2 Chainz - Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, 2017
Signed up the 06/06/2017Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, an album by 2 Chainz
Many artists spend their music careers either trying to recreate the formula of their breakout project or trying to reinvent themselves so as to stay relevant, with varying levels of success. On Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, 2 Chainz opts keep it simple by executing as only he can, whilst calling upon a plethora of producers and well placed features to round out the project and the result is a formidable album, and 2 Chainz' most complete album to date.
One thing that always stands out in 2 Chainz' music is the effortlessness with which he delivers his verses. Between his sharp ear for a good flow, the ease with which he executes and quirky, comedic lines, 2 Chainz delivers on verses more often than not. This is not to say that 2 Chainz isn't to be taken seriously. Tity Boi, as he is also known, will just as quickly ask you about the traumas of witnessing death as he will stunt on you over a touch screen stove.
From the opener, Saturday Night, Chainz makes his intentions very clear over the ominous MikeWillMadeIt production. He doesn’t want to go back to the trap life. His driver better take off his hat when opening the door. His kitchen is looking immaculate. The content is playful but the flow is razor sharp. His cadences are buttery. This is 2 Chainz at the height of his powers.
We then move to the next couple of songs and while it's all still trap, the sounds and textures vary wildly from song to song. The production credits house an eclectic list of the game's hottest producers. Murda Beatz offers 4 AM, a beat which can trace its origins back to the cold environs of the Toronto hip hop scene. He then flips the script with It’s A Vibe, showing his more laid-back sensibilities. OG Kush Diet, produced by FKi, grumbles along with a menacing baseline before erupting into a surprising but well-placed reggae switch-up while 2 Chainz goes off in similar fashion. Good Drank is definitely a standout, with Mike Dean serving up a tight, soulful bop you can trap to, chill to, play in the Uber, or whip out your finest milly rock to.
The features are one of the aspects of the album that have to be noted. Over half of the album's 16 songs contain contributions from guest artists but Chainz is never outdone. He calls up Ear Drummer Records duo Swae Lee and MikeWillMadeIt for Poor Fool and neither disappoint, delivering a poignant chorus and what is one of the better beats on this album respectively. He offers a follow-up to his single Feds Watching, this time enlisting Pharrell for the baile funk-inspired Bailan, a song which doubles down on the tropical aesthetic of Feds. Pharrell croons over the vibey backdrop while Chainz expertly navigates through the 808s, congas and twittering hi-hats with visions of hardtop roofs disappearing under the orange glow of a sunset near the Copacabana. The song is a highlight on the album and between it and Feds, Williams and Chainz prove that a Pharrell x 2 Chainz collaborative project is the album you didn’t know you needed. Drake performs admirably over club banger Big Amount, Monica turns the clock back gracefully on album closer Burglar Bars and The Migos shine on Blue Cheese, a song that sounds like the product of Culture recordings sessions.
With PGLTM, Tity Boi has found a perfect pocket so to speak. He carries himself with the certain air of an OG. A veteran who knows when to press his thumb on a beat and when to let others shine. Whether he’s trading formidable verses with Gucci Mane while Quavo harmonises behind him on Good Drank, or letting Jhene Aiko, Trey Songz and Ty Dolla $ign flex their vocal chords over the laid back smash It’s A Vibe, 2 Chainz is always aware of himself in relation to his collaborators a trait that is invaluable in a post-DJ Khaled era where collaboration is king to a certain extent.
Pretty Girls Like Trap Music is an important album. In a climate where mumble rappers are threatening to take over the mainstream in earnest, where the musical sensibilities of his hometown have become canon for the story of hip-hop in the modern era, 2 Chainz has struck the perfect balance between taking it seriously and taking it easy. The result plays like a medley of 2 Chainz best qualities and for that, PGLTM will go down as a standout, both in 2 Chainz’ discography and in year-end lists.
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