2 Chainz is one of the smartest dudes in rap music, and after seeing him at the Observatory on Sunday night, there's no way you should believe otherwise.
From the moment his hypeman/DJ stepped on to the stage, 2 Chainz seemed to know exactly what he wanted to do with the evening.
After a quick introduction from the DJ, the 6'5" rapper strutted across the stage and began the set with one of his most recent singles, "Lapdance in the Trap House." It was after the first song (and the somewhat-awkward gangly dance moves) that 2 Chainz began to work the audience.
Instead of going the easy route and just mixing his handful of singles into deeper cuts from albums new and old, 2 Chainz decided to give the crowd exactly what he's known for.
The DJ threw on the beat for Drake's "All Me" and 2 Chainz followed spat his verse exactly where it belonged. The track cut immediately following the next chorus and switched beats so 2 Chainz (and the DJ) could do his bits from K Camp's "Cut Her Off" and then Young Dolph's "Pulled Up."
Considering that 2 Chainz has appeared for a verse or a chorus on enough major singles to fill an hour set on their own, it made perfect sense for the Atlanta-based rapper to spin roughly a minute of each song so he could get his parts in live as well. Of course, certain classics like "I Luv Dem Strippers" and new tracks such as "Watch Out" had to surround the abbreviated versions of other people's megahits (in this instance, Juicy J's "Bandz a Make Her Dance"), but that's exactly what 2 Chainz appeared to be shooting for.
Roughly halfway through the set, the rapper admitted to the crowd that he was only playing his old hits because it's what they wanted to hear, and he was more interested in performing the new stuff. By performing a shortened take of other artists' hits, he was virtually guaranteeing the crowd would be thankful enough to hear tunes like Playaz Circle's "Duffle Bag Boy" that they wouldn't mind sitting through tracks they hadn't yet heard on the radio off of Trapavelli Tre.
Once finished with the crowd favorites of "Spend It" and "Riot," 2 Chainz dropped in the chorus of Lil Wayne's "Rich as Fuck" before launching into his latest single, "BFF." Although the audience wasn't as into the new songs as they were the classics, the combination of 2 Chainz sporadic speeches/song introductions and hip-hop hits kept the pace of the show high enough for even the most casual 2 Chainz fan. (Most 2 Chainz fans seem to be casual 2 Chainz fans.)
Following a comical and slightly narcissistic intro/rendition of "Where U Been," 2 Chainz hit the highlight of the night with "Birthday Song." Even though the rapper's birthday isn't until Saturday (Happy 38th, 2 Chainz), the Observatory absolutely became a unified raucous party for one of the most gloriously mystical songs in today's hip-hop scene. The crowd knew exactly what 2 Chainz called the girl with the big booty and precisely what place they were all in for their bad bitch contests. It truly proved that if you don't think 2 Chainz is fully aware of how catchy/pleasantly simple some of his lyrics are, you're totally underestimating him as a writer.
Since no 2 Chainz set would be complete without it, his portion of "Fuckin' Problems" followed the masterpiece of a celebration song. Then, with one of the biggest height differences you'll ever see on a concert stage, TeeFLii came out to perform (or talk over, really) "24 Hours" with 2 Chainz before "I'm Different" and "No Lie" closed out the evening.
Perhaps the most special guest of the performance debuted immediately prior to "I'm Different," when 2 Chainz lit up what appeared to be a three-pronged joint on stage. It wasn't exactly the cross joint from Pineapple Express, but an impressive feat of rolling nonetheless.
About two-thirds of the way through the set, a girl threw a bra on to the stage. When 2 Chainz examined it, there was a full note written inside of it. That's a savvy veteran move, so props to whoever pulled that one off.