For many, this time of solitude and quarantining has changed people in various ways. For some, they have been impacted positively by learning new skills, resting, and using this free time to reset. On the contrary, some have been negatively impacted. However, what does 2 Chainz do during an 8-month (and counting) quarantine? He drops a dope brand new album!
After a slight delay, 2 Chainz returned with his sixth studio album, So Help Me God, on Friday (Nov. 13). The album follows 2019’s Rap or Go to the League album and February’s collaborative album with T.R.U., No Face No Case. So Help Me God holds 15 songs and runs for nearly an hour. So Help Me God also features a wide cast of artists such as: Ty Dolla $ign, Brent Fayaz, Lil Uzi Vert, Chief Keef, Mulatto, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and more! The album arrives as one of Chainz’ most creative works. During a virtual interview with Ebro Darden on Apple Music’s “Rap Life Radio,” 2 Chainz shares that he utilized his free time to “dig into his creativity bag.”
“During quarantine, I think we were forced to use what we had to get what we want more than anything.”2 chainz on quarantining via rap life radio with Ebro darden
The creativity shines with the album’s production. Utilizing a plethora of producers, So Help Me God calls on the talents of figures such as: Mike WiLL Made-It, David Banner, Chief Keef, Cool & Dre, Mike Dean, LilJuMadeDaBeat, and many more. The creativity begins with the album’s artwork. Viewers see an 8th grade 2 Chainz wearing 2 chains around his neck and a halo over his high-top fade.
On the album’s opener (“Lambo Wrist”), 2 Chainz gives listeners the main course. He channels much of that vintage 2 Chainz bragging about his wealth and stature in the rap game. With bass-cackling production and elegant trap lyricism, 2 Chainz makes it known that he thinks highly of himself and it is nothing wrong with feeling yourself at all. The cockiness amplifies on the high-energy “Grey Area.” Over the Jay the Great-produced track, Chainz declares that he’s young enough to engage in sex with someone’s mom, sister, and aunt despite being old enough to be their father. It’s disrespectfully pleasant. His choppy flow is so appealing and it makes you want to turn up. Visions of clubs and parties (post Covid of course) with people chanting the chorus immediately fill my mind.
“I just sat up on the stand, told a lie straight to the honor
Old enough to be your Daddy, young enough to f*ck your Mama
All this shit that I have done, I can not believe in karma (Yeah)
Old enough to be your Daddy, young enough to f*ck your Mama (Boom, boom, boom!)“2 Chainz – “Grey Area”
The production takes a soulful turn with the Young Boy Never Broke Again-assisted, “Save Me.” Incorporating a NOLA bounce appeal with nostalgic soulful undertones, “Save Me.” The versatility truly displays on the front row on this album. Chainz takes listeners from NOLA to HBCU Homecoming with the album’s lead single, “Money Maker,” featuring Lil Wayne. Sampling both “Piece of My Love” by Guy & Louisiana’s Southern University’s band version of the song, Chainz and Wayne body the track effortlessly. The two contain a chemistry that allows translates so well musically. Chainz utilizes this moment to highlight black excellence and some of the top HBCU’s in the world like Morehouse, Tuskegee University, FAMU, Alabama State University, Clark Atlanta, and many more.
The sampling continues with the suave “Can’t Go for That.” Taking listeners back to the days of Hall & Oates (“I Can’t Go for That”), and Cameo (“Back and Forth”) Chainz recruits the feature king, Ty Dolla $ign and Lil Duval for this smooth voyage. Chainz praises himself for doing a great job while also reflecting on his addiction to the trap life. The flow is very relaxed. The words flow off his tongue naturally. He nearly makes beating charges and street life sound so luxurious. Ty Dolla’s heavenly ad-libs and chorus seals the deal instantly.
