2 Chainz is tearing up the mainstream hip-hop game right now, but I’m onto his method.
I have a confession: while I’m working out, I enjoy “ratchet rap” – the in-your-face, ignorant hip-hop that is in no way intelligent or even moderately thought-provoking. Hip-hop gets me going in the morning and puts me to sleep at night. The genre is a major component of my life, and I consider it a true form of expression and a pivotal outlet for many kids who need the positive distraction. Some of hip-hop’s deepest modern artists – like Lupe Fiasco and Macklemore – send my head spinning and leave it in motion for days.
But some of the stuff just doesn’t make sense, and 2 Chainz is the leader of the tomfoolery. 2 Chainz is one of the hottest mainstream hip-hop artists right now. He even has a new Champs Sports commercial. Lately, as I’ve been running around my neighborhood or lifting weights in the gym, his illogical music has pierced through my headphones and left me thinking, wait … what in the world did he just say?
I may be the color of mayonnaise, but I’m onto you, 2 Chainz, and it’s time to inform the world.
The phrase “non sequitur” is Latin for “it does not follow.” As Wikipedia states: “In a non sequitur, the conclusion could be either true or false, but the argument is fallacious because there is a disconnection between the premise and the conclusion.”
When 2 Chainz is featured in songs – notably hits “Mercy” by Pusha T and “Bands A Make Her Dance” by Juicy J – he sticks to making obscure food references (such as ketchup, cheese, and bread) while discussing women in extreme detail, referring to alcohol and drugs, and displaying extreme affection for his coupe. But his most popular individual songs follow the formula below.
Step One: Come up with a really catchy beat
Step Two: Propose some deep, reflective question
Step Three: Respond to the question with a completely irrelevant, shallow line – videlicet, a non sequitur
For analysis, let’s look at his two biggest songs of late.
1. “I’m Different”
True difference is respectable and, quite frankly, it’s rare among stars in modern society. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” So for acknowledging your difference, 2 Chainz, I salute you.
However, it’s unclear just how you are different. “I’m different, yeah, I’m different,” he raps in the chorus. Good! I’m glad to see that. Now tell us how you’re different.
“Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing,” ummm, “Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing.”
Question: what is so different about driving around in a convertible? Plenty of people do that. You just leave me wondering and never answer the question of how, in fact, you are different, 2 Chainz.
2. “Birthday Song”
Once every month at the student publication I run, The Spectrum, a few of the arts editors put together a Mixtape Monthly in which they review the hottest hip-hop set to release. In October, they described 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” as follows: “That song alone will have you ready to flip glass tables and throw diamonds into the crowd. If you have subwoofers in your car, we highly recommend playing this song as ride up music for anywhere you go.”
I agree! It’s amazing pump-up music, and it’ll probably get you more hype than anything from Lupe or Macklemore. But it’s from 2 Chainz, so does it make sense? Of course not. Look at the chorus.
“They ask me what I do and who I do it for.” I’m sure a lot of people have wondered this, 2 Chainz. Who do you rap for? Who was your influence, your role model to get caught up in this high-octane rap game?
“And how I come up with this sh** up in the studio.” You do think of some absurd lines. So what’s your answer? Who IS your inspiration? And how DO you come up with “this sh**?”
“All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.” Come on. You can’t be serious, man. “All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.”
I mean, if that’s what you really want, enjoy your birthday, but you still didn’t answer any of the questions you posed.
If that sequence doesn’t prove it, I don’t know if anything will: 2 Chainz is one of the all-time masters of the non sequitur.