Last year 2 Chainz reportedly spent $1 million on a blimp to announce a rap album. On the 1st of March we were given Rap Or Go To The League, the fifth studio album by the American rapper, 2 Chainz.
The lyrical content of Rap Or Go To The League is self-progressive and more personal than 2 Chainz’s past albums. The rapper focuses on married family life, while also addressing the dark side of money and layering themes of basketball throughout the album.
Opening track “Forgiven” is a wavy rhythmic song with additional vocals from Marsha Ambrosius and Francis Farewell Starlite of Francis & the Lights, to set the stage for the personal tone of the album. “Threat 2 Society” brings a soulful energy with a sample from The Truthettes’s “So Good To Be Alive,” and 2 Chainz reflecting on his life of playing basketball, selling dope, and watching people around him die. He closes out the track rapping about marrying his wife and having a big lifestyle, before we hear the sample singing “It’s so good just to be alive” a few last times.
“Money In The Way” keeps a positive mood with the inclusion of horns in the background of 2 Chainz’s bars on the negative side of money. In “Statue of Limitations,” he continues to mention his old life, “Ex-drug dealer ex-athlete // used to take people’s girl with me.”
Rap Or Go To The League is packed with featured guests like Jay Z, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, and more. Yung Thug shows up on “High Top Versace,” a song about Versace shoes, and you can’t help but smile when Yung Thug raps comparing himself to the old educational TV-show character, Caillou. 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar brag about their success on their first direct collaboration, “Momma I Hit A Lick,” produced by Pharrel Williams. Ariana Grande’s angelic voice compliments 2 Chainz’s deep voice in his rhymes on “Rule the World,” and Ty Dolla$ign joins 2 Chainz in rapping about diamonds in “Girl’s Best Friend.” The features continue with E-40 and Lil’ Waye on “2 Dollar Bill,” and Chance the Rapper and Kodak Black on “I’m not Crazy, Life is.”
The final track, “Sam,” is a slower melody with verses about taxes and a sample from “Hi Life” by UGK. 2 Chainz makes references to Uncle Sam “takin’ grams out the bag” and getting advice from Diddy, before closing the album out with his final lines: “Right then I knew I needed to dust my shoulders off // and keep movin’.” Listeners are left with the echo of “High life” and the 54 minutes that is Rap Or Go To The League, is over.
Written by Stephanie Regan