Since 2011, 2 Chainz has been a proven rap-feature savant, thanks to dazzling performances on Drake’s “All Me,” A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin' Problems,” and of course, his torrid outburst on G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy.” Despite his reliability and brilliance, Chainz has had trouble storming the best-rapper-alive conversation. He’s had quality singles, “I’m Different” and “Birthday Sex,” but Chainz’s show-stealing features have often overshadowed his solo efforts. Reveling in that underdog spirit of competition, 2 Chainz’s readied his latest, Rap or Go to the League, with a twist, tabbing arguably sports’ most revered athlete, LeBron James, to A&R his fifth album.
Rap or Go to the League finds 2 Chainz parked between his adoration for bars and hoops. For the opening seconds of “Forgiven,” he retrieves audio from his high school basketball days to help shape the poignant track. Anchored by Marsha Ambrosius’ soaring vocals, Chainz reflects on the passing of Lil Fate’s son, who was killed in 2014. Shaken by the demise, Chainz attempts to help his brother-in-war by suggesting prayer as an answer.
“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/Seeing stops once we leave the carriage,” raps Chainz.