Album Review: 2 Chainz, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time

2 Chainz

B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (to be released September 10, 2013)

If you’re a frequent visitor to this corner of the blogosphere, I’m sure you saw the title of this post and said to yourself “aww, Edd’s about to start preaching about the evils of trap music.”

Before you Stans, Stanleys and Standras start typing up those typo-filled emails, chill for a second. I’m on your side.

Sure, my daily diet of hip hop usually consists of mind-bending lyricism and captivating concepts. But every once in awhile, I have a taste for some junk food. Not a ton, mind you, just a little to give me a sugar rush. Every fan should develop a diverse palate.

When you look at it like that, 2 Chainz, the man who wants to be buried in the booty club, kinda brings balance to the game.

Sort of. Don’t get carried away, now.

Predicably, Deuce’s sophmore release, the sequel to last summer’s Based on a T.R.U. Story, is light on substance and heavy on swag – so much so that most of the first half of the album feels like a $15 mixtape. Blame some of the laziest punchlines you’ve ever heard:

“My stove deserve a shout out, I’m like, ‘What up, stove?” – “Fork”

“Check my watch on a flight, I call that airtime” – “Where U Been”

“36, 36, 36, 36/That’s how many ounces in a brick” – “36.” It’s like Sesame Street for baby trappers.

When Chainz is outrapped by lyrical titans like Rich Homie Quan on “Extra” and Fergie on “Netflix,” you know there’s a problem.

But when the flows fall short, it’s the production that saves the day. The clearest example is current single “Feds Watching” – Chainz bragging about his wardrobe is nothing new but it’s impossible not to bounce to the reggage-tinged track. When 2 Chainz is motivated, few can ride a beat like he can.

Thankfully B.O.A.T.S. II isn’t all about girls, garments and guns. Chainz somewhat uncharactertistically opens up for some soul-searching honesty. Producer Drumma Boy whips up a track fit for rap royalty on “U Da Realest,” serving as a backdrop for Chainz to shout out his homies. StreetRunners serve up soul on “Outroduction,” allowing 2 Chainz to contemplate the pressures of fame.

The best verse on the album, shockingly, comes from Ma$e on “Beautiful Pain”: “I’m too young to have burdens/But still feel I should be further/But who I’m I kidding I had bridges but I just burned them.” Chainz means well but with verses like “Her lips and her hips thick/My boxers are covered in her lipstick,” he can’t keep up. That’s also the case on “Black Unicorn,” where he’s joined by poet Sunni Patterson (!!!!),  a great hook from Chrisette Michelle and a epic score from DJ Toomp. Lines like “I got more nines than the fourth grade” just sound ridiculous next to that star power.

B.O.A.T.S. II does show that 2 Chainz has grown as an artist. For this first time, he’s released an album that sounds like a legit LP, rather than a random assortment of tracks. Still Chainz often sounds like a guest on his own album, constantly getting outshined by his cohorts.

I’m sure no one will go into B.O.A.T.S. II expecting a full-course rap meal. Even die-hard 2 Chainz fans will find it less than fulfilling. But it has its moments. Just don’t expect total satisfaction.

Best tracks: “Feds Watching,” “Beautiful Pain,” “U Da Realest”

3 stars out of 5

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