T.R.U. Story: 2 Chainz killed Kocheda [Review]
Edmonton, AB – “Man, I remember when Waka Flocka Flame performed with Steve Aoki, I thought it was going to be horrible. But he fit right in.” Hearing that from a man situated in the line for coat check made me remember that I wasn’t going to a conventional rap show. Nope, I was at the EXPO Centre for Kocheda – a festival described by the organizers as a celebration of new snow. Appropriate, given this was only a week after the first day of winter.
With Deadmau5, 2 Chainz, and Nervo performing, the EXPO Centre was transformed into a warehouse full of ravers as far as the eye could see. But if you mentioned you were there to see a rapper, you got strange stares, or the occasional glare. The ravers weren’t interested in having a rapper ruin their good-natured, Molly-aided fun. And this wouldn’t be like Waka Flocka: a high-energy-stakes gig that could fit in with your run-of-the-mill EDM act. This was 2 Chainz: one of the biggest mainstream rap acts of the past few years.
He was set on winning the crowd over from the get-go. He came on to the stage in a massive parka and a leather skirt that brought up thoughts of Yeezy, himself. There was a DJ in the back and a large video screen on the stage alternating between playing music videos and flashing lyrics. 2 Chainz went for the jugular by starting off with his verse from the most-likely the monster hit of 2012, “Mercy.” It didn’t take long before he had the crowd singing along to every line.
It probably helped that the man could perform. Because perform he did. To describe a 2 Chainz set as “lively” would be an understatement. He engaged with the crowd in a way that starkly contrasted against opener Nervo’s lethargic DJ set and headliner deadmau5’s lacklustre performance. Considering the constraints that DJs have with live performances and how comfortable audiences usually are with said fact, the crowd had its own preconceptions about a rapper performing with two electo acts. 2 Chainz took advantage of that and pulled a masterful coup d’etat, converting the entire crowd into converts ready to scream “TRUUUUUUUU” or “2 CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINZ” at any given moment during the set.
Since signing to Def Jam in 2012, 2 Chainz has turned out hit records, not just his studio debut Based on a T.R.U. Story, but everyone else’s albums too, culminating in what was probably the monster setlist of the year. Name your favourite song. He probably played it. Though he made it clear he was here to promote B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time, from mentioning it in banter to having the cover art as his backdrop. That didn’t stop him from performing a huge amount of material from Based on a T.R.U. Story. “No Lie,” “Birthday Song,” “I’m Different,” “I Luv Dem Strippers,” and “Crack.” All got huge responses from the crowd, and that’s not even touching the large number of killer guest verses we heard during the set: “Mercy,” “All Me,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” and “R.I.P” were all detonated at various moments like hydrogen bombs meant to send the audience into comas of pleasure and bliss.
For an entire hour, we heard nothing but 2 Chainz. He was thoughtful enough to perform a freshly released song in the spirit of the holidays, entitled “Twerk Season.” He even performed the Playaz Circle track, “Duffle Bag Boy,” including that stellar Lil Wayne hook as a shout out to fans who remembered him from his days as Tity Boi. What more holiday cheer do we need from a cool Atlanta rapper but this?
Review by Jibril Yassin for HipHopCanada