ALBUM REVIEW: 2 Chainz Becomes an All-Star on ‘Rap Or Go To The League’

The artist formerly known as Tity Boi paints his masterpiece.

The late career renaissance of the artist formerly known as Tity Boi has been nothing short of amazing. In 2012, 2 Chainz was shouting immortal lines like “She got a big booty, so I call her big booty” from the rooftops. Seven years later, he’s giving tax advice to younger rappers on his album closer. That’s growth if I’ve ever seen it.⠀

On Rap Or Go To The League, 2 Chainz, real name Tauheed Epps, has found his place in the game as an elder statesman while making the best music of his career, over everything from soulful boom bap to the raucous trap he built his career on. Executive produced from none other than LeBron James, 2 Chainz (who played Division I college basketball) shines on the best record he’s ever made.⠀

Despite what others may say, 2 Chainz is a lyricist if there ever was one, and this album proves it. On “Threat 2 Society,” he flows over a fantastic sample from 9th Wonder, pairing flexes with personal reflections, like how he sold drugs to his mom, as well as the method his coach taught him on shooting hoops. Lines like “Probably never seen your friend killed / probably never seen your dad die” are jarring. Ebullient horns give way for one of the most fun moments of the album on “Money In The Way,” a bona fide banger with Tity Boi at his shit-talking best. ⠀

One of the weirder tracks, “Momma I Hit A Lick,” pairs Neptunes-like production with an awesome flow switching, pitch shifting verse from Kendrick Lamar. Using the same sample Ariana Grande did for “7 Rings” to open “I Said Me” is bold, but what’s even more daring is the Lonnie Liston flip, immediately recognizable as the sample behind JAY-Z’s chilling “Dead Presidents.” It’s hard hitting, self-reflective and painfully honest look into Tauheed Epps’ troubled life.⠀

And that brings us to the aforementioned closer, “Sam.” It’s poignant, sharp and wise, adjectives no one would have attributed to 2 Chainz two years ago. On Rap Or Go To The League, 2 Chainz does more than overcome his past mistakes as an artist. He’s put out his masterpiece. ⠀

SCORE: 🏀🏀🏀🏀/5⠀

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