Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)
“There are a lot of black cards in the building," 2 Chainz exclaimed last night, surveying the crowd at the listening party for his debut solo album, Based on a T.R.U. Story (out Aug. 14). In addition to the press and media types who were eager to hear the album—despite the noise that comes with a packed venue providing complimentary Ciroc—Def Jam peers Rick Ross, DJ Khaled and label president Joie Manda showed up at NYC's Jay-Z-owned 40/40 Club to support their teammate.
"This record is worth buying," Chainz said as he played previously unheard songs from the album. Though he only played portions of each track, hardly revealing titles and opting to let the audience figure out guest appearance, the record did not disappoint. Like his last mixtape, T.R.U. is mostly full of fun trap music.
On one cut called “I'm Different,” he declares that pulling “up to scene with my ceiling missing" is what separates him from competitors. On "Extremely Blessed" with The-Dream, he tells a chick, "If you a chicken head, go somewhere and lay some eggs." A track with Nicki Minaj has him announcing, "Yeah, I love strippers." Another song samples The Weeknd's “The Birds.”
Before playing his latest single, "Birthday Song," he confirmed that he spent the earlier part of the day filming a video for the banger with its featured guest, Kanye West.
"This record means a lot to me for a lot of different reasons,” Chainz said before playing "Ghetto Dreams," which features singer John Legend and Houston rap legend Scarface. “It's a feel good record.” A song with R&B star Chris Brown followed. "I hope you like it," Chainz added. The crowd reaction seemed to suggest that most did.
2 Chainz apparently made a conscious decision to have a listening party where he'd only play snippets of his album, and in a noisy environment, as opposed to a conventional listening session where journalists and bloggers sit down for a quality studio listen. He feared that his album would leak if placed in the wrong hands.
As one Def Jam associate explained last night, such caution is the reason their projects don't leak way ahead of scheduled release dates like they used to. For example, Rick Ross' new album God Forgives, I Don't officially hit stores today and leaked late last week. In the past, an album that anticipated may have hit the Internet weeks ago.
"That's the new shit,” the Def Jam employee elaborated. “That's how the shit doesn't leak. They don't even give it to us until they absolutely have to." If this trend keeps up, even the thirstiest bootlegger will have to wait until practically August 14 to get their mitts on Based on a T.R.U. Story.
After hearing portions of it last night, that it will make an impact expected of one whose star has risen as fast as 2 Chainz's can be said confidently—whenever the album arrives.