2 Chainz follows up last year’s B.O.A.T.S. with the second installment, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (it’s way more fun to say it as “Boats 2 Me Time”). Apparently, the savant chef decided to include a cookbook “Meal Time” (get it? Me[al] Time?) with the deluxe version of his album. Unfortunately, but not wholly unexpectedly, 2 Chainz’s second record is not quite as flavorful as his cookbook, but it’s a solid effort.
1. “Mainstream Ratchet” is B.O.A.T.S. II summed up in one song.
It’s an obvious play toward mainstream, but the Man of Two Necklaces is also remaining truuuuu to his ratchet roots. In other words, the song itself is about as cohesive as a 2 Chainz record can be, in that it is all over the place. Somber hymnals begin the track, are interrupted with some screaming to foreshadow the cringeworthy raps, and are then followed by some cringeworthy raps. Each successive bridge deserves a wince more pronounced than the previous. Whatever scenario he is addressing ends with “And that’s ratchet huh? / Her ass so big it look like she trying to walk backwards bruh.” He also tries to slip in that his last album was classic, but he’s not getting that by listeners so easy.
2. Despite that, ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year has some surprises up his Givenchy sleeves.
“Feds Watching” is in a league of its own. It’s the highlight of this record. As usual, Pharrell’s voice sounds like it belongs to an angel that dropped out of heaven for the occasion of gifting 2 Chainz with the chorus, and Skateboard P channels that early Neptunes feel. It’s basically a laundry list of attire that the mere rap blogger can’t afford–plus some shit talking–but he goes about it a more mature way. It’s one of those rare glimpses where listeners see is capable of giving them way more than he does on this entire record.
With the blessings of Mannie Fresh, who is listed as producer, “Used 2” is another superlative cut. Adopting Mannie’s flow and part of the beat from “Back That Azz Up,” we’ve all heard way worse remakes to that classic. Besides Mannie, Drumma Boy lends his talents to “U Da Realest,” which is another example of him tapping into his strengths, and particularly excelling at it, even if they’re not incredibly groundbreaking.
3. Unfortunately, every great song is negated by the inclusion of another head-scratching one.
“Netflix” is a weird one. It’s like he’s channeling 2008 with the inclusion of Fergie on “Netflix,” and then Diplo throws it down towards the end with those techno/EDM breakdowns. Before it gets too overwhelming, it’s abruptly over, sort of like a nightmare with Fergie staying in your head for days to come.
4. 2 Chainz luhh the kids.
Ever the renaissance man, enjoying his success in his mid-30s, the inclusion of both Rich Homie Quan and IamSu was touching. Appearing offbeat and almost lazy, it’s safe to say that he is really throwing an alley-oop to Quan on “Extra.” “I just put on the run, 100 piece for a show / I just had a threesome for three weeks in a row / Last name Chainz, first name Two,” is bad, even for him. On the other hand, he sounds energized on “Livin,” and it’s dope to see the League of Starz continue to infiltrate every coast in hip hop with beats like this.
5. Our Poet Laureate will never make a classic album.
And we’re okay with that, as long as he continues to make a few cuts that listeners can enjoy for months to come. And in the strip clubs. People also wouldn’t be mad at another cookbook.