Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz -- previously known by the incredible monikerTity Boi -- has been making noise lately, bringing out surprise guests like T.I., Young Jeezy and French Montana during recent shows, adding southern validation to Drake's Club Paradise tour and logging collaborations with everyone from Gucci Mane and The Weeknd to Diddy and Chris Brown.
After he stood us up at SXSW so that he could hit the studio with Kanye West, The BoomBox finally got Chainz on the phone and talked with him about his upcoming album Based on a T.R.U. Story, his appearance on the new Nicki Minaj single "Beez in the Trap" and his incendiary new visual for "Riot," which premieres next week.
Tell us about your new video for "Riot." We heard there's a lot of fire involved.
Yeah, it's a movie. Should be coming out real soon. It's a lotta fire, a lotta black smoke, a lotta rioting. The whole inventory, you know what I mean? It felt good to do the video, it came together pretty cool. I can't wait to see it on my big screen.
What's the concept, besides that it's a riot?
That's basically the concept. Energy, crowd participation, riot gear. That became the concept.
How was SXSW?
SXSW was epic for me. I never been before, plan on going back. I had a couple shows there, the crowd was diverse, to say the least. I brought Kanye and Big Sean out one night, shut the whole event down. That's what I do, bring the new energy in, bring that swag. I was received very well down there, actually think I have a show coming up in Austin.
What was the highlight for you?
When I brought Kanye on stage, and then we went in my studio and got some work done -- that was my highlight. It was wonderful, it's a great thing. Everybody was there, all the cameras. You know, surprises is always good for people. It was cool, it was whatever you can imagine. It was really dope, you know.
Watch 2 Chainz Perform With Kanye West at SXSW
Last year, Kanye's performance was the biggest event at SXSW. For him to come out as a surprise guest during your set was a huge.
Wow, I didn't know that. I'm like, I can't believe I didn't know about this damn event. I heard about it or something, but it's huge, and like I said, it was people everywhere. That was real dope, 'cause me and him [Kanye] have been talking, and he just was like "I might show up." I was kinda like, keeping my fingers crossed, you know.
We know you're into fashion, what did you think of the fashion at SXSW?
It wasn't much fashion there. It was hot, dry. People were kinda lettin' it hang out down there. Of course I was swagged up, but it wasn't a lotta fashion down there, in my opinion.
A lotta drunk people walking around?
Yeah, they cool.
You're on Drake's tour. What else do you have going on?
I've been doing spot dates, probably done about 200 shows in a couple years, so it's just workin'. I got "106 & Park" [this] week with Nicki Minaj. I have an album coming out this year, Based on a T.R.U. Story, so working on that, staying consistent.
Talk a little bit about the Nicki Minaj appearance, you're on her second single from her Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded album.
Yeah, it's just a love thing. I think she's performing a lotta records from her album there, so I'm there to show some support and everything, you know.
How was working with her?
It's cool, I've known Nicki for years. Shout out to Lil Wayne, Young Money. I've been extended family for years, so we hadn't been in the booth together, but we've been around each other, we've performed together, we road buses together. To finally get up and do a song and they react like this, it was real good for both of us, you know?
What's up with your album?
It's coming out this year. I'm excited about it. Great features. Excellent production. Still a work in progress. [I'm] about 75 percent done with that.
Any new collaborations?
I may talk about some producers, but I'm gonna have some elements of surprise on the album. Of course I'm workin' wit my Drumma Boys, my C-Notes, my Lex Lugers, my Mike Wills, plus this new generation, the new people that I'm working with as well. It's a well-put together project. It's conceptual, and you should be looking out for some new dope visuals too.
2 Chainz' Based on a T.R.U. Story will be in stores Aug. 14.
Watch 2 Chainz in Red Cafe's "Let it Go" Feat. Diddy & French Montana