The kids from South Park were always laugh til you cry funny. Every episode was something beyond hilarious and cemented the wacky pack from Colorado as one of the funniest cartoons of all time. Then they made a movie. The good times, strung over 90 minutes, was too much. The laughs dried up halfway through and people realized that some things are best in small doses regardless of how T.R.U. their story is.
2 Chainz garnered Lil Wayne’s title as go to feature guy a while back; stealing spotlights and overtaking artists on their own songs with his strangely pubertal lilt and a ‘tude full of urban haughtiness. While most verses were more style than substance, he amassed enough mic time to make believers out of the doubters and earned his own major label offering. Based On a T.R.U. Story is the culmination of all that yeoman work, but just like South Park, 2 Chainz is hella hard to devote an hour and a half to. He has enough features to break the monotony, but even with all the high-powered help, Luda’s old protégé managed to roll out a dull LP.
Unlike Rick Ross, who can take one subject and turn it into a few critically acclaimed albums, 2 Chainz’ limited life experience (crack, hoes, a foreign car and more hoes) just plods on like a Hip-Hop metronome. Don’t get me wrong. You can legitimately enjoy any of these songs on their own if you count yourself as a fan. Well except “Money Machine.” The flow there is disjointed and confused. Then there’s “Countdown,” which displays how cliché Chris Brown has really become and why 2 Chainz should never, ever sing. Okay, never mind that whole enjoying every song thing. The problem is when you put them all together, you end up with a sonically monochromatic album that presents 2 , nee Tity Boi, as a one trick pony. And I’m not sure if it’s a great trick.
“I’m Different” and “Ghetto Dreams” are two tracks that stand head and shoulders above the rest of the offerings, but that’s thanks to the features and production. 2 Chainz juxtaposed against Face in “Ghetto Dreams” is an epic study of Hip-Hop opposites and this is far from Face’s best verse. Kanye West and Nicki Minaj do what they can on “Birthday Song” and “I Love Dem Strippers” respectively, but there really was only so much they could do. The hook in “I Love Dem Strippers” could lull you into a coma. There’s a snoozy crack game to rap game anthem, “Crack” that incorporates an n-luvin pig latin that will have listeners scratching their heads. “Dope Peddler” makes interesting use of the Tom Lehrer sample, but the transition from hook to verse is non-existent.
There were a handful of people out there who expected Based On A T.R.U. Story would be something fantastic. However, if you were basing that desire on what you’ve heard from 2 Chainz thus far, you probably do think this album is fantastic. (Some people really enjoyed that South Park movie.) I can’t say I agree. Much of the production is stock. The lyrics are pedestrian, save some shining moments from the featured artists, and the tedium of it all makes this album feel longer than it really is. 2 Chainz has been grinding for years and I expected he would put his best foot forward considering how hard he’s work to get to this spot. He didn’t.
2.25 Out of 5
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