Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2 Chainz - The Play Don't Care Who Makes It Review

While it may be true that Trap reached an all-time low last year (with no end in sight), that doesn't entirely discredit the fact that 2 Chainz' Pretty Girls Like Trap Music was the best of the bunch. A statement amplified when one realizes 2 Chainz, one of Atlanta's longest-tenured rappers, turned 40 months after the project dropped. For a genre that's being steered by the youth, that's quite an impressive feat. Especially when aging artists like Justin Timberlake are trying to use Trap to maintain relevance, with sorry attempts like 'Supplies.' 2 Chainz remains a notable fixture capable of contending, and sometimes lapping, emcees a decade, and in some cases two decades, younger than him. However, while examples of this poise, polish, and repute were found on tracks like 'Saturday Night,' 'Rolls Royce Bitch,' and the fearless 'Riverdale Rd,' not much can be gleamed here, on the four-track EP The Play Don't Care Who Makes It. A clear-cut measure to maintain relevance, what with his appearance on the Black Panther soundtrack and soon-to-be exhibition alongside Snoop Dogg on the inaugural Hip-Hop All-Star Game (yes that's a thing), The Play lacks the craftiness and stature of its predecessor.

With little promotion outside of Instagram and no official singles, that much was evident from the get-go. On The Play's first three tracks 2 Chainz reverts to cheap thrills, finding revelry in banger central. 'OK BITCH' kickstarts the festivities with a 21 Savage-inspired cut that lingers with a monotone drawl, cookie-cutter hi-hats, and reliance on a repetitive hook. 2 Chainz' identity only reveals itself through some absurd one-liners ("too much shrimp got me looking queasy," "I got a pool that got a pool that got a pool"), which makes 'OK BITCH' bearable for tongue-in-cheek purposes only. Unfortunately, the crude transition to 'PROUD,' a track entirely devoted to respecting one's mother, comes off as tasteless, especially with the horrendous YG verse featured prominently. "My mama ain't raise no hoe, cause my mama ain't no hoe" he rhymes lazily, following that up with "these hoes and my mama can't get along, cause my mama ain't no hoe." Genius. To be outshined later by Offset truly shows off that verse's atrociousness. Each of these cuts would've been bottom of the barrel on Pretty Girls.

'LAND OF THE FREAKS' makes up for the banality, but only slightly. 2 Chainz' eerie atmosphere returns to ride underneath some light note playing, culminating in the enjoyable hook where the Atlanta Braves get a shoutout ("land of the Braves, home of the freaks"). A flurry of contrived one-liners fill up the back half of the track though, including but not limited to: "Don't fuck with Goofy niggas, that's Disney." It is, however, the EP's most consistent cut, thanks to 'LAMBORGHINI TRUCK's' ruinous hook. The track itself is a breath of fresh air, with a slow-moving groove guided by female vocalist Sitara Kanhai. An ode to all the Atlanta legends that made 2 Chainz who he is, namedropping dozens (including multiple Dungeon Family members) in the process, what momentum he built with sincerity dashed away at the first sight of the chorus. A simple repetition of the title, with no link to the verses surrounding it, extending out to nearly a minute, 'LAMBORGHINI TRUCK's' hook forces the song to ride with a flat tire all the way to its conclusion. Besides this sudden period of reflection, The Play Don't Care Who Makes It offers little in the way of quality, choosing to throw four meager loosies to fans in hopes of preserving relevance.

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