While Ye and Drake are stealing all the headlines, rap heavy-hitters that would in many other years be at the top of the game are stuck on the margins. Did you know that 2 Chainz dropped a new mixtape last week, or were you paying more attention to Aubrey’s Instagram in hopes of hints relating to Views, or to Kanye’s Twitter and his ludicrous screeds targeting Wiz Khalifa? Well, it’s true: The artist formerly known as Tity Boi surprise-released a new six-track tape just because. Felt Like Cappin is fine, but unfortunately too sleepy to justify much more of a response than the minimal internet buzz it garnered.
Felt Like Cappin comes as a preview, theoretically, of Chainz’s upcoming Collegrove, and it works as a sampler: a handful of solid beats and the Georgian rapper showing off how well he’s done — just to prove he’s still got it, in case you’d forgotten. As such, he drops a couple of solid punchlines (as might be expected) but more often sounds like he’s saving some stuff in the tank for the true test. To that end, the opening title track takes an excellent, bouncy beat from Fki and lets Chainz sit deep in the pocket, relax, and detail a list of his cars and their uses.
Similarly, the icy Mike Will and Zaytoven beat on “MF’N Right” makes Chainz sound like everything’s too easy — and considering the intro chatter about LSD and drink, maybe it was. “Mike told me this gon’ be your favorite song/ Ooh, wear that red one, that my favorite thong,” he drops sleepily, eliciting a chuckle and an eye roll in equal measure.
The only guest on the tape is Lil Wayne, who also has a lot of people eyeing the tank, wondering how much is left in there. Their joint track, “Back on the Bullshyt”, runs primarily on cadence, the slippery way in which Chainz repeats the hook (“You on that bullshit, ain’t ya?”) and Wayne’s bop-bop, pap-pap ad-libs more interesting than either of their lines. “All of my hoes are exotic/ None of your hoes are invited,” he hooks on “Not Invited”, a TM88-produced burner. It sounds just as rushed and goofy as it reads, but when he gets to the end (“None of your hoes, none of your hoes, they can’t get in”), it rolls so quickly off the tongue that you’ll forget the uncertainty you had the first half-dozen repetitions.
Timbaland drops in for “This Me, Fuck It “, his beat composed of (no surprise) Middle Eastern flute, shaking sub bass, tinny cymbal pads, and clattering percussive sounds. And (again no surprise) it’s engaging, even when Chainz isn’t (“Get mine/ Take yours/ Go far/ Go hard/ Go home/ Big mansion”). To that end, Felt Like Cappin works best as a sign that Chainz knows what he’s doing when it comes to picking beats, even when he’s not at the top of his game (or as he perfectly puts it on “This Me”, “Timbo/ Great/ Make beats/ Like steak”). And if he ups his rhymes to their previous heights for Collegrove while also picking out great production, he could be in for a major success.
Essential Tracks: “MF’N Right”, “Felt Like Cappin”