Georgia rapper 2 Chainz punctuates his music by shouting his name — “Two Chayyyyynz!” — and listeners have taken to doing the same thing. Not since legendary hypeman Flavor Flav has the rap world produced a character as famous for both a moniker that does double duty as an irresistible exclamation and what he wears around his neck.
2 Chainz has been around for some time, but he has received a burst of new interest in the last year or so. He has had a couple of monster singles (instant club classics “Spend It” and “Riot”) and has dropped popular, charismatic guest verses on everything from Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap” to the G.O.O.D. Music group effort “Birthday Song,” with Kanye West, Pusha T and Big Sean. The new success can be attributed, in part, to a new name and some new necklaces, but the music can also be irresistible. The rapper’s debut studio album, “Based on a T.R.U. Story,” serves as a master class in mainstream hip-hop success.
It’s hard to resist repetitive hooks that aren’t exactly catchy or well-constructed but still get stuck in one’s head even after a single listen: “Imma start a riot, Imma start a riot” from “Riot” and “I got cr’nack / Yeah, I got cr’nack,” from “Crack.” There are appealing sound effects aplenty — at points on the album, Chainz makes like a firing gun and a referee’s whistle, and his die-hard fans know he likes to imitate the “skkkrt” of tires screeching.
There are laughably simple declarations (“She got a big booty / So I call her Big Booty,” from “Birthday”), but also clever punch lines. On The-Dream produced “Extremely Blessed,” he says, “Different day, different escapades / They don’t like it they opinions like Escalades / Everybody got one.” Lines like those go a long way toward silencing talk that the 2 Chainz empire is built solely on a cool catchphrase and a couple of chains — although those things definitely don’t hurt.
— Sarah Godfrey
“Riot,” “Birthday,” “Extremely Blessed”