"B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time" is the second album from College Park, GA rapper 2 Chainz. The album features guest appearances from Drake, Lil' Wayne, T-Pain and others as well as production by Mike WiLL Made It, Pharrell, Mannie Fresh and others. It is set to be released on September 10, 2013 via Def Jam Recordings, but is currently available for stream over on FistInTheAir.com.
1) Fork - The first song on the album has an extremely dope instrumental, by Mike WiLL Made It and Eardrummers, that has some smooth organs and synths over trunk-rattling 808's. The beat is banging and 2 Chainz sounds pretty good over it, kicking a bunch of boastful rhymes about his money stacks and jewelry and such. I've never really been a fan of 2 Chainz, but this is actually pretty good. I'm impressed so far.
2) 36 - Crak King comes through with a trap-inspired instrumental that I'm not feelin' quite as much as the previous song. The beat is ok and 2 Chainz just spits some drug raps over it, so there's really nothing new going on here. The song is really short though, clocking in at just under a minute and a half, which is probably a good thing. It isn't terrible, but it's definitely not one of the better songs on here for me.
3) Feds Watching - This was the first single from the album and it's actually quite good. The beat, produced by Pharrell, is has a nice, bouncy feel to it and has some of that signature Neptunes sound. Lyrically, 2 Chainz is somewhat less impressive, rapping about how he wants to look fly in case the Feds are watching. Despite the cliche subject matter, I actually found this song to be quite enjoyable. Dope.
4) Where You Been (featuring Cap-1) - Mike WiLL Made It returns with another upbeat instrumental with some synth bells, light keyboards and thunderous bass while 2 Chainz and guest Cap-1 kick some more of their typical boastful/violent rhymes. The beat is dope, but the lyrics are just more of the same old stuff, although I did crack a smile at a few of the one-liners such as:
"I get high and I fly past, I don't know nothing about iChatNot bad.
I work in this iPhone, they need an app called iTrap"
5) I Do It (featuring Drake and Lil Wayne) - The beat on this track, courtesy of D. Rich and Wonder Arillo, has some more trap synths and 808's, but it's got some crazy energy to go along with it as well. The beat is sure to get you hype and 2 Chainz and guests do their thing, especially Lil Wayne who actually flows pretty well on here. This song could probably be a hit if they decide to release it as a single. It's the same old thing lyrically, but the beat and energy of the track coupled with the vibrant flows of each rapper put it a step above some of the other songs on here. Dope.
6) Used 2 - Mannie Fresh comes through with what is probably my favorite beat on the album so far. It reminds me of something Cash Money would have dropped late 90's to early 2000's, which was pretty much all fire. 2 Chainz comes correct and adopts a pseudo-Juvenile flow to keep with the Cash Money theme. Dope shit. I'm really feelin' this track.
7) Netflix (featuring Fergie) - The instrumental on this song, provided by Diplo and Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E., has some soft chimes over synth guitars, a distorted vocal sample and deep bass drums. The beat is dope and 2 Chainz and Fergie sound good over it, but I'm not really feelin' Fergie's verse as much as I am her singing. He should have just kept her on the hook. Regardless, the lyrics are quite humorous for a sex track. Not bad.
8) Extra (featuring Rich Homie Quan) - Wonder Arillo returns with another trap instrumental with some atmospheric keyboards that are pretty sparse throughout the verses and don't really kick in fully until the chorus. 2 Chainz comes with a different delivery than on all of the other songs so far, slowing his flow down a bit to match the tone of the instrumental, while Rich Homie Quan comes with a faster delivery. Eh, this song just never really comes together for me.
9) U Da Realest - Now this is dope. Drumma Boy comes through with a hard ass instrumental for 2 Chainz to do his thing over. The beat is epic in scope, with some soaring synths, soft piano keys and trap drums, and 2 Chainz come correct over it, rapping about his fallen homies and just about death in general. Very nice, but I could have done without the skit intro.
10) Beautiful Pain (featuring Lloyd and Ma$e) - I'm really feelin the Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E. beat on here. The breezy strings and airy synths give it a much softer feel than all of the energetic trap instrumentals on the album so far. Lyrically 2 Chainz is kinda weak on here, but Ma$e rips it and raps about being motivated to succeed in life by watching his parents struggle. Dope shit.
11) So We Can Live (featuring T-Pain) - The beat on this song has a nice instrumental, courtesy of DJ Montay and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, with some beautiful piano keys and soulful synths over head-nodding drums. In a nice change from the rehashed subject matter on the album, 2 Chainz gets a bit introspective on here, rapping about his run-ins with the law as well as about doing what he needs to do in order to survive. After some dope scratching, the beat changes up on the second half of the song to a darker instrumental that sounds more like a mid-90's banger than any of the other trap instrumentals on the album so far. This shit is fire.
12) Mainstream Ratchet - Lil Korey comes through with a very energetic instrumental with frantic pianos, loud synth guitars and earth-shattering 808s as 2 Chainz just spits some verses about ratchet chicks. The beat is pretty ill, but this song is just ok for me. It'll probably blow up in the club though.
13) Black Unicorn (featuring Chrisette Michele and Sunni Patterson) - The beat on this track, provided by DJ Toomp, has an epic feel to it that is in line with many of DJ Toomp's other productions. The beat is really dope and slowly builds up as Sunni Patterson spits a quick verse to start off the song before 2 Chainz comes in closes it out. The hook on here, by Chrisette Michele, is really good as well. Very nice. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
14) Outroduction - The final track on the album has a dope instrumental, by StreetRunner, with a soulful vocal sample, light guitars and mellow drums. 2 Chainz gets a little personal on here yet again, rapping about growing up and about his past struggles:
"And I smoke just to ease the painNice way to end out the album.
So hungry I used to try to eat the rain
Well at least until the pizza came
Or at least until polices came"
*The following tracks are available as bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition of the album.*
15) Employee of the Month - The first bonus track has an crazy instrumental, provided by Diplo and FKi, that has a smooth, almost electronica/EDM feel to it, but layered over hip-hop drums. The beat is ill and 2 Chainz spits his usual rhymes over it, rapping about a beautiful women that he calls the "employee of the month." Not bad for a bonus track.
16) Live and Learn (It Will) (featuring Dolla Boy and Pusha T) - The beat on this track, courtesy of V Don, has a really unique feel to it, with some spaced-out synths and slower drums. Sonically this is really dope and has a different vibe than the normal trap instrumentals out there. Lyrically 2 Chainz and guests come correct, with Pusha T having the strongest verse in my opinion. Dope.
17) Livin (featuring IAMSU!) - The final bonus track has a somewhat generic trap instrumental, by League of Starz, that I'm not feelin' as much as the other two bonus tracks. The beat is mellow and 2 Chainz and IAMSU! sound ok over it, but nothing really jumps out at me as being great on here. It's not terrible, but it's definitely not my favorite.
I'm going to rate the album
3.25 / 5
because it's actually surprisingly good. The beats are pretty much fire throughout, with only a handful of which that I'm not really feeling. Even those are not that terrible, I just feel like there are others on the album that are much better. I have never considered myself a fan of 2 Chainz, but he actually sounds pretty good on here in some spots. He rehashes the same cliche rap lyrics over and over, but his flow is energetic and has a good sense of humor in his rhymes. I'd like to see him try something new every once in a while, though, if simply for the sake of variety. He did start changing up the topics a bit at the end there, but the first half of the album was really just the same lyrics over a different beat on every song. Despite that criticism, there are some really good tracks on here that shouldn't be missed. Pick it up on iTunes or via the Amazon link below.