I have to give credit where credit is due. 2 Chainz has had the career reinvention of the decade. Hell, maybe two decades. I still remember hearing “Riot” for the first time and thinking this new artist might have something special, not knowing that he was in fact 1/2 of the Playaz Circle. In fact, I didn’t even know his name when he was a part of that group. I only vaguely knew them because of that “Duffle Bag Boy” song and even then I had it listed under Lil Wayne. So to think that that same person would be one of the most recognizable names in rap some 10 years after his “career” already seemed to die is almost unbelievable. He’s provided some real moments since he burst onto the scene with T.R.U. REALigion, and B.O.A.T.S met and exceeded any and all expectations I had of a debut album from him. But ever since that debut his wave has largely died down even though he’s released some solid mixtapes, and for me, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music was the real test of whether he’s a real rap artist here to stay or just another flash in the pan.
With B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, I really felt like he fell in the trap (no pun intended) a lot of newly successful artists fall into, and that was to chase mainstream crossover success. It led to a lot of production that just wasn’t what I was looking for from someone who blew up off big trap records. Right from the jump of Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, 2 Chainz let us know that he’s returning to that harder trap sound that we fell in love with. “Saturday Night” is hard as hell with some mean guitar riffs, “Riverdale Rd” is soooo menacing with sounds ripped straight from a Friday the 13th flick, and “Trap Check” is everything you expect to hear in a song titled so, complete with some dope nods to trap classics from Jeezy and T.I. Even when he does go for the big singles like “Good Drank”, “Realize”, and “It’s A Vibe” they don’t sound forced like his previous album and mesh nicely with the rest of the soundscape. Mike WiLL blessed him once again with some real heat. The most interesting song off the album was the surprise “Rolls Royce Bitch” which is a slow guitar heavy ballad that drops into my favorite hook off the whole album. It’s a strange mix of conflicting ideas and styles that just works. There were definitely some filler material throughout but I found myself easily playing the album from front to back without a strong urge to hit skip.
“You wasn’t blessed with ambition so who you gon blame for that
Tried to get off the Act, still didn’t know how to act
Still pull up in the back, sit my ass right in the back
Tell my driver when he open my door to take off his hat
Double saran everything so that you know its a wrap
Double salute anybody that made it out the trap
Some of y’all probably still owe me from back
In the back in the back in the back in the back”
One area where I think 2 Chainz is highly underrated and not given enough credit for is his lyrical ability. No he’s not a poet, no his verses aren’t the most intricate and complex, no his content isn’t always the most compelling, but his sharp wit and wordplay can stand up with almost anyone in the game. And I don’t think his rapping has ever been any sharper than it is on Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. He’s really on point throughout and impressed me on a number of occasions with his clever play on words. Kendrick he is not, but he’s far from the mumble rap of today and if I’m in the mood for some high quality trap music, this is a go to.
Have you heard Pretty Girls Like Trap Music? What’d you think about it? Was this a return to the sound that you wanted to hear from him? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.