Monday, April 16th, 2018

2 Chainz ft. YG and Offset – Proud

Mother’s Day is less than four weeks away!


Rebecca A. Gowns: This is so cute. I’m beaming with all the maternal love I can muster. There might be some cynical marketing behind it — “Who still buys music in 2018? Moms!” — but I don’t wanna hear it. Cute lyrics, cute guys, hugs and kisses all around.

Jonathan Bradley: The thug sensitivity of 2Pac’s “Dear Mama” is still hip-hop’s template for maternal appreciation, so it’s nice of 2 Chainz to recognize that moms appreciate bangers too.

Ryo Miyauchi: This may be 2 Chainz’s song, but YG has some advantage over the Mustard-for-2018 beat that the three each write their Mother’s Day card greetings on. He shifts through a couple different styles to thank his mom for teaching him a couple different lessons: on trust, business and always giving back when you return home. The others touch those for sure, 2 Chainz with more sly humor, but YG sounds the most happy to be his mother’s son.

Micha Cavaseno: Despite a diminished commercial presence, YG is feeling like he’s on the approach of one of his best years as a rapper. His features on high-profile content service providerers like Lil Xan and Cardi B have demonstrated a hunger he’s been divorced from for a minute, and on “Proud” he’s no different. Look, there’s no point in talking about how Offset turned on autopilot here, or how 2 Chainz has run out of Gucci and Wayne characteristics to bite and pass off as a personality so now he’s doing college-boy Young Dolph records. This beat is whatever. I just want to talk about the way YG manages to sound like his mother would accept and even feel proud about him wailing about buying guns and that there’s not that many rappers who are so disconnected from reality and yet still able to convey resonant feelings.

Alfred Soto: “I kicked the door, I risked it all for dough,” Offset avers, waving away the inconvenient fact that this attitude, by his own definition, makes him the ho whom he and his bros dismiss so coldly. Oh well — I don’t rate these guys on consistency, just beats and imagination, which are here below average.

Edward Okulicz: There’s an unsettling undertone to this beat that makes the lyrics about making your mama proud come across as fearful and scared, and this gives it a weird and satisfying tension. Really it sounds custom made for Offset more than anything, but I like the idea that maybe 2 Chainz is steeling himself before committing some kind of unspeakable and unrhymeable atrocity for his mama’s sake. Or that he’s doing it to escape his mama’s wrath — check the incredible video!

Julian Axelrod: My opinion of the track is definitely colored by its insanely charming video, which colors in the thematic gaps of this admittedly patchy concept. But I can’t remember the last ode to a rapper’s mama that didn’t dip into schmaltz, so I’m willing to grade this on a curve. YG sounds like he retrofitted an existing verse with shout-outs to his mom, but Offset’s turn is his most focused in ages. (Maybe his ten thousand hours of “Momma!” ad libs finally paid off.) And, as usual, 2 Chainz walks away with his own song: His verse is funny, nostalgic, tense, and heartwarming at the same time, and it makes me genuinely awed and scared of Mama Chainz. And like his mom, I love 2 Chainz and I love seeing him do his best.

Andy Hutchins: Putting aside the video — hilarious and heartwarming in all the right ways, if somewhat off-putting thanks to YG’s mother’s enthusiasm for “Ho bitches gettin’ fucked on the flo'” — the idea here is that young men wanting to make their mothers proud is the material for a jam even outside of Drake’s entire catalog. Mostly, that bears out: The appealing mix of drum chops and 2 a.m.-ready synths means this really could work in a club. But while I get YG, 12 days older than I am, and Offset, six weeks older than my older brother, still fixating on maternal approval, 2 Chainz is 41. I suspect Mom Chainz has figured out whether she’s proud by now, and “me and Mama used to trap out the same house” is a bar that could have been a better, richer song than this one.

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