ROGTTL allows 2 Chainz to depict the mantra that most kids in inner cities live by “Either you’re slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot”
2 Chainz’s Rap Or Go To The League is the newest layer added to the Atlanta native’s catalog. Pretty Girls Like Trap Music showed us his ability to break through artistic barriers. ROGTTL allows Chainz to depict the mantra that most kids in inner cities live by “Either you’re slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot” – Notorious B.I.G.
Tity Boi leans on one of his strongest abilities, introspection. He’s outgrown the cheesy metaphors and punchlines and is now taking the route of drug dealers turned rappers before him, recalling events of his past and detailing how to learn from his past pitfalls. Despite once being a cautionary tale, the now married father of 3 has grown as a man and as an artist.
The roll out for the ROGTTL caught everyone’s attention with the announcement of LeBron James serving his first term as A&R. Given 2 Chainz’s love of the finer things in life, getting the most famous athlete in the world to work on his album is fitting. The parallels between ball players and rappers are so similar, it’s surprising that this is the first time anything like this has happened. Under Bron’s direction, Chainz rags to riches motif is prominent throughout the project, and very well delivered.
2 Chainz opens the album with the very heartfelt “Forgiven,” reflecting on the murder of Lil Fate’s son. “My head achin’, hands started shakin’, foul beyond flagrant,” raps 2 Chainz, in his College Park drawl. “He said, “Bro, what I’m supposed to do?” I paused, remorseful.” Now Chainz hasn’t achieved Scarface-level storytelling, but he paints a very vivid picture of his emotions and Marsha Ambrosius’ angelic voice helps deliver his message.
On “NCAA” he revisits the trunk-rattling sound he became famous for, paired with braggadocios raps and metaphors. “They say, you better have a good grade like a mixed baby hair,” they say, “We goin’ to the tournament, we gonna need you there,” he raps. “I have more crab legs than Jameis, You fake like you got a girlfriend, Manti Te’o.” This was a perfect opportunity for him to put his lyrical growth on display, using the name drops to get get his point across. But by the end of the verse, Chainz loses us. I was confident that the cheesy punchlines that we all come expect from him over his 15 year career would stop, but Tity Boi just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
On the autobiographical “Statute Of Limitations,” he reflects on his days as a celebrity pusher man, selling product to Lil Jon, Young Buck, Raekwon, and Rick Ross; detailing his credibility and respect among his peers. As an emcee, 2 Chainz is consistent across the board. On “Momma I Hit A Lick,” he holds his own with Kendrick Lamar, which is no easy feat. On a technical level, he steps into K. Dots world of flipping flows and using different voices. Which is quite impressive because as an emcee, he can be unfocused. On the Ariana Grande assisted “Rule The World,” (which will be the single that charts the highest) he writes a love letter to his wife. The Hitmaka production and Amerie sample make the songs replay value undeniable. On “I Said Me,” the “My Favorite Things” and “A Garden of Peace” samples blare as he bears his best and worst sides, once again chronicling his rise from high school basketball star to trapper to rapper to father.
The hip hop journeyman makes a great case for rap fans to take him seriously on ROGTTL. Making his most honest and endearing album to date, the College Park native puts the fruits of his maturation on front street. On this project, we see him shine over lush soul samples and detailed story telling, taking us on an enjoyable venture out of his comfort zone. Rap Or Go To The League blends trap raps with moments of vulnerability that we usually don’t get to see from the man they call Tity Boi. The albums lofty highs outweigh the albums lows, but this feels like only the start of him perfecting his craft.