Tirhakah Love (@catalytic92)
This summer, mainstream hip-hop artists introduced what will most likely be called the advent of the post-youth hip-hop movement. Two of rap music’s greatest acts, Jay Z and Kanye West, released albums that would lead listeners to believe they had become disenchanted with American celebrity; the former, disconnecting himself with youth culture almost completely (I mean seriously, how much did HOV just s!@# on twitter and molly) and the latter expressing his complete dissatisfaction with the VIP.
But if rap’s greatest bragger and it’s most emotionally invested artists’ notion of disenchantment youth is getting you down, turn to none other than 2 Chainz (36) to lift your spirits. Unlike Jay and Ye, this artist is fully committed to keeping up with the youngsters. His third studio album, Me Time, presents the rapper as a fun experimenter of sounds that occasionally translate into above average records (in the case of So We Can Live featuring T-Pain) but in others turn into a torturous test of our listening endurance (U Da Realest). In essence, it is admirable that 2 Chainz (aka Tity Boi) is trying out new ways of production but most of the time it does not really work in his favor.
The album opens with a declaration: “I had a dream that rap wouldn’t work.” Unfortunately, at certain points within the album, that dream became a reality. It is important to note though, that the high points of the album are experienced through 2 Chainz full out commitment to the minimalist work. There are other times when we can hear the experimentation but are left craving the commitment. Perfectly illustrated is the contrast between the tracks, “Extra” featuring Rich Homie Quan and “Outroduction.” The former, is a neo-minimalist beat featuring a heavy Yeezus-esque bass, but it is brimming in a thick empty space that felt particularly disarming. The latter however, is a smooth, hook-less success with a heavy sample that works as a backdrop to some clever, introspective rhymes that touch on some equally burdensome subject matter.
At his best, 2 Chainz is a fun pop artist who knows how to sell a hook and can deliver a strong verse or two as well. In Me Time, we see glimmers of his kind of brilliance but it seems as if he is not extremely comfortable with the dry sound just yet. In fact, for the first half of the album, it felt like he was grasping at straws trying to articulate his lifestyle in an accessible way. It is not until, “Beautiful Pain” that I really feel like I am listening to a decent 2 Chainz (by decent here, I mean one that sounds fully comfortable on the track). Me Time presents an artist who is attempting to think greater by removing all the background noise that we are accustomed to. However, the spectrum of his experimentation is so narrow that a listener cannot move along with him. Instead, we are left with sporadic above-average music clumped between trial-and-error tracks that go absolutely nowhere.
- 2 Chainz – “B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time” – ALBUM REVIEW (jakobsalbumreviews.wordpress.com)