It must be tough to be 2 Chainz. He spent the early part of his career overlooked as Tity Boi. Then he switched his name to 2 Chainz, got hot on the mixtape scene, translated that into mainstream success, and dropped an underwhelming debut album, Based on a T.R.U. Story. That album still managed to debut at No. 1 and go gold. So now, he’s more successful and famous than ever before (also infamous, as the confession “I been locked up more rapping than I did tryna get a brick” explains). But there’s only one problem in 2013: he's been pretty cold. Sure, he still makes the rounds—allegedly earning $100,000 a feature—but he hasn’t had anything on the level of 2012's “Fuckin’ Problems” or “Mercy.” Plus his own single, “Feds Watching,” stalled out at No. 66, unable to match the success of any of his last album’s singles.

And yet, this time around, he made a much better album.

It’s not that his debut was all that bad. But it felt like Chainz put out so much material in 2012 that by the time his album rolled around, he had run out of steam, his punchlines wearing thin. This time, he sounds re-energized and ready to explore more ideas. You expect the laugh-out-loud punchlines, and he delivers those. Opening up his bag of tricks, he experiments with different sounds and structures on songs like “Mainstream Ratchet” and "So We Can Live" (although the Iamsu!–assisted bonus track "Livin'" sounds way too much like “I’m Different”. 

Straight-up bangers like "I Do It" (which features Lil Wayne and Drake) are balanced out nicely with more heartfelt odes like “Outroduction” and "Beautiful Pain.” In the end, Me Time is an album that features everything you love about 2 Chainz, and some things you might not know he had in him. —Insanul Ahmed