2 Chainz is well-defined within the contemporary music landscape. He’s rap’s brazen scholar, a former student-athlete at Alabama State University and Virginia State University who now partially-refers to himself as “Tity Boi,” dating back to his old mixtape days. He’s well-known for his aburdist poetry, his extravagant tastes and his ambitions to run for mayor of his hometown. 2 Chainz is nothing but extra.
However, his latest project, the fantastically-titled The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It EP, pushes against the supernumerary nature that represented 2 Chainz’s older music, perhaps showing a turn of his own innovation.
The four-track EP is basically as long as a walk up State Street; the project’s playtime is neatly distributed across the pinstripe-covered EP, with “LAMBORGHINI TRUCK (ATLANTA SHIT)” being the only track longer than four minutes. Concision is the name of the game on The Play Don’t Care, breaking the modern notion of “more tracks equals more streams, which equals more bucks.”
Don’t be fooled though. The Play Don’t Care is still laden with 2 Chainz’s underrated, yet risible rhyming and lyrical abilities. On The Hit Cartel and June James-produced “OK BITCH,” 2 Chainz dives right into his studded performance, hitting listeners with killer couplets like “You ain’t never make it rain, Tony! Toni! Tone!/ Don’t you know you’re homophonic? Please, don’t approach me” and “Pool in my backyard, I never stuck my feet in/ Rapper made the league and your pockets look petite.”
The project’s best song, “PROUD” features a diabolical cast. Alongside 2 Chainz, YG and Offset tradeoff their own sets of bars while superstar Torontonian T-Minus laid down a beautiful trap mover that’s reserved, yet full of tempo and rhythm. On his first verse, he continues his hot-streak of bar-making while making simple and whimsical lines about making his mom proud seem heavy with emotion. He raps, “T.R.U. University, I pull up and murk a beat/ Mama house was filled up with bags of Hercules/ Soon as I finished pissin’, I put the seat down/ Or my mama’d be cussin’ my damn ass out.”
On closer “LAMBORGHINI TRUCK (ATLANTA SHIT),” 2 Chainz praises Atlanta and all of the people who have helped him throughout life, including creative director – and Madison alum – Virgil Abloh, Atlanta producer Mike WiLL Made-It, members of Atlanta groups Organized Noize, Goodie Mob and Fam Goon, Run the Jewels rapper Killer Mike, Future, Young Thug and many more. The tenderness ends with an outro in which 2 Chainz claims that he has cemented a spot in his new “home,” presumably a euphemism for his place in rap and his place in Atlanta’s history.
The Play Don’t Care is much more than your regular four-song EP. It’s an ode to the hard work that is needed in order to become successful and the people who help one reach this type of status. For 40-year-old 2 Chainz, the journey is endless, so he needs to keep going, keep giving it his all. In the meantime, however, he can sit back, loosen up underneath the sunlight in his home, that has a home, that has a home.