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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Retirement could be approaching for 2 Chainz after this album

“Dope Don’t Sell Itself” is 2 Chainz’s seventh studio album released Feb. 4. His last album was released in November. Photo courtesy of Def Jam Recordings
“Dope Don’t Sell Itself” is 2 Chainz’s seventh studio album released Feb. 4. His last album was released in November.
Photo courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

MICHAEL FOSTER-SANDERS
senior producer
michael.foster-sanders@my.tccd.edu

Legend says the rap game is a young man’s sport. 

Those who don’t have a gimmick or sound dated when the brand new TikTok or Soundcloud rapper comes out end up on a random culture vulture YouTube channel in a “why did they fall off” video. But you also have rappers that defy the odds and play by their own rules.

2 Chainz is one of those rappers that can avoid the misfortune of becoming a has-been. Twenty years into the rap game, he has surpassed his friend Ludacris, the rapper-turned-actor who gave him his first record deal. Chainz has constantly reinvented himself to stay ahead of the curve, but, at the age of 44 and with the new album “Dope Don’t Sell Itself,” does Chainz still have what it takes to compete, or does he need to call for an AARP card and retire?

The album starts with the track “Bet It Back,” and it sets the tone of the album. An audio snippet from a friend of 2 Chainz explains that the studio used for the rise of Chainz’s rap career doubled as a drug stash. Chainz lets the listener know that this double life is what made him who he is now with the chorus, “I have never been a zero / I worked hard to get where I’m at, look at where I’m at / That’s a bet, if I lose the bet, I’ma bet it back.”

“Pop Music” invokes the group 2 Live Crew, and it’s something that will be played in cars and clubs throughout the summer of 2022. This raunchy track features rappers Moneybagg Yo and BeatKing rapping about one thing, sex. It has repetitive lyrics, and it feels like it was made with BeatKing’s preset style since all his beats sound like it was made on a Casio keyboard from 1992.

“Kingpen Ghostwriter” pairs Chainz with rap’s newest superstar Lil Baby. Produced by Budda, the track has a Memphis vibe with dark piano keys, hi-hats and heavy bass. Lil Baby brings the best out of Chainz on this track because he’s rapping to let people know he will go down in Southern rap like the best that did it. But, the listener will also hear the guard changes happening, similar to when Allen Iverson crossed over Michael Jordan during his last year with the Bulls. 

“Outstanding” is a pure radio grab featuring California rapper Roddy Ricch. It’s just basic pop and sounds like it will be featured in an in-store Foot Locker soundtrack. It’s too forced and out of place on a typical 2 Chainz album. Skip it. “Neighbors Know My Name” has Chainz reworking D4L’s hit song “Laffy Taffy” into a track filled with arrogance as he brags about his accomplishments throughout the years. It doesn’t help that the beat is lackluster and tiring.

“10 Bracelets” features NBA Youngboy on a track that sounds like it could’ve been for Youngboy’s album instead. Chainz plays it safe by catering to Youngboy’s audience and dumbs down his lyrical ability. 

The few highlights of the album like “Free B.G.,” which is an ode to locked up rapper B.G., bring out Chainz’s lyrical ability as he dances around the short track like Muhammad Ali in his prime. 

An issue with this album is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be, and the songs are, on average, about 3 minutes long. That’s fine for the most listenable tracks where he’s experimenting with his sound, trying to reach new fans, but for the die-hard fans who have championed 2 Chainz throughout his career, they know he’s better than what’s on this album. 

With this album, 2 Chainz came back like Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards. One more record like this, and he’ll be forced to retire. 

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