ALBUM REVIEW: 2 Chainz, Dope Don't Sell Itself
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
I think it’s safe to say that 2 Chainz is one of the more consistent rappers to date. This Atlanta rapper’s distinctive voice as he yells out “truuuuuu,” or “Tony!” on tracks and features really captures your attention as he raps about trapping or his hilarious anecdotes of situations that no one other than him would be able to pull off. He really has a gift of writing bars that are not only hard hitting, but are also funny. His personality really shines on his newest album, Dope Don’t Sell Itself.
I think he TRU-ly sets himself apart from rappers of today by being a middle child if you may. He’s been in the game long enough to demand our respect, but he’s still able to stay relevant by utilizing modern trap production with some great play on words throughout the project. “Bet It Back” has this upbeat sound that has this interesting sound where it sounds like the beat is skkrting like a record is being scratched, but sounds pretty good. I really like his delivery on a line where he says that “you n****s ain’t agin’ well-you like Steve Francis,” because Steve Francis is a basketball player who started his career super strong in the NBA, but later in life he was arrested for drunk driving, threatened public servants and arrested for burglary. 2 Chainz has been in the game for so long and has been able to focus on his career, while his other peers get into legal troubles. He also has a line where he has a million dollars for every tat other rappers have on their face. I feel like 2 Chainz is one of the only rappers who can flex on the new generation of rappers.
“Pop Music” is one of my favorites on this album. Even though the adlib in the beginning was borderline cringe, the song is saved once we’re slapped in the face with a beat thicker than the girl 2 Chainz had in mind while writing this track. This track feels like it could be a club banger with it’s upbeat energy and funny quotable lines such as “Make that n**** buy you somethin’ then say you bought that shit.” Moneybagg Yo’s feature on this track is just as fun as 2 Chainz as he raps about a beautiful woman twerking so well that he’s gotta put her in a Benz.
2 Chainz has a good flow over the beat on “Kingpen Ghostwriter” and creates this sinister sounding track that’s versatile to compliment both his and Lil Baby’s distinctive flows. “Outstanding” kind of reminds me of Kanye’s “So Appalled” because of how ridiculous the subject matter is with “Thirty bitches in the living room, dancin,.” This track also features Roddy Ricch on the chorus and this feature does not sound like the rapper at all. It’s like they lowered his voice as he sings with this monotone tone. On the next track, “Neighbors Know My Name” 2 Chainz shows off his hilariously tough personality on the chorus as he raps “I bet the neighbors know my name, they call me ‘Oh fuck, oh shit.’”
“Million Dollars Worth of Game” is one of the best tracks on this project. 2 Chainz and 42 Dugg compliment each other super well as they rap over this ridiculously sick beat that sounds like it’s made with a recorder. I can’t believe that Lil Ju was able to make such a tough beat with such a wimpy instrument. The guy is talented. 42 Dugg on the chorus sounds a little like Kodak Black but his verse still slaps and is so catchy you can’t help but listen to the track over and over.
I like the message behind “Lost Kings.” as Sleepy Rose sings, “how the hell a n**** supposed to breathe? / if all they do is kill off all the kings,” The circle of violence has lasting effects in neighborhoods especially when someone is able to get out of the hood and become successful, but end up like dead like so many rappers of today such as King Von, Young Dolph, Nipsey Hussle, the list goes on and on. It’s really sad to think how difficult it must be to want better for yourself and even when you do achieve it, you can’t even breathe or else you might end up being a lost king.
This project was really fun.The production on this album was masterfully done to give 2 Chainz a much needed face lift to keep him on the same level of the contemporary rappers that are featured on the project. It’s exactly what you would expect from 2 Chainz, a trap album with a lot of personality. He doesn’t really reinvent the wheel or anything but is able to provide some catchy one liners and some hard bars now and then.