When 2 Chainz decided to put out a cookbook along with his sophomore album B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime, there were generally two reactions, and only two: it either made perfect sense or none at all. It's the same dichotomy that describes Chainz as a rapper, and makes him simultaneously one of the best and most ridiculous to do it. So with the album digested and on its way to the charts, the staff at XXL decided to take another, closer look at this cookbook. So close a look that we actually, you know, cooked. Flying in the face of many of our natural inclinations, each member of the staff selected one dish from Chainz's cookbook, fired it up on Sunday, and brought it in for a potluck lunch on Monday. The results—good, bad, and delicious—are below. Enjoy. —XXL Staff

Asparagus with Me Time Sauce

I'd never made asparagus before and had to call my mother for directions of how to buy the stuff. After picking out the right asparagus and getting the rest of the ingredients—since I had nothing but the garlic powder at home—I went home and got to work on the dish. I didn't dress up in any tracksuit or even put on 2 Chainz tunes because I didn't think about it until it was too late. But the dish only took me 10 minutes to make. I can't say the directions were that easy as there wasn't a specified amount of Old Bay seasoning for the Me Time Sauce. But they weren't that hard either since the whole thing involved only a handful of steps. I was hoping to start liking asparagus after making it but I didn't like the smell so I never actually tried the finished product. And with the Me Time Sauce, well, it didn't matter how much Old Bay seasoning I was supposed to use, I couldn't find the can of it that I had just bought anyway. So I added some other spice mix thing I had that probably didn't make sense, but I didn't use a lot so I think it will be okay... —Vanessa Satten, Editor-In-Chief


Chicken Marsala

Step one of my recipe called for throwing on my favorite Alexander Wang t-shirt. I substituted this for a white Hanes, which seemed to work out all right. I stuck to the script for the rest of the recipe, though, doing as 2 Chainz instructed, from dicing onions to putting on "U Da Realest" and zoning out. This is a pretty straightforward Chicken Marsala recipe, a flavorful one-pan meal, which means less cleanup at the end. I'd never added mascarpone cheese to Marsala sauce before, but it thickened it up and made it less watery than it usually is. Most valuable takeaway from this experience? I should always leave "U Da Realest" on loop while cooking. It helped me to realize my kitchen quarterback potential, dropping work in the pot. —Christine Werthman, Managing Editor

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa

First off, I was unable to surround myself with a handful of TVs playing SportsCenter, so I settled with my old fashioned tube TV playing the movie Gangsta Squad. Then followed that with cool renditions of lullabies by Jay Z so that my six-week-old son could coo along to it in the background. So the atmosphere was set to begin the cooking adventure with 2 CHAINZ!!

—I started to mix the salsa ingredients but figured out the Mangos I got were too hard. Who the f--- knows how to pick Mangos? Not this guy. So I said forget this salsa and went to buy that dessert salsa. Much better decision.
—Mixed the fresh Canned Crab meat since no Bodega near me had fresh lump crab (go figure) and the rest of the ingredients. I guess this recipe is not for someone that does not live near a good grocery store.
—Coated baking pan with a melted stick of butter and prayed that I would not die of a heart attack. Placed cakes in pan and let cook for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes.
—After letting them cool for a few, I tried them with the "Me Time" sauce and Salsa. It was not bad, though I had to add additional breadcrumbs to make this concoction work since I used crappy canned crabmeat. All in all the crab cakes are merely a 1/2 a chain made by me. —Josh Clutter, Photo Director

shrimp scampi

Shrimp Scampi

As a man who considers himself the Rap Game Morimoto, I was eager in attempting to cook up some marvelous, mouth-watering shit from Chainz’s cookbook. A few years back during my post-college under-employment phase, I went through a brief period of my life where I became obsessed with the programming of the Food Network. As anybody who watches two or more episodes of Iron Chef America in a single sitting can tell you, one begins to develop delusions of grandeur surrounding your cooking ability, though I developed enough of the basics to be competent with anything simplistic.

As a seafood lover, I chose 2 Chainz’s shrimp scampi recipe because shrimp is one of the few foods that is actually relatively difficult to screw up. I was a little nonplussed by the sheer amount of oil required for the dish as two cups of olive oil is a lot more liquid than normally required for these recipes, so I wondered if it was a misprint on the recipe. I was worried that my kitchen would erupt in an oil fire, but I found that other than the pasta being a little greasy, the dish came out relatively well. I have no idea if the recipe’s recommendation for me to play "I Do It" as I did it had any effect on the final product, though. I don’t think "sound" has much effect on shellfish. —B.J. Steiner (@doczeus), Associate Editor


Herb-Crusted Lamb Rib Chops

What’s beef if you got lamb steaks? When you’re cooking, sometimes calling an audible is always better and in this case, it's substituting lamb racks for something a bit meatier. Chainz’s Herb-Crusted Lamb Rib Chops called for a lot of seasoning, which is key when you are capturing a bold and peppery taste full of flavor. One thing to note about the instructions is that it’s very user friendly and made for a loose and fun thing to do in the kitchen. Who can take these seriously when the first bit of instructions is to "crank the 2 Chainz dance?"

