More of the same from 2 Chainz, and that's okay by us.
At this point in the Trap-A-Velli mixtape series (and this point in the unkillable career of 2 Chainz) we definitely know what to expect from any new releases.
These are street-leaning tapes with knocking beats. 2 Chainz alternates between acting as the M.C.; keeping the procession of sub-woofer-celebrating productions rolling smooth, and the heckler; taking the air out of what could be an overly serious crackhouse odyssey with throwaway jokes as likely to make you groan as they will make you laugh.
A great example of this comes early on in the tape with the song “Watch Out,” where Chainz seamlessly transitions from a sit-down with Louis Farrakhan to a chorus of “Watch out, lil’ bitch/ you gettin’ mad/ I’m gettin’ rich.”
The most promising thing about Trap-A-Velli Tre is that 2 Chainz is still able to make mixtapes like this after finding mainstream fame. There’s little here that’s trying to court the radio, not a Chris Brown or Ty Dolla $ign collaboration in sight. The most mainstream thing about Trap-A-Velli Tre is the frontloading of all the singles. The first six tracks are clearly made for the casual listener (featuring a who’s who of trap producers from Nard & B to Zaytoven), and the album takes a weird detour from that point.
There’s “I Feel Like,” a genre exercise that answers a question no one has ever asked: “What if Tity Boi was from Houston?” Strangely enough, 2 Chainz's typically jubilant delivery works even when it’s buried in the syrupy, JRPG-remix production.
He follows that with an ultra-slow and uncharacteristically mellow collaboration with The-Dream ("Goat") and a pitch-shifted track delivered from the point of view of a fetus, "Halo (Letter From My Unborn Son)." The two back-to-back represent some of the strangest work that 2 Chainz has ever done. Especially the latter, which would sound more at home on a Lil B or MFDoom tape than the third instalment of Trap-A-Velli.
It can’t be overstated that the centerpiece of 2 Chainz trapping mixtape is a track delivered in chipmunk-voice from what’s supposed to be a pissed-off, unborn child. 2 Chainz is an entertainer in the truest sense, though, so he returns to the crowd-pleasers shortly thereafter.
“If I Didn’t Rap” is an examination of what Tity would do without his current career (for a hint, take a second look at the mixtape title). "El Chapo Jr." is a goofy track comparing Chainz to the notorious cartel leader over a Latin-leaning piano beat. “Lapdance In The Traphouse” is a song that’s so 2 Chainz, it’s almost parody. “Each And Erry One Of Em” is by far the most forgettable track on the whole tape, especially you’ve heard 2 Chainz schtick 14 times. Keep trying to get Cap 1 off the ground, Chainz. It’s going to happen eventually.
As if to remind the listener that he has the capability to step outside the trap, Chainz ends the album with a baby-bottom soft collaboration with Betty Idol. “Blue Dolphin” could be a SNL short playing 2 Chainz against type over easy-listening music, if he wasn’t 100% serious. It’s the only indication on the album that having the Hair Weave Killa leave his comfort zone doesn’t always work.
Overall, Trapavelli Tre is exactly what we want from 2 Chainz: a bunch of trunk rattlers and trap tales with just enough originality thrown in to keep us on our toes.