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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

‘Rap or Go to the League’ shows 2 Chainz’s maturity and growth

2+Chainz+publicizes+his+album+by+displying+it+on+a+blimp+Photo+credit%3A+Joe+Moore+Productions
2 Chainz publicizes his album by displying it on a blimp Photo credit: Joe Moore Productions

2 Chainz released his fifth studio album “Rap or Go to the League,” in which he raps about the parallels and differences of his life as a rapper and his life before his fame and success on the streets of Atlanta. It was released March 1 and spearheads 2 Chainz push to make more meaningful music.

The appeal of 2 Chainz’s music has been his ridiculous lyricism and hyperbole surrounding his wealth, fashion and appeal to women. “Rap or Go to the League” contains this same charismatic ridiculousness to a lesser degree however, it also features a more in-depth look at who 2 Chainz is as a person.

The maturity of 2 Chainz in “Rap or Go to the League” is something he has been building up to over the past couple of years with his EPs “The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It” and “Hibachi for Lunch.” There is a level of introspection and self-awareness that makes this album 2 Chainz’s equivalent to Jay-Z’s “4:44.”

The album is called “Rap or Go to the League” because 2 Chainz, as well as many others who have grown up in low-income communities like him, see only two options to make it out of the hood: rap, or become a successful athlete. Another option, the one 2 Chainz chose before rap, is making and selling drugs.

His career as a trapper is a major theme in all of 2 Chainz music however, we see a different side of it in “Rap or Go to the League” than before. In the past, he talked about how selling drugs helped him buy his mother a house. In the second track, “Threat 2 Society,” 2 Chainz raps solemnly about how he sold her drugs. While he had discussed how drugs played a part in his home-life growing up before, in this album he takes responsibility for his contributions to the drug problems in his family.

With all this introspection, 2 Chainz still manages to put out ignorant bangers like “Girl’s Best Friend” with Ty Dolla $ign and “High Top Versace” with a man who glorifies sex like no other: Young Thug. “2 Dollar Bill” is essentially a grown-up sequel to “I’m Different” but with features from rap royalty Lil Wayne and E-40.

The album also features Ariana Grande and Kendrick Lamar however, I found their contributions to be underwhelming considering their huge presence in popular music and culture. The same could be said for Chance the Rapper and Kodak Black’s features on “I’m Not Crazy, Life Is.” While they all had good verses and contributions, the level of quality was below the bar they set for themselves.

Overall I think this album is pretty solid, and very good career move for 2 Chainz, who hasn’t always put together the best full-length projects. I think as a whole the album is 2 Chainz’s best, even if the individual songs may not reach the same popularity as some of his others. I plan on keeping the album in rotation for a while.

Rating: 4/5

Mitchell Kret can be reached at [email protected] or @mkret222 on Twitter.

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