A personal favorite arrives at the soulful “Feel A Way!” No one would have ever thought they’d hear the trio of Kanye West, Brent Fayaz, and 2 Chainz, but it sounds damn good! Brent blesses the track with his ghostly chorus while Kanye makes the listeners literally feel a way as he delivers a controversial verse about slavery. 2 Chainz is very educated in how he delivers his verses. Here he slides in (blatantly) that this will be his final album with Def Jam, making it clear that he is ready to depart the label. He highlights owning his masters and his past street life selling drugs. On the album’s second and final single, “Quarantine Thick,” Chainz calls on the young, fellow Georgian native, Mulatto. The two’s flow mesh together perfectly and they deliver an all-out banger for the ladies during this quarantine.
As the second half of the album begins, 2 Chainz gives listeners that Tity Boi flow and takes them to the street flow. Chainz and Kevin Gates get in the lab with the heavily street influenced, “Ziploc.” On the Chief Keef-produced “Free Lighter,” Chainz flows with the “youngins.” Tapping Lil Uzi Vert and Chief Keef the three go off in the best way. Chainz sets the tone as he raps about being healthy and shelving GMO’s and canned food. Keef and Uzi both rap about their money and wealth. Uzi even comically raps that if he stands on his money he’ll be taller than 2 Chainz himself.
As the album continues, Chainz keeps the fire going with another banger, “Toni.” Bringing the charisma, energy, and creativity, 2 Chainz tells the story of well… Tony! During his talk with Apple Music, Chainz shares the origin of the song’s title saying, “Toni” derives from the neighborhood I’m from, Old National: Everybody who sold powder or anything like that, their name was Tony.”
“You would get called Tony: Black Tony, White Tony, Big Tony, Lil Tony—all the different likenesses. I’m just Big Toni at this particular point in my career. The biggest Toni,” 2 Chainz continues.
The production here is actually one of my favorites! The beat switches briefly and samples David Banner’s, “Like A Pimp,” featuring. Lil Flip. 2 Chainz’ versatility further displays on “Southside Hov.” Paying homage to the great Jay-Z, Chainz not only interpolates Hov’s “Feelin It” track but delivers game to his listeners as he highlights his street and business intelligence.
The theme of reflection continues on the anthem “YRB.” Enlisting Rick Ross and Skooly, Chainz looks back at being broke and having little. He knows his critics could never walk a mile in his shoes. He then shows off his wealth and what his life looks like today (Versace robes, wealth, & luxury living). On “Wait for You to Die,” 2 Chainz makes his message clear: The moment you die, life still continues.
“Yeah, I mean you got, some people out here
Waitin’ on you to die so they can take your girl (Uh, uh)
They wait for you to die
The labels waitin’ on you to die (Yeah)
So they can sit reminisce about you
Some people waitin’ on you to die“2 chainz – “Wait for you to die”
So Help Me God closes with the somber yet lightening “55 Times.” 2 Chainz thrives on his detailed storytelling format of rap. He takes listeners into his life and flashes back to when he heard the news of his friends losing their sons. While it takes something tragic, 2 Chainz understands and realizes that God’s hand is covering him (and continues to) and he raps, “God keep on blessin’ me, I’m doin’ somethin’ right.”
Overall, So Help Me God is solid. Sonically and production wise, the album really shows 2 Chainz in ways that his previous albums have not. His creativity blazes throughout the body of work. The producers did an incredible job and 2 Chainz thrives on the project. Whether delivering the club bangers that we’ve come to love from him or entering a truly reflective, storytelling state of rap, 2 Chainz prospers. His formula is simple – he is simply himself. Any and every time 2 Chainz gets on a beat he does what comes natural to him. For years he’s created a lane that has set him apart from his peers. So Help Me God scores an 8/10.
Top 5 Tracks from So Help Me God:
- Feel a Way
- Free Lighter
- Save Me
- Grey Area
- Southside Hov
Honorable Mentions: Toni, Quarantine Thick, Money Maker, Lambo Wrist, Ziploc