“Rap or Go to the League” – First Reaction Review

Everyone’s favorite trap-star is back for his fifth studio album, and we’re here to review it track-by-track.

Track 1) Forgiven (feat. Marsha Ambrosius)

I’m rather excited for this album – 2 Chainz puts out some pretty decent music in my opinion. This one is grandiose from the start! It’s not Meek Mill intro territory, but this is hard in its own way. The drums are banging and Chainz dropping some knowledge, but gets interrupted by an angelic hook. The beat becomes more atmospheric for the hook but also changes into this 90’s turntable jam, it’s giving me Biggie vibes almost. The outro of the track creeps in like a lullaby as 2 Chainz reminisces on the people that have died in his life. Nice intro; it went really quick for five minutes.

Track 2) Threat 2 Society

Ohhhh I was not ready for this! 2 Chainz is two-for-two on beats so far; this sample is absolutely lovely. Who produced this!? 9th Wonder!! That’s an incredible producer pull from Chainz, and he’s not wasting time proving that he deserves it either. The hook is awesome too, ‘yeah, I’m a threat I’m a threat, threat, threat’ is so simple but is used to perfection without overstaying its welcome. I’d never predict 2 Chainz to rap on this but I’m glad he did. Great track.

Track 3) Money in the Way

This is nice too, smooth horns that carry in well from the last track. Buddah Bless! This is a new flavor from him, and I’m going to need more of it. Chainz picks the perfect flow that pushes rapid-fire but is still silky smooth. ‘I’m on G level’ haha, awesome. This one just flies by, it’s a quick two minutes of 2 Chainz doing what he needs to do to a beat and hopping off. He’s not trying to overdo anything (like Offset last week), he’s just getting on to good beats, saying his piece, and moving on. 

Track 4) Statute of Limitations

This is one-of-a-kind, it’s like a mix of I’m Different with Teach Me How to Dougie’s drumline. This is a classic 2 Chainz track – the kind that made him famous in the first place. Entertaining bars over a hard trap beat never fail. ‘If they don’t like me, then they respect me.’ Fair enough. Another really quick track but it hits the point hard, this album is on cruise control now.

Track 5) High Top Versace (feat. Young Thug)

The beat in the background sounds like Barter 6 Thug; let’s see. Thugger’s hook kind of came and went. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t too memorable, I hope he gets more time on this song. 2 Chainz’s verse is pretty nice, and chalk-filled with classic Chainz bars – the kind that make you want to cringe but you end up laughing. Wow, wait a minute!!! Thug’s energy on the second hook is incredible. It would’ve fit better if he entered in in the middle instead of giving it first, but man, he’s going in. I was worried coming off of the first hook and a disappointing 2018, but Thug is murdering this track. He’s slithering across the beat like a snake, like the old Young Thug would. THIS IS WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT FROM YOU THUG!! A++

Track 6) Whip (feat. Travis Scott)

He’s really going to go from Thug to Travis – I’m all for it. The beat feels like it’s moving underneath Travis’ voice, like it’s creating momentum. Nice hook, but I hope Travis gets a verse like Thug. This beat is tailor-made for Chainz. ‘Alexa play.. play ME,’ that’s what I keep listening to 2 Chainz for. Travis is back in before 2 Chainz gets enough time to shine, but he’s really killing this hook. The beat translates well to him, and feels like old Owl Pharaoh Travis. He’s not getting a second verse though. That was one of the worst hook-to-verse transitions I’ve ever heard (you know what it was if you’re listening along). The second 2 Chainz verse is too short, and ultimately leaves this track underwhelming when it gets back to the last hook. It’s fine, but Travis and Chainz have proven they can do more.

Track 7) NCAA

Great song title, C-Note beat tag, and damn 2 Chainz just took off. This song is villainous. It’s something I could picture the villain in Creed 3 walking into the ring to. While it’s menacing, it’s also head-bopping, and the guitar insert ties it all together. This is an anthem, like something that 2 Chainz made for a movie soundtrack but it was too good for that. The hook is also deadly, and fits the theme of the album perfectly. The second verse focuses on the injustices of the NCAA, specifically Johnny Manziel selling the most jerseys but not making the money for it (insert truuu ad-lib here). It’s great to see rappers supporting athletes and not just referencing them. Great track.

