2 Chainz Makes Rap an Old Man's Game with Most Recent EP
Issue   |   Tue, 02/20/2018 - 22:35
Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org
Active as a hip hop artist since 1997, 2 Chainz proves that his age won’t hinder his art, in the release of his most recent EP, “The Play Don’t Care Who Make It.”

In an early 2015 interview with “GQ,” Young Thug bashed older rappers by saying, “If you’re 30, 40 years old, you’re not getting listened to … I’m pretty sure Jay-Z don’t wanna rap right now.” After watching the critical acclaim pour in for Jay-Z’s “4:44” and 2 Chainz’ “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music,” he might want to consider issuing an apology.

Young artists invariably believe that their fame and money will last past their primes, and, spoiler alert, it doesn’t happen often. Regardless of their profession, the savviest artists, athletes and businesspeople understand that an underrated attribute of a successful career is longevity. If an individual truly aspires to dominate and thrive in their field, they must continue to produce high-quality work.

2 Chainz’ EP, “The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It,” which was released on Feb. 8, builds on the success of “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” (“PGLTM”) and reinforces 2 Chainz’ spot in rap’s upper echelon. It opens with “OK BITCH,” which embraces the popular contemporary trap flute beat but features 2 Chainz’s signature piano beat as a twist. While the chorus offers little in the way of lyricism, the verses in between are classic 2 Chainz. Few other rappers could intersperse lines with other thematically unrelated lines, but he does it with ease: “Two double cups, make it look Weezy / Too much shrimp got me lookin’ queasy.”

On “PROUD,” the second song on the EP, 2 Chainz includes the storytelling of YG and Offset in an ode to their mothers. Despite the fact that the tone of the song wouldn’t be out of place on a gangster YG album, the motivation behind the song and its execution make it a touching tribute to the artists’ mothers. 2 Chainz raps: “I’m just tryna make my mama proud / I ain’t trying to let my mama down,” while Offset talks about how his mother imparted her street wisdom onto him: “Mama taught me how to get that bankroll / Yeah, vault up in my loft in case the bank close.”

“LAND OF THE FREAKS” might be the top song on the album sound-wise. Over a relaxed trap beat, 2 Chainz unleashes his deadliest lyrics of the EP: “Alka-Seltzer Cold, your career started fizzin’ / You gon’ need four pair Cartier’s to see my vision.”

On the final track of the EP, “LAMBORGHINI TRUCK (ATLANTA S**T)” he references a multitude of musical and cultural icons such as Mike Will and Virgil Abloh, as well as fixtures of the Atlanta hip-hop community like Migos and Young Jeezy.
“LAMBORGHINI TRUCK” both reads like a hall of fame acceptance speech and feels almost like a farewell song due to its soulful beat, and if 2 Chains retired today, it would be a fitting final release.

Overall, “The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It” is more restrained and subdued than 2 Chainz’s early-career releases. Gone are the bass-rattling club anthems, replaced by the precision and creativity found on “PGLTM.”

This subtle transformation was inevitable and necessary — 2 Chainz is now 40 years old. However, he has found a way to tone down his sounds while still engaging his listeners.

“The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It” takes its name from a quote given by the college football head coach Jimbo Fisher, who now coaches at Texas A&M University after an incredibly successful run at Florida State University. Fisher meant that, regardless of whether you’re the star player or a backup buried at the bottom of the depth chart, you still have the ability and the duty to make the play.

This EP is the most aptly titled of any of 2 Chainz’ works, not only describing his musical mentality but also the current state of music.

Specifically, it means that regardless of his age or musical style, 2 Chainz can still release popular and enjoyable music.

Any artist can ascend to the top of the game thanks to the many platforms that can increase exposure, such as SoundCloud, YouTube and standard streaming services. For now, though, they all have to contend with 2 Chainz at the top.