Well, he has released a pair of albums as Playaz Circle with Dolla Boy -- their 2007 Lil Wayne-supported track 'Duffle Bag Boy,' off the 'Supply & Demand' LP, was certified platinum -- under the watch of Ludacris' DTP Records. But lately, the man born Tauheed Epps has been asserting himself a soloist, making 2 Chainz one of the hottest MCs coming out of Atlanta thanks to his mixtapes -- including 'Codeine Cowboys' and the recently released 'T.R.U. REALigion' -- and the anthemic single 'Spend It.' Right now he's taking full advantage of his growing popularity, by working even harder.
How long has it been since you've been this busy?
I definitely been this busy since my last tape dropped 'T.R.U. REALigion.' For a little over a couple of months I've been going hard as far as doing shows. As far as all the media attention and interviews, really going hard the past two or three months.
How do you stay balanced? Do you ever get overwhelmed?
It's something that I been wanting half of my whole life probably. You learn to take the bitter with the sweet and learn to do the thing you don't feel like doing. It can be beneficial to you and your campaign so that's how I look at it.
How do you find time to record?
It's hard for me to record. Two things: I'm on the road every weekend so it's hard for me to record at my personal studio on the weekend. But for the most part I bought a portable studio -- the MBox and the whole nine -- so when's there's something I really need to do, I don't like doing it but I will record myself. And then send it out to my clean-up engineer before I send it back.
Most of the time that's not for me. If I'm taking my portable studio, I'll do something for me but it's me playing around or it'll be some feature they need to get it back ASAP and they can't wait 'til I get back home to do it.
Was 'T.R.U. REALigion' made that way?
Nah, 'T.R.U. REALigion' was made in the studio. Well, a couple of them was made in different places. 'One Day at a Time' I recorded that in Miami. I did another song in New York, I did the song 'Murder' I got with Kreayshawn, I did that out in L.A. Everywhere I go on my downtime -- when I was in those places as far as New York, Miami, L.A. -- when I had down time I booked some studio time and ended up getting some good stuff done.
It definitely plays like an album. Was that the goal?
Yeah definitely, man. I told somebody today that it was a typo. I feel like someone can sue me for false advertisement because I made it a mixtape and it should say "album" on there. If somebody was really an a--hole they could be like, "Fam, you lied." The case would go far, too; this is an album, there's no way this is a mixtape.
Somebody asked me why I give away all those good songs. I wouldn't be doing this interview now if I didn't have a project that competes with what's going on.
Did you have a plan?
Just a relentless approach to the game, you know what I mean? Just being undeniable, really. Also working on a lot of things. Being polished almost to the point of being flawless. Not all the way flawless but you practice doing so many things. I practiced doing my left hand layups to where if I miss, it's going to surprise me. I practiced recording so much. I practiced having the right mentality, so I expect good things.
I've been fortunate enough to come up under Luda[cris], be on tour with [Lil] Wayne. Learn from some of the successful OG hitmakers and also come from a generation where I know how this beat should sound to get this crowd going and get me to do my 142, 143 an 144 show this weekend. I figure that out; staying active, staying on the road, ya know.
What are some of the key points you picked up rolling with Weezy that keeps you successful?
Coming from the Young Money aspect, it's really doing music. This is a business. I respect that and I took from that the consistency doing music. Music being a job. From Luda, it's more or less you get paid for everything you do. Product placement, if I do this I get paid. It's maximizing all your looks and things like that. For me, I combine the blueprints, mixed with other variables of course, and I just get my own equation, my own outcome.
How does this all compare to when 'Duffle Bag Boy' was on the charts?
Well, 'Duffle Bag Boy' had a megastar on it. I wasn't blind to the fact to know that Lil Wayne did the hook and it was the majority of the record that people would remember. It's more repetitive. So it really showed his range. We just kept it consistent verses so people would listen to the whole song. But now the stuff that's happening is my song, my hooks, my raps, my beat I picked, my delivery. It feels good for it to be me.
Are you still signed to DTP?
Uhh, I don't feel like discussing that stuff.
Surely you've been taking meetings with a lot of different labels looking to sign you.
I'm about to move on in my life, another chapter in my life. So it is what it is. I've matured [and] learned a lot from that situation. I'm actually doing some A&R work on Ludacris's 'Ludaversal' album. He hired me to do that and that's a good look and a job opportunity. One of the songs that's buzzing off his mixtape is 'Bada Boom.' That was one of the first beats I gave him from an A&R perspective. It feels good that something I'm doing is working.
Do you always gravitate towards having an A&R ear?
I picked most of the beats that I put out, me and Dolla [Boy]. No one has just brought us beats with hooks. No one has ever done that to the point where if it happened, I would know how to act or receive it. In one of my meetings they asked, ... "What if I gave you a Trey Songz hook?" I said, "He did already." He already called me and gave me a beat, it was cool.
It's got to be a great feeling know you have this leverage now?
Stupid leverage. Crazy leverage. That's what you want as an artist. They really have to listen and pay attention to what you got to say. They start buying into your vision and stuff like that, especially if it starts working.
If and when you decide to rock with a label, what would they have to bring to the table?
It's gotta be the right situation. 360 [deals] really get on my nerves cause I ain't come from that era. I know that's some bulls---. I hear that's the new thing. There's a few things, of course money. Whatever I do, it's supposed to feel right.
How important is the fashion?
I like to think I'm a "fashionair." I'm from the south side of Atlanta, this is how we do it. We used to be in the trap fresh. I believe impression is everything. I just try to stay up on mine, man. It's what I do, as far as the fashion. I talk about it, it's in my music. I named my tape 'T.R.U. REALigion' because I wear [the brand True Religion] a lot [but] at the same time that's why I came with a concept, a deeper meaning. As far as fashion, that's my thing; Bugatti glasses, Gucci hat, Polo, no camera around whatsoever. This is what I wore to the radio this morning.
What is the next step for you?
The next thing for me is I got a few artists that I'ma be working with, collabing on stuff. I'ma be looking forward to doing a few clothing lines. I wouldn't mind shooting some movie type stuff. We're going to continue recording until hopefully I can get a nice deal where I can be ready to go into album mode and really take it to the next level. I would love touring overseas for a period of time. I would like to do that. That's what I haven't done yet. I've conquered everything else. For me, under Luda, we done did Africa a thousand times, London, Japan. That's what I would like to do. Experience a whole different culture, shop over there.
My last mixtape I bought a nice piece of property. 'Codeine Cowboys' I bought 22 acres. I could build a neighborhood in my yard. I don't have neighbors anymore. I got a little girl... it didn't hit me until Halloween like, yo, we gotta drive to trick or treat. Before that I put out 'Trapavelli 2' and I don't want to say it, but I was the first one with the Panamera Porsche in the A. That mixtape did that for me. A lot of people thought [Ludacris] bought it or it was rented. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not trying to brag about the things that I have, I'm just trying to show people how you can eat off mixtapes and stuff like that. I'm definitely happy about my new home and my purchases, but I'm more happy it came off of my grind.