The rapper formerly known as Tity Boi may have changed his name to give his career a resurgence of sorts, but he never compromised his integrity or character. And that’s something to admire.
Coming from the hip-hop hotbed that is Atlanta, it would be understandable to group 2 Chainz into the category of “typical ATL rapper” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s in a league of his own; he doesn’t rely on violent lyrics or boring puns to make his rhymes matter. He’s an OG in that sense – he spits and takes great pride in being an MC and family man.
Sitting down with DJ Drama for his Streetz Is Watchin radio show, he revealed it was difficult for him to connect with fans early on in his career and that was something he couldn’t really understand. However, he had his theories on why it took a little time before fans were drawn to him.
“That’s kind of been my problem the whole time because I had connectivity with my peers, DJs, everybody but it was hard for me to like, connect the dots with the fans for some strange reason,” said 2 Chainz.
“I’m like I’m not sure if it was because I’m like smiling too much, in my personal opinion I felt like because I don’t have like a celebrity girlfriend chick that y’all could like follow her and follow me [on social media]…and I don’t have that like I been with mine for sometime and I’m not really going anywhere. It’s like how can I get the same attention without turning myself into a reality star you know what I mean?”
That disconnection lead to 2 Chainz starting to stunt and partnering with GQ for their Most Expensive Shit web series in order to gain a little exposure and put him in the limelight. The newfound attention never stopped him from focusing on his family however, something he believes most rappers don’t take enough pride in.
“It’s hard to balance this out I think a lot of artists try to act like they don’t have kids,” said the man born Tauheed Epps.
“Half of these rappers got kids going to college this year, orientation right now and there’s like this huge like denial or secret. I can’t see me doing that like if you got an ugly baby then I can get it like some babies are ugly I get it but not mines man. I’m tryna fly out and do shows and everything but I’m tryna spend as much time with them as possible. Make it cool to kick it with ya kids that’s gangster man – if you wanna know what’s gangsta it about doing that because we all got memories of kicking it with outs and we are our parents age when we thought they wasn’t cool.”
His genuine character is expressed in his rhymes and his music caught the attention of Kanye West and Jay-Z when they were in Paris working on Watch The Throne (they were bumping his music throughout the creative process), allowed him to get into contact with Eminem to talk rap and spit a verse (for Em’s upcoming album) and inspired producer Statik Selektah to work on a whole project with him, he said during the interview.
More importantly, his down to Earth demeanour allows him to avoid unnecessary conflict with other rappers as evidenced by his run in with Remy Ma and Papoose, after Nicki Minaj dropped a verse dissing Remy on the “Realize” track off his “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” album.
“I told them that I had no control over someone else’s artistic expression,” said Epps. “I sent her a song, this is what the song apparently made her say or do because I originally only asked Nicki for a hook so for her to do more than the hook, I wasn’t gon’ come back and say you know ‘you doing too much’ you know what I’m saying? I was very appreciative of it.”
He would go on to mention that he’s cool with everyone involved and successfully explained himself to the hip-hop couple saying “…you hate to be caught in the middle of the crossfire but what am I supposed to do, not use the song? Tell her to redo it? I was really stuck with no choice in that.”
In the full interview below (which is split into two videos) 2 Chainz talks about his karate themed projects and the follow up project to them (featuring more Statik Beats), the Migos/Joe Budden incident, speaks more in depth about meeting Eminem, the importance of older rappers letting newer rappers rise to the top and more.