Georgia rapper 2 Chainz just put out a new self-released mixtape, “Hibachi for Lunch,” a short seven-song, 22 minute release that affirms one thing: his one-dimensional style of music. The work as a whole is a respectable piece, but it is more or less the same 2 Chainz we have grown accustomed to — an eccentric artist who is trying to expand his range little by little.
First gaining recognition on features of popular songs like Kanye West’s “Mercy” and Fast & Furious’s “We Own It,” 2 Chainz started building his foundation as a formidable and mainstream rapper throughout America. What really helped him amass a loyal following is his unique personality and banter on his GQ Internet series “Most Expensivest $hit,” which gives him the opportunity to try the most lavish food, cars and experiences a hedonist could ask for.
Going back to his music track record, Mr. Chainz’s songs always feel mass produced — a plentiful amount of songs have very similar beats and very similar vocals. This is his third completed project in the calendar year already. His tracks cover the basics on modern rap (girls, parties, and drugs) and are generally very shallow. There is usually little hype surrounding a new drop and subsequently limited media build-up.
Most known for his “trappy” songs with hard, southern hip hop influenced beats, my personal favorites from the artist are his slower, more intimate songs. On the album, the song “Good Drank” (featuring Quavo and Gucci Mane), is a perfect manifestation of that. It features a slow and somber piano keyboard beat accompanied with the artist’s singing tones. With help from a rogue member of Migos and a recently freed Gucci Mane, this song offers a deviation from the typical 2 Chainz party turn-up music.
Both guests on the song refer to topical issues in social media like the death of Harambe and Kevin Durant’s departure from Oklahoma City. (“Three mil in a month, but I just did three years on the bunk/Oh, you in a slump?/I’m headed to Oakland like I’m Kevin Durant.”) This makes for shallow rap that resonates with the younger generation but ultimately has little substance. Once all the smoke and mirrors are cleared, there is little to show for aside from a nostalgic beat and a catchy Quavo chorus.
Another song worth mentioning is “Diamonds Talkin Back,” a not-so-typical 2 Chainz song that still maintains the party anthem theme. However, the beat on this one (produced by Supah Mario) is very unique, giving off an upbeat video-game instrumental vibe. He switches up his flow and rhyme scheme with this track, a welcome sight for those who are accustomed to his often stale rap style. (“Diamonds on me dancing like it’s Breezy over easy/I can buy a hundred easy, I just got a call from Jeezy/I count money ‘til I’m sleepy, ink on my body, graffiti/And you know I come from CP”).
Overall, “Hibachi for Lunch” is a small experimental mixtape that proves that 2 Chainz is trying to push the boundaries of what he is known for. It will take a while to reinvent or even alter his perception to the casual rap fan, but the signature songs on the album will tell a seasoned listener that he is taking the right steps in his evolution as an artist.