2 Chainz, "Based on a T.R.U. Story" (Def Jam)
2 Chainz is this year's rapper delight. Drake dragged him on tour. Kanye featured 2C on his seasonal hit "Mercy." Lil Wayne is holding up release of his own record so that Chainz can bask in No. 1 Billboard glory. Why 2 Chainz, a member of Atlanta's Playaz Circle, is getting such affirmation isn't completely certain. His rough lyrics and flow do contrast intriguingly with the glossy tracks he's on. On his mix tape "Codeine Cowboy," the title tune features an inelegant drawling style that attests to an innate nastiness. That nagging malevolence and downright distastefulness are solidly rendered even if they get tired fast. As in "Yuck!" Chainz seeks ladies not experiencing "their monthlies" while a soundtrack of bristling beats and plush tones waft below his misogynist treachery. On "Extremely Blessed," he takes a date to the Waffle House -- then calls her a chickenhead.
Luckily, producers like The-Dream soak Chainz in a creme caramel velvetness while his aforementioned pals and other guest artists help tell (sell) this "T.R.U. Story." More of the cool blue rap & R&B that silks the track "Stop Me Now" would have worked wonders. Still, this "Story" is a salacious, audacious treat.
A.D. AMOROSI, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Animal Collective, "Centipede Hz" (Domino)
There's an awful lot of shouting on the new album by Animal Collective. That won't surprise anyone who's followed this Baltimore-born outfit since the early 2000s, when it was nibbling at college radio with freaky tribal-noise records. In 2009, though, Animal Collective emerged from its underground burrow with "Merriweather Post Pavilion," a sparklingly melodic psych-pop collection that established the band as indie rock's go-to feel-good crew.
Some of those warm-and-fuzzy vibes remain on "Centipede Hz," as in the bouncy "Rosie Oh" and "Father Time," a celestial funk jam with a groove that seems to stretch to eternity. But recording together in a room (as opposed to assembling songs online) for the first time in years, Animal Collective also re- engaged the primal aggression of its early work: Opener "Moonjock" layers splintered keyboard riffs over heaving marching-band drums, while the breakneck "Monkey Riches" works up to a furious climax of wordless screams. In "Today's Supernatural" the band even reaches back for what feels like its version of a bludgeoning Black Sabbath tune. "Sometimes you gotta go get mad," Avey Tare yowls, and "Centipede Hz" is proof that he means it.
MIKAEL WOOD, LOS ANGELES TIMES