Patterson), Outroduction
This review is dedicated to Lizzie.