Not many artists have a story of their catapult to stardom like 2 Chainz. It didn’t come easy, but Chainz managed to overcome a low point in his career, to reinvent himself and eventually becoming one of last year’s most sought after artists.
His much hyped album Based on a T.R.U. Story was a success due to favorable appearances ranging from his verse on “Mercy,” to his own hits “No Lie” and “Birthday Song.” All of which still get considerable amounts of airplay. Leading up to the release of B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time, Chainz’ presence hasn’t been felt like it was last year for plenty of reasons.
“Feds Watching” features Pharrell and although it has the formula for success with great production and Pharrell on the hook, it struggled to catch on, while “Where You Been?” pales in comparison to his pass hits. Me Time finds Chainz almost desperately trying to mimic the formula of his last effort but offer more of Chainz as a person. The album opens with “Fork”; a menacing orchestral production that captivates immediately, but struggles to keep the listener’s interest especially with some of the worst lyrics you’ll probably hear this year (“My wrist deserve a shout out i’m like what up, wrist!, my stove deserve a shout out I’m like what up stove”). Believe it or not, there are plenty of cringe worthy moments like that on the album, but it’s his confidence that what he’s saying is awesome, that’s been working for him in the past. This time around however, it seems as though he takes advantage of our kindness.
Not all can be met with complaints though, as “I Do it” is easily one of the stand outs from this effort. The assists from both Drake and Lil’ Wayne make this one memorable, as both artists help each other smoothly segue into the other’s verse. It’s the kind of offering that’s obvious that all involved recorded it together and not through multiple emails. It actually brings out the best in what Chainz has to offer as a rapper. The Fergie-assisted “Netflix” is a guaranteed hit, while the production of Mannie Fresh on “Used 2” helps 2 Chainz channel Juvenile’s flow from the 1998 classic “Back that Azz Up.”
It’s not like Chainz doesn’t have layers as an artist, he just knows we wouldn’t be interested. In fact, the insightfulness of “Black Unicorn” finds him making a brow raising claim “Lyrically I could be Talib Kweli/But with gold teeth it’d be hard for some to believe,” he raps. “Beautiful Pain” features Ma$e and both rappers accompany each other well, and we get a rare glimpse of what else 2 Chainz may offer us lyrically. But where Chainz shines lies in the effortlessness of tracks like “U Da Realist” or even “Mainstream Ratchet” and to keep his audience, that’s the lane he needs to stay in. Unfortunately, that’s the hole he’s dug for himself. Next time around Less Me Time is needed.