"Rap Or Go To The League" finds 2 Chainz settling into the role of "OG" quite nicely.
For a man who once gave us the eternal gem “she got a big booty so I call her Big Booty,” 2 Chainz has settled nicely into a professorial role. Explaining his intention to “teach” on this latest go-around, the Atlanta rapper has found a welcome platform for his syllabus in Rap Or Go To The League. Of course, a premature step into the role of mentor can be obnoxious if not hard-earned and well deserved. Now, five studio albums deep, the forty-one-year-old Tity Boi has all but earned his keep. As regal in his movements as he is methodical in his vernacular, 2 Chainz has become a benchmark for those seeking longevity.
In order to convey wisdom with a genuine sense of authenticity, one must have lived, and proceed to stand by their own truth. 2 Chainz wastes little time in establishing his own vulnerability, establishing himself as a complex and occasionally flawed protagonist. The product of his environment, 2 Chainz has experienced no shortage of hardships, both directly and vicariously. In one of the album’s more revealing moment, Tity Boi reflects on a harrowing phone call he received from Lil Fate, his friend and former Disturbing The Peace labelmate.
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Got a phone call from Lil' Fate
Somebody shot his son, he didn't make it
My head achin', hands started shakin'
Foul beyond flagrant
He said, "Bro, what I'm supposed to do?"
I paused, remorseful
We been partners since public school
Kids ain't supposed to die before us
As a parent, it's apparent, ain't no parents
The confessional nature of Rap Or Go To The League continues, with 2 Chainz openly reflecting on some of his own darkest moments. Yet in doing so, he sets a point of reference to which we can measure his successes, both financial and personal. Aside from alluding to the importance of “owning your own masters,” “Threat 2 Society” finds 2 Chainz examining his struggle through a biblical lens. By framing demons as the architects of his misfortune, he inherently frames God as the anchor of his salvation. And yet, he currently stands triumphant, as evidenced by the final stanza’s refreshing optimism.
Probably never seen your friend killed
Probably never seen your dad die
Or played dodgeball with fed time
I done some things I ain't proud of
Like sold my mom drugs
The devil put some toxin in me
Demons tryna have an auction in me
They wanna sell my soul
Goin' once, goin' twice, never sold
Best story that was never told
Keep in mind that I have several episodes
A lot of things to be thankful for
A wife and three kids, I may make it four
Though he’ll occasionally slip in a few bawdy bedroom references, 2 Chainz tends to carry himself as a man of integrity. You may recall the man dropping to one knee at the Met Gala, where he proposed to longtime girlfriend of fourteen year, Kesha Ward. While many in the game find themselves embroiled in scandals of the adulterous variety, 2 Chainz continues to lead by example, proving that romance is more than the remedy - it’s the elixir. As the idiom goes, happy wife, happy life. Perhaps more rappers should follow Tity Boi’s lead, and issue a dedication to that special someone.
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Fell in love with a real one, this a dedication
Had 'em patiently waitin' for a revelation
Even when I ain't around, ain't no separation
Your skin's smooth, your eyes brown and you're far from basic
Then we go to different places with no suitcases
But when we come back, we got suitcases
Right now I use love for a medication
Back in the day I'd shoot Cupid with no hesitation
For 2 Chainz, his experiences have birthed within him a unique perspective. For one, his upbringing found him surrounded by violence and a seemingly dual-pronged escape route - though it should be noted that 2 Chainz’ entire project centers around presenting alternatives to the “rap” or “league” roadmap. Yet now, the man boasts a net worth of an approximated six-million dollars. In that sense, he’s able to examine the disparity with a nuanced approach. Unlike somebody born into wealth, 2 Chainz reaped the benefits of his own hustler’s ambition, hardened by an uncompromising environment and conditioned accordingly. When he speaks, he casts no judgment, nor does he apologize for his own upward mobility. Relatable to all walks of life, 2 Chainz' wisdom is universal as it is deeply human. Put aside any preconceived notions and pull up a chair; there's even room for Big Booty.
What bracket that you in, yeah, all of that depends
See the taxes pay the government to build a new bridge
See they take from the rich, give to the poor and sick
And I can't lie, I been on both sides of the fence
See, the education levels 'round here don't exist
Taxes pay 12 but don't pay 'em to kill the kids
What it is? That was just a cellphone in his hand
I think Sam takin' grams out the bag