There are no surprises here, thematically, musically, lyrically etc. 2 Chainz wins by sticking to the formula that led to an unbelievable buzz throughout 2011 & 2012. One thing he does do is step up the quality to distinguish his album from his multiple mixtapes. It also doesn't hurt that he has A list of guest appearances to call upon. Kanye West, Drake, John Legend & Scarface clearly believe in this guy and they bring their A game to prove it.
There are some great tracks on this album, from the singles No Lie & Birthday Song to the trunk rattling opener Yuck to the ridiculous beat on Dope Peddler. There are also a few unexpected moments when 2 Chainz slows things down to good effect. In Town with Mike Posner is a good example, so is Like Me which samples The Weeknd and Extremely Blessed is a another winner from The Dream.
2 Chainz built his buzz by working the featured artist circuit like Lil Wayne before him. The advantage of this approach is that he sounds comfortable in any environment so the slow songs work as well as the club songs. That is the true surprise with this release. It is by no means perfect and in particular it is about 5 songs too long (especially the deluxe version). 2 Chainz is also limited as a rapper and his one liners lose their charm 45 minutes into this album.
Many will dismiss this album and I almost did the same. Try it out and it maybe you'll be as surprised as I was