So Help Me God!

So Help Me God!

“I like to describe So Help Me God! as a light during a dark time,” 2 Chainz tells Apple Music. “It's a time capsule of what we've been experiencing during this pandemic, during this year. But it's the light side. It's the other side of the pillow.” Before COVID-19 changed the direction of 2020 for the world, 2 Chainz had already delivered No Face No Case, a project serving mostly to showcase his T.R.U. clique. The pandemic would void any plans of in-person promotion, so in addition to the extra time he’d get with family, Chainz did what he’s always done, retreating to the studio to accumulate music for what would eventually become So Help Me God! Feeling the weight of the era like everyone else, he focused his creative energy on delivering a proper distraction, a body of work that features a diversity of production (Mike WiLL Made-It, Cool & Dre, David Banner, Chief Keef), guest vocals (Kanye West, Mulatto, Kevin Gates, Brent Faiyaz), and novel concepts, all which speak to the MC’s impeccable taste and uncanny ability to wring humour from the street life he knows so well. (See “Vampire” for a hilariously pointed quip about how he distinguishes hustlers who’ve always had money from those who are new to it.) “When people hear this album, they can't tell me they knew I was coming like this,” 2 Chainz says. “Ain’t no way. I switch my pitch every time. So, that's what this is. We're switching up the pitch.” Read on as 2 Chainz breaks down So Help Me God! track by track and explains what makes it the next best installment in his catalogue. Lambo Wrist “Most of the time I like to warm people up—I might give them their soup and their salad before I give them their meal. But this time was a little bit different: I was trying to go entrée first and just recognize what I do, who I am, and what I bring to the game. Sometimes confidence and cockiness can get misconstrued, but I do feel like I'm one of the best to do this, so I didn't want to play with them this time.” Grey Area “I went to the ’yo and I was rocking with my man Dallas Martin and he had a young producer over there, Jay the Great. When producers play beats, they [get] three to five. I don't like to listen to beats all day. I don't want to hear your 'experimental folder.' So I told them three to five beats, and this was the third beat and I just went straight in, and that’s what was on my mind, I guess.” Save Me (feat. YoungBoy Never Broke Again) “I be doing a little light production around here. People don’t be knowing, but [the bounce] element is what I added to the record because, one, it has my man on there, NBA YoungBoy, and he's from Baton Rouge and that's just an element that they have in some of their music. I didn't want it to be overbearing, but I’m like, we coming with this nostalgic R&B with this bounce, this is a wave, this is a vibe. I could see me doing three or four more joints like this.” Money Maker (feat. Lil Wayne) “[Me and Wayne] are actually working on ColleGrove 2, so while we were doing that, I sent him this from my album. I needed him on this. One reason is because I got the sample from Southern [Louisiana’s Southern University] but I just be trying to make everything make sense, sonically and conceptually. [‘Money Maker’] is an articulation of the Black experience, the HBCU experience, band culture, halftime, all of those things rolled into one. And then ‘Piece of My Love’ is top of the food chain.” Can’t Go for That (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil Duval) “Using Ty Dolla $ign and Lil Duval, that idea came from when JAY-Z did ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ when there were different people doing different hooks, from Biz Markie to maybe Beanie Sigel? It was different voices. So for [Lil Duval and Ty Dolla $ign], I had originally called on them to do the hooks differently, but I put them all together and it leads up to the point at the end where you just hear Ty going crazy. It rises with each hook, but people don't really notice it, and then at the end it's a jam session.” Feel a Way (feat. Kanye West and Brent Faiyaz) “The thing with me is I’m able to do a lot of different things. I'm also someone that may be a little too in-tune or be a little too smart when it comes to the process, because I'm data-driven as well and I understand what the majority of the fans like to hear from 2 Chainz. But I got other bags. I have a whole folder full of this vibe if you need that.” Quarantine Thick (feat. Mulatto) “Mulatto is from the South side. She from Clayco: Clayton County is where I'm from. I thought, who's new or fresh who I can support and it'd be organic—she pulled up on me at the studio and we knocked that shit out. So I fuck with her for that.” Ziploc (feat. Kevin Gates) “Kevin Gates pulled up on me at my crib in LA, and we went in. In this time of pandemics and internet, a lot of features are done through email—you send them and send them back—but when he came through, we vibed, we chilled, we chopped it up for an hour or so. Then we pulled up some beats and we did that one on the spot. It was one of my most memorable recording sessions because of just how we were getting to it on that thing, for real. Steel sharpens steel.” Free Lighter (feat. Lil Uzi Vert & Chief Keef) “People don't know, man, I've rocked with Sosa, I be hollering at Sosa, I like what he do, I like how he bring his individuality to the game. Chief Keef is one of them people that we have to give him his roses too and he hard on the beats, too. So I talked to him and I said, 'Send me some beats.' Then I did it and I sent it back and he thought it was so hard, he jumped on it. I think then Uzi may have heard it, and it just came together super organically. It's one of them records that I've been sitting on. I've been ready to get that boy out of here.” Toni “Toni talks in third person a lot. So, it's conceptual. 'Toni' derives from the neighbourhood I’m from, Old National: Everybody who sold powder or anything like that, their name was Tony. You would get called Tony: Black Tony, White Tony, Big Tony, Lil Tony—all the different likenesses. I'm just Big Toni at this particular point in my career. The biggest Toni.” Southside Hov “I got a lot of admiration for the big homie, he been around for a few decades. He's been relevant and successful, in our eyes. He’s a businessman, philanthropist, he be helping the hood; married with the kids. He's not a bad person to look at when you want some advice or trying to figure a couple of things out. So I just really talk about my business savvy on there, mixed with my hustling savvy, which is kind of where he came from, the same thing. From hustling to the Fortune 500 type of flow.” Vampire “So I got the track from Dallas [Martin] and I do the track and I loved the track. And then I sent it back to Cool & Dre and they give it back to me all different—with heavy 808s…like some Florida shit. Maybe the beat was unfinished when I got it, but they don't know I fell in love with it like that. So I had to take things back off or whatever, but I've been fans of those boys. I've been fucking with those boys forever. It was just time to do it, and it was time to do something different.” YRB (feat. Rick Ross & Skooly) “So we needed a little spoken word on here, and my boy MIKE DEAN had made this, like, four-bar pass, with just the vibes. Then my boy KY, who mixes all my stuff, he was like, ‘You gotta put Big Rube on here to give them folks some game.’ [We placed it] right before Ross come on and it just fit like a glove.” Wait for You to Die “I had a little partner pass away, he was only 17 years old. And he passed away from something unfortunate, but I saw somebody else say, ‘I never looked up to nobody younger than me before.’ So it was about how he didn't even know. No one knew that. As soon as you die, somebody want your girl, the label make money off of you—like all this stuff is going to happen as soon as you pass away. So, it's just like a reality check. David Banner did the beat, too.” 55 Times “I’ve talked about this before, but I have a couple of friends whose sons have passed away. My homie Crazy called me one time and told me that Big’s son just got killed and I didn't believe it. So Big called me a lot of times before I answered the phone. I don’t know if it was 55 times, but it was a lot of times before I found out the horrible news. And then when Johnny passed, I was asleep, out of town, and my wife was calling. I don't know what happened, either, my phone was dead or—by the time I got to the phone, I had so many missed calls and it was bad news. So basically with this song I talk about how God keeps blessing me for some reason. I was in a storytelling format where I talk about some of the dark times, but how God continues to bless me throughout.”

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