2 Chainz gave more glimpses of his future musical direction in a new freestyle for the LA Leakers, a show that has been on an absolute tear when it comes to showcasing the most impressive lyricists in hip-hop. While dropping by the Power 106 studio has always been something of a rite of passage for rappers looking to promote new projects or introduce themselves to the world at large, the past year has seen rappers of greater and greater stature drop by, from rising stars like Cordae and Latto to established industry leaders like Big Sean and J. Cole.
Unsurprisingly, this was far from 2 Chainz’s first appearance. Back in 2017, he stepped all over Kendrick Lamar’s then-new single “DNA.” as he showed off his ability to adjust his flow to sound more like the Compton rapper’s. On his new freestyle, though, he went the other way, forcing a classic hip-hop single to mold to his own flow — although, it’s clear he’s been working on adding more dimension to his delivery as well. Busting raps over Pharcyde’s 1993 classic “Passin’ Me By,” Chainz references the meme-launching Mystikal rhyme about fighting a bear, turning the lyrical grizzly into a silverback gorilla. The result is the same, though: If you see Chainz engaged in fisticuffs with this wild animal, the one needing assistance won’t be the 6’5″ rapper from Atlanta.
Chainz’s song selection is right in line with his recent declaration to move on from trap rap and his recent output incorporating more classic hip-hop boom-bap sounds into his arsenal as he ages into elder-statesman territory looking to follow in the footsteps of other veterans like his ColleGrove 2 partner in rhyme Lil Wayne. Judging from his LA Leakers freestyle, that’ll be a good look on him, but first, he’s finishing his trap career strong with Dope Don’t Sell Itself, due sometime this quarter.