By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
Man, 2 Chainz is tall. We were going to guess six feet five inches. But one of those oh-so-reliable Internet answers sites lists his official height to be exactly six feet eight inches.
Whatever the number, he needed every bit of it to remain visible over the mob of hangers-on, loose affiliates, and camerapeople who surrounded him at a recent New York City performance of killer cuts off his 2011 mixtapes, February's Codeine Cowboy and November's T.R.U. Realigion.
2 Chainz's success as a rapper is based more on the thrill of recognition than the thrill of innovation. Both onstage and on-record, he does little new. From his flows to his beat selection, though, he does nearly everything with a consistency that has grown increasingly rare.
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Anyone with a DatPiff account can tell you how few of the mixtapes that appear on the site every day remain strong from Track 1 through 15. But last year, 2 Chainz released a pair of surprisingly solid digital slabs. So it comes as no surprise that Codeine Cowboy and T.R.U. Realigion's contents dominate his current live set.
After walking onstage in NYC to Juicy J's "Zip and a Double Cup" and mean-mugging his way through his own "Got One," the artist formerly known as Tity Boi finally put his vocal chords to use as he shout-rapped through "Kitchen," a Lex Luger-produced, Flocka-paraphrasing banger that, placed before "Spend It" on the back end of Codeine Cowboy, is one of the strongest-closing, one-two knockout punches in recent mixtape memory.
Meanwhile, his most infamous banger, "Spend It," accounted for three of the night's most raucous minutes. However, it wasn't just that track that caused the crowd to totally wild out. Oddly enough, 2 Chainz's hooks, while uncomplicated on paper ("The dope man my muh'fucking role model/The dope man my muh'fucking role model"), become impossible not to chant when played at the proper decibel level.
Sure, none will cross over outside the rap blogosphere or have you fiddling with iTunes to figure out that last verse. But 2 Chainz's tracks are all reliably massive. And when laid over the proper Luger or post-Luger beat, they're enough to make him one of the most popular rappers in the South, if not the nation.