For the most part many people forget about Playaz Circle. They tend to forget abouth that Atlanta based duo consisting of Dolla Boy and Tity Boi. Their biggest hit was the Lil' Wayne assisted "Duffle Bag Boy". Even as I write this I remember singing that song to exhaustion. Hell, I even still remember the words. They also had a few minor hits after that one, including "Look What I Got".
As most good duos tend to do, Tity Boi went about the business of working on some solo projects. And in the process of doing that he did a few things. The first was that he came up with mixtapes that are often hailed as amazing. Trap-A-Velli is the one most often named when that subject is broached. Another is Codeine Cowboy, a personal favorite of mine.
The next thing he did was change his name...but not really. The name Tity Boi gave something of a negative connotation to people. So he starts to go by his nickname for himself, the moniker of 2 Chainz. I felt this oddly clever simply because he changed the media's perception by simply going by something he'd beem calling himself anyway.
Finally he crossed over to the mainstream in such a way that he is still relevant to the streets and the diehard fans he'd had before he was featured on every popular track ever. It's like a reverse Lil' Wayne, maybe. It didn't hurt that he happened to find himself closely affiliated with Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint.
Armed with this he gave us his debut studio album Based On A T.R.U. Story. Sonically it is quite amazing. Being honest, the lyrical nature of it is simplistic but that's what works about 2 Chainz. You don't listen to him for deep metaphors or things of that nature. Despite that, it's a fun album to listen to and it has great songs. Here are my five favorites in order:
1. "Stop Me Now"-I fell in love from the moment I heard the vocal sample belting out that admonition of "Nothing in the whole wide world can stop me..." 2 Chainz is amazing on this one simply because it feels almost motivational. Former Playaz Circle cohort comes through to grace the track and it feels good to hear the two on a track together.
2. "Birthday Song"-This is one of those songs you feel slightly bad for liking, if only for a second. The bass and the pace of the beat takes all that from you. It's 2 Chainz at his best. His rapping over this beat is fun and so damn catchy that I am fighting the urge to get up and dance right now. Kanye West comes in and does what he does best, which is be Kanye. Together they make an unstoppable juggernaut of a track. And the hook is my favorite: All I want for my birthday is a big booty ho.
3. "In Town"-As far as features go, I was scarcely expecting a 2 Chainz and Mike Posner collaboration. Imagine my shock to hear it. "In Town" is basically about two people who usually end up having sex when the male comes in town. Somehow between Posner's voice and 2 Chainz's presence it sounds damn near romantic and rhythmic. It's odd but damned if it doesn't work.
4. "Yuck"-"Yuck" is an amazing collection of punchlines put into one track. For that I first appreciated it. It was also to hear Lil' Wayne relegated to hook duty, a position he plays very well. This song is clever to me because of the great one-liners and the delivery of them. A favorite part would have to be after he says this line: We pass your girl like a hot potato. Suddenly the beat stops and he dramatizies the act of two guys passing her. That is very hilarious to me. Clever, too.
5. "Countdown"-Not to put too fine a point on it, "Countdown" is a rather sexy song. The imagery puts you in the mind of that hook-up after the club. For that you need Chris Brown crooning over the beat. This seems to be in the wheelhouse of 2 Chainz who takes this beat and drips the suggestive thoughts over your consciousness. More than anything, this feels like the club or more specifically the strip club.
2 Chainz debuts with a bang. I love it. Now all I hope is that he can capture that same magic on a sophomore effort. Only time will tell there. Tru!!!
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine