Rating: 7.5 / 10
First and foremost, 2 Chainz isn’t the type of artist you hold to a lyrical standard of, say, a Lupe Fiasco or a Jay-Z. His music is created in a different vein; a charismatic, ridiculous, entertaining vein that can easily go from ludicrous and blatant to devilishly clever within a span of a bar, while keeping an ear to the street, so to speak. That’s not to imply that 2 Chainz isn’t a good rapper; on the technical side, he’s actually as solid as they come, as he’s known for flipping deliveries in order to maintain his unpredictable verse-structure.
With that being said, Based On A T.R.U. Story isn’t the album of the year candidate I secretly hoped it to be. This is also not 2 Chainz best project, or even him at his best due to a few tracks in the early half of the project sounding too redundant. However, move past that, and it’s a solid, fun output with a few singles that should turn heads.
The intro has 2 Chainz at his BEST as far as bars and charisma in “Yuck” (too bad Lil’ Wayne couldn’t have a “Drought 3” style relapse here), and it serves as a barometer to measure the rest of the album. Unfortunately, aside from the “No Lie” single with Drake and the Kanye feature on “Birthday Song“, nothing here truly stands out as great, although there are a notable selections. “I’m Different” has an early 2000s Southern sound to it (as we’re now in 2012, the production sounds almost too simple), “Extremely Blessed” has The-Dream and 2 Chainz sharing on the subject of a fine female, and “Stop Me Now” has him trading bars with Dolla Boy over a soulful sample.
The great tracks start as soon as he begins to take chances, and the Mike Posner feature on “In Town” is as big of a chance you’ll see on the regular edition of the LP. Surprisingly, 2 Chainz handles the song quite well, considering the vibe seems more suited for Posner. “Ghetto Dreams” is more of a lock as far as standout tracks; featuring John Legend and Scarface, it serves as a reflective track that has everyone at their best. 2 Chainz wisely chooses to avoid the punchline-every-bar approach and sticks to the subject of the song (mostly), and proves to be one of the strongest songs on TRU Story that even select Hip-Hop heads should appreciate.
Although there’s a regular version, the deluxe LP is the way to go, as the extra singles help to bring up the replay value of the project as a whole. 2 Chainz takes a huge shot with Chris Brown on “Countdown” due to the nature of the Dubstep-influenced hook, but it works. Another huge gamble pays off as he flips a Weeknd sample and goes into his mixtape form for some of his most flagrant bars to DATE on “Like Me:”
“Me and your girl network, now she wanna know my net worth/
Woodgrain, chestnut, t*ttyf**k, CHEST NUT!”
The vibe continues as the last two tracks has him returning to the familiar sounds of the Don Cannon-produced “I Feel Good” and the previously heard “Riot“.
As it stands, it’s a fun play for 2 Chainz fans, but due to the redundancy for the first half of the LP (which could be due to its sequencing), it suffers. It’s not his best, but it’s not as bad as Internet critics would have you believe as well. Listen to it for yourself, and act accordingly.