2 Chainz — B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime Album Review by Jay Fingers

2 Chainz — B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime | soulheadTitle: B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime
Artist: 2 Chainz
Label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Hip Hop
Released: September 9, 2013
Social: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Refuge in audacity.

As defined by TV Tropes, the phrase refers to behavior “so far over-the-top there’s no way someone can’t be noticed and yet they still get away with” whatever social misdeeds and violations committed. It’s an apt phrase for Southern hip-hop star 2 Chainz, who rose to prominence through a series of mixtapes and memorable guest appearances that led to his chart-topping debut Based on a T.R.U. Story.

Chainz embraced his outrageousness, his ostensibly simple verses filled with bizarre metaphors, ridiculous non-sequitirs, and more blue humor than a Redd Foxx or Dolemite album. It’s what made him a star and made his debut album one of last year’s notable commercial hip-hop successes.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems to be the mentality behind Chainz’s newest release, B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime, the sequel to his freshman effort. Once again, Chainz revels in absurdity, spinning tales of drug dealing and sexual conquests with a truly surreal bent.

Take, for instance, “Mainstream Ratchet”: the title really explains it all. It’s a raunchy club banger in which Chainz excitedly, almost psychotically, hollers in amazement when he sees the gloriously large posterior of an attractive woman: “Her ass so big, it looks like she try’na walk backwards, bruh!” The hilarious “Netflix,” co-produced by Diplo, features the Felix-and-Oscar coupling of Chainz and Fergie, and finds the Black Eye Peas token white girl sexpot spitting rhymes in Chainz’s trademark choppy cadence: “When I die, bury me inside the liquor sto’/Cuz when I die, Fergie stiiiiill gon’ be gettin’ dough/You do what you can/I do what you can’t/You smoke that Bobby Brown/We on that Shabba Ranks!” True!

Chainz goes from putting sex tapes on Netflix to YouTube on the kinetic, Mannie Fresh-produced “Used 2.” Over the producer’s trademark rat-tat-tat snares, skittish hi-hats, and punchy kicks, Chainz completely bites the flow Juvenile used on the classic “Back That Azz Up,” but it absolutely works. Speaking of the Cash Money family, Lil Wayne and Drake show up on the mean-spirited “I Do It,” where Drizzy’s verse contains a spot-on imitation of Tunechi’s voice, delivery, and style.

Yet while Chainz is consistently, weirdly belligerent throughout, he also reveals a creative and contemplative side never before seen. You think the T-Pain assisted “So We Can Live” is going to be yet another song “for the ladies,” but Chainz spins a riveting yarn about being stopped by the police and admitting to smoking weed: “He came a little closer/And told me that he smellin’ it/I said, I rolled one up/I won’t insult your intelligence.” Even more surprising than that is how the song switches up styles like Bruce Lee riding a Fuji in a movie—it develops an almost boom-bap sound complete with DJ Premier-esque scratches and Chainz spitting like a 90s backpacker.

The Pharrell-produced trap anthem “Feds Watching” is rather serious given that it’s the album’s first single. “Beautiful Pain” is a heartfelt collaboration featuring Lloyd and a reinvigorated Mase, who laments, “Who am I kidding?/I had bridges/I just burned ‘em.”

Poet Sunni Patterson kicks a dope spoken word piece at the beginning of the lush, orchestreal “Black Unicorn,” which also features Chrisette Michele on the hook. And the “Outroduction” serves as confessional for Chainz, a soulful look at his life as it’s progressed from his being “a dishwasher to a kingpin.” It’s affecting, poignant—something you wouldn’t expect from the man who used to call himself “Tity Boi.”

Another thing that makes B.O.A.T.S. II a winner, and better than the previous album, is the production. In addition to the aforementioned Fresh, Pharrell, and Diplo, the disc also features DJ Toomp, Drumma Boy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, StreetRunner, and Mike Will Made It. The varying influences—from soul to dusty hip-hop to EDM—give B.O.A.T.S. II the sheen of diversity, markedly separating it from your usual trap rap album.

With boundless energy, a bizarre charisma, and surreal humor, 2 Chainz has delivered a thoroughly enjoyable, hilarious, and, at times, touching album. Though it may not have powerhouse singles like “Birthday Song” or “No Lie,” it is still an effort superior to its predecessor. And that may be the most audacious thing of all—2 Chainz crafted a sequel that’s better than the original.

 

Grade: B+

Best Tracks

“Feds Watching” (featuring Pharrell)

“Netflix” (featuring Fergie)

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xam800GSe0M

“Used 2”

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50E8BZRBmFI

“So We Can Live” (featuring T-Pain)

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRePKMx7MmA

 

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