Drake did it first, but 2 Chainz did it better. The “it” here refers to ripping off Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” and paying tribute to the legendary rap group Hot Boys — that Cash Money quartet of Juvie, Turk, B.G., and a teenage Lil Wayne. With the video for his new single “Used 2” — from his excellent new album B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time — Chainz does in reality what Drizzy only did in abstract: he reunites the Hot Boys in their hometown of New Orleans, in the process removing his contemporary’s self-mythologizing from current ’90s nostalgia.
Whereas Drake — supposedly a member of the newfangled version of the Hot Boys — mugged and preened for the camera in a Hot Boys costume in the video for “No New Friends,” 2 Chainz cedes the floor to the people he’s borrowing from: Juvie, Mannie, and Turk, most notably, but also to New Orleans locals dancing to the “Triggerman” beat that is the backbone of both the city’s bounce music and “Used 2” itself. 2 Chainz here manages to pay homage to a moment while also creating something individual.
Of course, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that someone with a history of subverting expectation managed to do it again.