[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]
Formerly known as “Tity Boy,” Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz is best known as a member of Ludacris' Disturbing tha Peace crewand one half of Playaz Circle, who has the hit “Duffle Bag Boy.” “Tit” left his R-rated moniker behind after it dawned on him that it could not be uttered on television or radio. His blend of unabashed materialism and brazen sex talk has landed him features with A-Listers like Nicki Minaj and, somehow, Justin Bieber.
2 Chainz' debut album arrived this month, and while Based on a T.R.U. Story is a chart-topping success, critical response has been tepid. Slate says the album is “an undeniable dud.” The Needle Drop calls 2 Chainz' verses “dumber than rocks.” Hip Hop DX describes him as “a character from Chris Rock's gangsta rap parody CB4 but without the knowing humor.” Hey everybody: Back off!
See, 2 Chainz is actually an intelligent guy, and his absurd persona oozes a winking self-awareness. He projects the same loonbat kingpin character as Rick Ross, except that Ross is way more self-serious.
Based On a T.R.U. Story (aka BOATS) is a barrage of outrageous one-liners, each more hilarious and preposterous than the next. One minute, 2 Chainz claims to have a “car so big it got a stripper pole.” The next, he's cooking crack on a George Foreman grill. He's also a self-professed “hair weave killer” who talks about stealing girlfriends the way the Lucky Charms leprechaun talks about marshmallows.
On “Yuck,” he vows to “pass your ho like a hot potato.” The album's Drake-assisted lead single “No Lie” contains the line “I'll take your girl and kidnap her/ Feed her to my mattress,” which is this year's funniest, creepiest sexual boast.
BOATS is comedy rap by design, but 2 Chainz brings more to the table than jokes. His ear for beats yields a selection of sounds rooted in his Southern rap background but not tethered to it, as morose trap fare like “Birthday Song” and “Crack” holds court with the soulful “Stop Me Now” and the sparse Bay Area sound of “I'm Diffrent.” His hot streak as an in-demand guest rapper been repaid with assists from heavyweights Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj, and although 2 Chainz often lets his producers do the heavy lifting, he's sharp enough to keep from being upstaged.
The Tity Boi-2 Chainz name conversion is one of rap's most successful Hail Mary moves since Prince Rakeem and the Genius became the RZA and the GZA. 2 Chainz imparts no wisdom about himself or his world, but his ascent is a triumph of astute marketing know-how and hard work. BOATS peddles studiously lowbrow class clown rap perfectly suited to the Waka Flocka generation. The beats bang, and there's a laugh-out-loud moment on every song.
Besides, how can you not like a man who utters the line “Her pussy so clean I can go to church in it”?