2 Chainz

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About 2 Chainz

At first it seemed like he was mostly there for laughs. He was drunk and high at the same time, drinking champagne on an airplane (Kanye West’s “Mercy.1”). He’d take your wife, give her back—nine months later, Similac (Rick Ross, “Spend It”). You could be the realest dude breathing…if he held his breath (“Birthday Song”). But in a move that seemingly nobody saw coming, 2 Chainz became one of the most indispensable rappers of the trap era, a guy whose relatively late start—he was in his mid-thirties before he became a commodity—belied a stamina, perspective, and raw soul that made the rest of the playing field look green by comparison. The jokes stuck: “Need a tat on my stomach that say ‘prawns only,’” went a line on 2017’s “Poor Fool.” But now they came on the back of memories of living in Section 8 housing, prayers that his mom would quit smoking, and real-life reckonings: “If I’m not successful,” he rapped earlier in the same verse, “ain’t nobody gon’ come console me.” Born Tauheed Epps in 1977 in the Atlanta-area city of College Park, he got his start with a duo called Playaz Circle, but didn’t truly break out until the early 2010s. At first, the fame was for guest work: Kanye, Nicki Minaj (“Beez In the Trap”), Juicy J (“Bandz a Make Her Dance”), A$AP Rocky (“F****n’ Problems”). For a minute, it felt like 2 Chainz was a finishing spice for just about every great dish on the menu. But his solo albums got stronger, too: 2017’s Pretty Girls Like Trap Music—a sly, derisive nod to the commercialization of street rap—proved itself a quiet classic, reshaping the aggressive boom of trap as a kind of modern soul music, lived-in, laidback, and heartfelt.

College Park, GA, United States
September 12, 1977
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