Review Summary: I want my trap back.
I know what you’re thinking. “A 4.5 for a 2 Chainz mixtape? Really?” And the answer is… Yes. A thousand times yes. See, the biggest mistake any “music fan” makes is going into every album they listen to looking for qualities that allow them to 5 it on sputnik and join the circle-jerk of gushing over how much of a classic it is. And, sure, a 5 is definitely a rating that an album has to earn, and nothing feels better than discovering a classic; whether it be a personal 5, or an album that legitimately changed the entire landscape of music. But should everything you listen to be rated and ranked relative to a classic album? The answer is no. Some albums strive to be nothing more than fun, and FreeBase
is an absolute blast to listen to.
The fun begins right with the first skit on FreeBase
. Shane Caldwell gives a brilliant lecture against the dangers of free basing cocaine, which leads into the best track on the mixtape, “Trap Back.” Not only is this the best track on the mixtape, but I would go so far as to say that it is the best hip-hop song to come out this year, mainstream or underground. From the grimy and trap-influenced beat, the Step Brothers sample, and the sleaziest flow 2 Chainz has ever adapted, every aspect of this song oozes charisma. The bar is set so high with “Trap Back” that it would almost seem impossible for Mr. Chainz to reach the standard set for himself, but he does again, and again, for the rest of the 7-song mixtape.
One of the biggest problems with previous 2 Chainz endeavors was Chainz himself, and his lackluster rapping. The production always far outshone 2 Chainz, and it brought down the overall quality of the album. That is not the case here, and 2 Chainz has improved his rapping ability tenfold. Whether it be the variety of flows he is able to rap with, or his absolutely bizarre and hilarious punch lines, there is never a boring moment. Where else do you get to hear somebody spit such gold as, “***ed that bitch right on the sink/Is it the pussy or is it the faucet?” or “They need ding-a-ling for the trampoline/Cause all these bitches want to do is jump on the dick?” 2 Chainz lyrics may not be life changing, but they are anything but boring. And this leads to the worst aspect of the album. While none of the guest artists verses are terrible, none of them quite match the energy or charisma that 2 Chainz uses to carry his verses. It’s nearly impossible to compete when the whole time you’re waiting for 2 Chainz to rap again so you can be entertained by more of his so-bad-they’re-good lyrics.
Despite its minor flaws, FreeBase
is a lesson in how to have fun. 2 Chainz never aims any higher than to make music that you can blast in your car with your friends and laugh hysterically at his outrageous punch lines, and because of this he never disappoints. Go into this album with an open mind, willing to have fun and rank it on its own scale, and you will find enjoyment. Not everything that is good or great has potential to be a classic, and FreeBase
is a perfect example of that.