2 Chainz is a rapper you don’t really pay much time to. He has some great records but he’s not the rapper you look to produce a good album with lyrical content. B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, the sequel to his debut studio album Based On A T.R.U. Story, can be compared to French Montana’s Excuse My French more so than J. Cole’s Born Sinner or Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With The Sound Off. B.O.A.T.S. II isn’t going to reinvent the hip-hop genre or push it forward into something we’ve never been before, it’s going to be that album you break out when driving in your car, lounging around the house, or blast when you have some friends over. It may not be one of the best albums of the year, but it’s an honorable mention.
Fork opens up the album with 2 Chainz yelling at his mother, questioning her about his disappearing money. The opening lyrics go: I had a dream/that rap wouldn’t work/ I woke up on the block/had to heat it with the fork. Taken at face value, this seems to be another rap about trapping and how glorious it is to sell drug on the corner because he has so much money on him it won’t even fold! Though the name of the album is Based On A T.R.U. Story, the opening song talks about if his rap career fell in shambles, he would have to resort to, or rather, stay in the drug game.
His next song, 36, strictly deals with coke and moving bricks. After all, That’s how many ounces in a brick. The hit single, Feds Watching, is the third track on the album and it’s one of the best songs on the album. It plays to the theme of the album, providing a turning point for 2 Chainz’ life of crime to rap. Thank God for the first ni**a started trapping/ Thank God for the first ni**a started rapping, are the opening lines in the song I Do It, featuring Drake and Lil Wayne. It is here where the album turns into something more than just a mindless rap album.
Used 2 and Netflix, the latter of which features Fergie, aren’t really anything except raps bragging about how much women he lay down. At this point, it’s mandatory for every rapper to record one but the former has one of the best beats on the album, hands down. Produced by Mannie Fresh, the beat moves at a break neck speed and what makes the song work as a whole is Chainz’ homage to the Hot Boyz. He channels Back That Ass Up, adding a yeah at the end of every line. Netflix sounds more like a radio single, on the album to garner radio play. It isn’t until Beautiful Pain, featuring Ma$e and Lloyd that you hear something sincere. Though many of the lyrics don’t make sense like wishing that a hater gets testicular cancer in the brain, but the song, as a whole, is quite profound. For a rapper known to make music about partying, drugs, hoes, money, and clothes, Beautiful Pain is a step taken back to say, “I may rap about the finer things in life but deep down some things depress me.” We see that same intriguing emotion in Black Unicorn, by far and away, the best song on the album.
Sunni Patterson introduces the song with a slam poem about a Black Unicorn. The meaning of that poem can be interpreted in so many different ways, and I had one thought about it before writing this review and a completely different view after. In it, he says Lyrically I could be Talib Kweli/But with gold teeth it’d be hard for some to believe, commentary on why he can’t be taken seriously as a “real” rapper.
This is also where I had the problem. He says he could be a conscious rapper but his appearance sets him back and prevents him from being one. However, he places very minimal effort to do so. There are hints of his consciousness in some of the songs but there truly isn’t an effort to be one. In fact, the next line after the Kweli line is I leave them pu**ies stinking, they need Summer’s Eve. He dances on that line between conscientious and frat boy.
The theme of the album is Chainz leaving behind his drug past to enter into the rap game. There were ways that he could’ve done that with more subtlety, but this is 2 Chainz we’re talking about here. It’s an album with great club bangers that many people will be listening to when the time calls for it. While not a great album, it is a good one. It’s not a game-changer but it’s an album that’s good for the moment.