2 Chainz B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (Def Jam) ***
Promoting his second album, the Georgia rapper 2 Chainz promised the record to be a “Me Time experience”, whatever that means. Don’t expect a bunch of plaintive reflections; the promise is more an IMAX projection of his ego rather than intimate diary entries. This is not necessarily a bad thing: from his deliciously elastic drawl to off-the-wall punch lines, 2 Chainz is all about entertainment. B.O.A.T.S. II is in that vein, albeit with a bigger production punch. The standout collaboration here is with none other than Fergie. The Black Eyed Pea, sometimes criticised for adding nothing but eye candy to the group, establishes her hip-hop credentials with saucy rapping on Netflix. The grandiose Black Unicorn also stands out, 2 Chainz’s almost childish material juxtaposing well with producer Manny Fresh’s elegant strings. The album works best when 2 Chainz is unburdened by expectations – thus the collaboration I Do It with Lil Wayne and Drake just drags. The blockbuster hookup finds 2 Chainz sounding too self-conscious, probably the wrong kind of Me Time he was aspiring for.