Def Jam
Def Jam

Despite not having released a solo studio album in nearly four years, 2 Chainz has remained one of the more active artists in all of rap, dropping three mixtapes—Felt Like Cappin; Daniel Son; Necklace Don and Hibachi for Lunch—and the ColleGrove collaborative album with Lil Wayne in 2016 alone. Continuing to keep his name in the thick of things, the artist formerly known as Tity Boi returns with his long-awaited third solo album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, the follow-up to his 2013 effort, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, and a project that captures him as he harkens back to his formative years in the trenches of Atlanta.

"Have you ever seen a homicide?/Have you ever seen ya partna die?/Have you ever been traumatized," 2 Chainz asks on "Saturday Night," as he opens the proceedings, rhyming with fervor over wailing guitars, guttural drums and ghastly keys, provided by Mike WiLL Made-It and Ducko Mcfli. Years removed from his split with Ludacris and his Disturbing Tha Peace label—although the split appeared to be fairly amicable at the time—the air is cleared regarding the nature of 2 Chainz's departure on "Saturday Night." He also details the past friction between T.I. and Disturbing Tha Peace co-founder Chaka Zulu. Just short of a confessional, "Saturday Night" is indicative of 2 Chainz's willingness to give more insight into his present and past, a constant theme throughout Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.

Keeping in tune with the album's title, 2 Chainz pays homage to his stomping grounds on "Riverdale Rd"—a street where he came of age and plied his trade—before connecting with Quavo and Gucci Mane on "Good Drank," the first of a number of high-profile collaborations on Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. Produced by Mike Dean, "Good Drank" finds Gucci Mane basking in his post-prison success, rapping, "Three mil' in a month, but I just did three years on a bunk/Oh, you in a slump, I'm headed to Oakland like Kevin Durant," extending his victory lap and adding to his laundry list of show-stealing guest appearances.

Taking a swipe at the government and mumble rappers on the FKi 1st-produced "Realize," 2 Chainz takes a backseat to costar Nicki Minaj, who tackles the hook, singing, "Realize/A lot of these niggas tell real lies," before throwing a few shots at a particular adversary from The Bronx named Remy Ma. "I've been winning eight years consistently, at least respect it/Papoose wrote a 'Ether' record/But I broke Aretha record," Minaj digs, alleging that Remy Ma's "Shether" diss was a product of her husband Papoose's pen and not her own, as well as noting her own standing as one of the most successful female artists in music history.

"Poor fool, streets don't love you like I do," Rae Sremmurd member Swae Lee croons on the Mike WiLL Made-It banger, "Poor Fool," a solid offering on Pretty Girls Like Trap Music that precedes Drake's appearance on "Big Amount." The album reaches a crescendo with "It's a Vibe," a groovy departure from the more acerbic compositions on 2 Chainz's latest. "It's a Vibe" employs the talents of R&B stars Jhené Aiko, Trey Songz and Ty Dolla $ign, who each get frisky over production from G Koop and Murda." The producers litter the track with bluesy guitar riffs and steady percussion, over which 2 Chainz maneuvers, delivering a stanza that strays off topic, but is efficient nonetheless.

Additional highlights from Pretty Girls Like Trap Music include "Blue Cheese," a Migos-assisted tune that's ostentatious, with Quavo bragging, "50,000 on me, I'm a walkin' lick," and the Pharrell Williams-produced "Bailan," a breezy offering powered by conga drums and thunderous bass.

"’Cause you got a deep title don't mean that you deep/Substance shallow on shit creek," 2 Chainz warns on the Pretty Girls Like Trap Music finale "Burglar Bars," an impassioned testimonial that finds him giving an account of his exploits in the street and his evolution into a rap entrepreneur. "See my verses are better and my subject is realer/See my mom was an addict and my dad was the dealer," 2 Chainz spouts over a soulful backdrop from Mike Dean, ending his third long player on a triumphant note.

Regarded as a hit-maker with some of the more enthralling guest appearances in recent memory under his belt, 2 Chainz reminds listeners that he's just as apt at putting together a cohesive body of work as he is outshining your favorites on their own. Although a bit reliant on features, resulting in lost opportunities for 2 Chainz to really dig deep within himself and give the listeners more of Tauheed Epps the man, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music is an explosive collection of songs that showcases the colorful rhyme animal at the top of his game.

See Fans' Predictions for the Hip-Hop Songs That Will Rule Summer 2017

More From XXL