Someone once told me that good is the worst something can be. That’s the problem with ‘Rap Or Go To The League.’ It’s good and nothing more.
The streaming service era is changing music. Albums drop more frequently than ever. If an album only lasts a week, it is a failure. Great records are timeless. I still listen to Pretty Girls Like Trap Music and Based on a T.R.U Story.
Unlike those, Rap Or Go The League has minimal staying power. The album starts with an old audio clip over a PA announcing 2 Chainz at a high school basketball game. The clip serves as a tone-setter for what should be a victory lap for a hip-hop legend.
The problem is that, aside from a few tracks, Forgiven, Threat 2 Society, Money In The Way, I Said Me, and I’m Not Crazy, Life Is, the album is non-cohesive; the album ain’t it. Chainz plays with a variety of sounds including soul, trap, and west coast, but they don’t stick. His story gets lost in a muddled barrage of braggadocious, generic, and lifeless songs.
The album starts with Forgiven, a fantastic cinematic journey down memory lane. It is Chainz at his best – sinister wordplay over a great beat. Money In The Way is another stand out. The man could have said anything over that beat and it would have worked. Producers JABZ and Buddha Bless made an early contender for the beat of the year.
Rap Or Go To The League was billed as a classic yet sounds like a mixtape. High Top Versace is a run of the mill rap song about 2 Chainz and Young Thug’s love of high fashion. NCCA is cool, the subject matter is excellent, but it sounds like a war chant more than a rap song. The beat is distracting and overshadows his words.
An additional error is the Ariana Grande feature. Why is Ariana Grande on this album? Has she earned the right to be featured on a potential classic rap album? I would have preferred someone with over 20 years in the game, not a current pop sensation. Girl’s Best Friend and 2 Dollar Bill feature repetitive hooks, again, over lifeless west coast sounding production.
Rap Or Go To The League can be summarized with this: Legend has it that 2 Chainz asked for a Jay-Z feature. He said, “next album.” This album was supposed to be a classic in the making. 2 Chainz’s mixtape had more energy and soul. I expected more out of a legend who can tell stories. His story is worth hearing. I only wish we heard it and only it.