After properly seasoning the lamb, it was time to cook. By then, B.O.A.T.S.: #MeTime was halfway in. T-Pain was crooning his ass off as the lamb steaks were getting seared to a golden brown. Next, they were transferred into the oven for 15 minutes or so. Perfection. The juices were flowing. It was hot. And the smell was amazing.

Unfortunately, Chainz didn’t suggest a side of vegetables or rice to go with the lamb. However, that’s one small gripe to an otherwise good recipe. You thought Chainz’s Instagram looked good? He’s cookbook will definitely upgrade your dinner options. True. —Eric Diep (@E_Diep), Associate Editor

Garlic Mashed Potatoes And Green Beans

Being that I am a carb queen and also a lover of mashed potatoes, I chose to make the garlic mashed potatoes. I also opted for the garlic green beans, being that I thought the mashed potatoes would be a piece of cake since I have made them several times. However, unaware of the many ingredients 2 Chainz adds in his potatoes, I now know an alternative way to make the dish which is always a good thing.

The hardest part of preparing the two dishes was finding the ingredients at the supermarket. Finding the heavy cream for the potatoes took all of 30 minutes, since it was my first time cooking with it. Aside from that, cooking both the garlic mashed potatoes and green beans was fairly easy. However, the mashed potatoes were a little harder to prepare because of the three steps and the mashing. Making sure the potatoes came out nice and whipped was a priority. I ended up using my electric whipper because I got a little lazy. All in all, it was a fun process and I enjoyed the references to 2 Chainz’s album. Although they were not needed, they were sure to spark a little laugh and definitely quite random. —Miranda Johnson (@Randa_Writes), Assistant Editor

2 chainz fried chicken

Fried Chicken

Quick back story—I am very confident in my cooking game and consider myself the next Chef Roble. Nevertheless, I've never cooked fried chicken in my life. My family is big on at least trying to eat healthy, so we make baked chicken. Also, I was extremely depressed because my New York Giants looked completely horrendous on Sunday and got worked by the Broncos, so my morale was pretty low. 2 Chainz's "Mealtime" Cookbook instructions was surprisingly very helpful, literally spelling out exactly what you should do in 10 steps. With "Extra" playing in the background from 2 Chainz's sophomore album B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime, I assembled all the ingredients—which unknowingly, I had most of at home—and got to work.

Now supposedly making fried chicken doesn't take too long, however, it felt like an eternity to me. It took me a solid two hours when it was all said and done. Now I did have the Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers Sunday Night football game in the background, so at times I got distracted. However the end result was comforting. The test subject was my little brother and he gave me a thumb up. I tried it and was happy. It could've used some more flavor, but that is why God made the divine gift of hot sauce. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP), Assistant Editor

Kale -Finished


#Mealtime is usually a very #sadtime in my apartment. Because I'm not a fully-formed adult human, most of my meals are consumed in front of a computer and consist of things that a college freshman might consider moderately healthy—shout out to Stacy's Pita Chips—so I knew my experiment with 2 Chainz's cookbook would be a humiliating experience. My first moment of culinary shame came when I visited my local grocery store and searched endlessly for "chicken stock" before finally googling it and discovering that chicken stock and chicken broth are essentially the same thing, even though some cooking forums have hotly contested debates on the subject. I then discovered that my grocery store doesn't carry kale, either. After briefly considering going home and never leaving my apartment again, I convinced my girlfriend to buy some kale at a slightly nicer grocery store and kindly bring it to me. She also agreed to serve as my sous chef, fire marshall and spiritual guru for the cooking process.

While the 2 Chainz cook book is very useful if you want to know what 2 Chainz song to listen while cooking kale ("Black Unicorn," duh), it's not very specific about ingredients or instructions, especially when it comes to serving. The kale turned out fine, but the dish could probably use some almonds or something crunchy to add texture. Actually, I have no idea if that's true, but my girlfriend tasted it and said to say that; I ended up eating two bowls of cereal after finishing the kale. They was Golden Grahams and they were delicious. Sorry 2 Chainz. —Dan Jackson, Associate Editor

shrimp and grits

Shrimp And Grits

To be honest, I didn't know if I was going to make it through this operation; an extreme hangover mixed with my natural, God-given aversion to cooking made it a pretty intimidating prospect. But, as the saying goes—or should go, at the least—nothing cures a hangover better than blasting any 2 Chainz hook at ear-splitting decibels. Luckily, a copy of B.O.A.T.S. II: #MeTime was available (as well as the timely intervention of a few friends) and the shrimp and grits started coming together.

The second admission I'll have to make is that outside of being in charge of the music, I was basically tasked with stirring things and that's it. But the food itself, cooked by more able hands than my own, was outstanding—turkey sausage, cheesy grits, and de-veined, "butterflied" shrimp (I found out what that was) mixed together in a bowl—and made my decision to get out of bed on a Sunday all the more worth it. Compliments to the chef—or chefs, as the case may have been. I'll follow 2 Chainz down this path any day. —Dan Rys (@danrys), Features Editor

More From XXL