If I had to describe 2 Chainz in one word, it would be “unique”. From his voice to his style to his music, 2 Chainz is extremely distinguished from most artists. With his new album “Rap or Go to the League”, the follow up to “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music”, 2 Chainz continues this trend of distinguishing himself.
One thing that makes Chainz so unique is the way he’s able to make music about a myriad of topics. He has the ability to rap about the things that are popular in today’s mainstream rap music (drugs, women, money etc.), while at the same time, being able to rap lyrically about deeper topics. Because of this, he is able to appeal to a variety of audiences. He appeals to the audience that prefers less substantive trap music, as well as to the hip-hop heads who appreciate lyricism and word play.
“Rap or Go to the League” is a perfect mix of entertaining, serious, fun and informative. Chainz balances bangers with message filled songs in a way that only he can. The title of the album is important as it alludes to something that many young inner city African Americans face. Chainz was one of those youths; however, he is a rare case as he made it as a rapper after failing to make it as a basketball player. Many don’t make it as either despite feelings that those are the only options.
The track “NCAA” essentially sums up the most important point the album has to share. “NCAA, yeah, we the young and dangerous, We be ballin' hard, yeah, I just want some paper, NCAA, yeah, set the record straight Come on in (Come on in), come on in (Come on in) NCAA, yeah, we the young and dangerous, We be ballin' hard, yeah, I just want some paper, yeah”, raps 2 Chainz. This song sheds light on the way young black men feel when they don’t have much and feel that their only option to make it in life is playing basketball. The NCAA always appears as if they care about these young men, but in reality, it is a business and is essentially using the plight of these men to make a profit.
This album is packed with features which can be a bad thing in some cases. In this album, however, most of the features are well placed. Hearing 2 Chainz paired with Ariana Grande on “Rule the World” was a delight as well as hearing Chance the Rapper’s guest verse on “I’m Not Crazy, Life is”. Of course, the Lil Wayne, Travis Scott, Young Thug and Kodak Black features were expected, but it was dope to also hear verses from E-40 and Kendrick Lamar as they are more lyrical.
This LeBron James A&R’d album is dope and is already towards the top of my list for best 2019 rap album. 2 Chainz puts his rapping ability on display with a myriad of flows, rhyme schemes and topics and he shows great taste in production throughout the project. 2 Chainz is unapologetically himself on this album and I believe that he should never change his unique style.