Track 8) Momma I Hit a Lick (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

So now he’s just gonna bring Kendrick on here? Damn. He really went all-out with the features on this thing. This sounds like the Black Panther soundtrack, the hook is kind of bland but my god, when the beat picks up, this is something else. 2 Chainz is maneuvering excellently through a hectic beat and giving quotables left and right. The hook comes in again and despite the randomness, it’s another one that sounds better the second time around. Kendrick just stole this track, He’s about four bars in, but this is his song. Sorry Chainz. Oh, this is a new voice. The production goes from hectic to minimalist as Kendrick debuts a very monotone, sinister voice. This dude just doesn’t stop. Also, drop an album this year; we need it.  

Track 9) Rule the World (feat. Ariana Grande)

This is probably where the album will go from really good and enjoyable to an average project. Yup. Ariana’s hook is so out of place and corny it’s not even funny. The first verse by Chainz goes, but the instrumental and vibe of this track just doesn’t fit. Ariana comes in again and – skip

Track 10) Girl’s Best Friend (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)

Ty Dolla $ign has never given a bad feature. Check the stats, he hasn’t, ever. This song is no different, the hook is equally smooth and rough with Dolla’s preacher-worthy voice in full effect. 2 Chainz isn’t doing much over the beat – it’s really clear that it wasn’t made for him. He’s doing a good job at keeping my attention until Ty Dolla comes in again, but damn, these last two tracks have paled in comparison to the first half of the album. Wasted Ty Dolla feature, not awful but not too good.

Track 11) 2 Dollar Bill (feat. Lil Wayne & E-40)

West coast 2 Chainz is now entering the building. This should pick the album just back up. The hook might be the most 2 Chainz thing of all-time. The two-dollar bill reference is kinda random, but it moves well over the beat. The first verse is pretty good, but I’m just going to be honest, I’m waiting for Wayne. After the second hook he comes in and doesn’t hesitate to rhyme as many words with ‘rare’ as he can. The verse was freaking awesome but criminally short. If you get Lil Wayne, give him a 32-bar to do whatever he wants. E-40 comes in and gives me a thought… The dude is what 2 Chainz is going to be in about ten years if he’s still rapping. His verse is also short but the song as a whole works – this one will be in rotation all summer. 

Track 12) I Said Me 

Hhahahaha what!?!!? Is he sampling The Sound of Music? Wow. It’s not bad but the sample is shockingly high-pitched and at a weird frequency. Okay, I see where this is going. Chainz isn’t using the sample in the track (thank god), but he is doing a wonderful job at making a reminiscent track. This is what 2 Chainz was missing from his arsenal up until PGLTM, and it’s something that he’s surprisingly really good at. It’s hard to picture taking 2 Chainz too seriously but now that the track is playing, it’s hard not to picture taking this seriously. Awesome track, and heart-wrenching too. Might just be the best on the album. 

Track 13) I’m Not Crazy, Life Is (feat. Chance the Rapper & Kodak Black)

Holy Mezmorized by Wiz Khalifa. Go listen to that beat then listen to this one and try to name a difference – you can’t. I’m (to my own surprise) really liking serious Chainz. It’s needed to push the album past just trap bangers. Chance the Rapper, you’ve been missed. Even though I didn’t think Coloring Book deserved the Grammy, the rap game needs your soulful presence. Kodak Black, you haven’t really been missed at all, in fact you’ve been doing a little too much recently, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of your best verses ever. Chainz really picked the features well for most of this album; and for my money, this should’ve been the outro.

Track 14) Sam

This album really flew by. Another song that grabs my attention from the start, this has the potential to be great. We might just need an album of serious 2 Chainz. I never knew his voice could be this somber. He’s really getting straight to the point on this track and touching on everything in a good manner: racial injustice, police killings, and lower-class earnings are all mentioned without being overly-criticized. I still stick by saying the last track could’ve been a nice outro, but this is also one. Strong finish to a good album. 

FINAL RATING (out of 100):