On an all-new “Drink Champs,” 2 Chainz discusses his career over the years, beefing with Jack Thriller, being signed to Luda’s DTP label and much more.
Before becoming known by his current moniker, 2 Chainz originally went by the stage name Tity Boi and served as one-half of College Park hip hop duo Playaz Circle, alongside childhood friend Dolla Boy. In 2007, the pair was signed to Ludacris’ Disturbing tha Peace (DTP), a subsidiary of Def Jam, subsequently releasing a handful of mixtapes before departing from Luda’s imprint. After changing his name, 2 Chainz built his fanbase in Atlanta’s hip hop scene as a solo act and signed a direct contract with Def Jam. In 2011, the rapper released his critically acclaimed mixtape T.R.U. REALigion, which gained attention for tracks like “Got One,” “Spend It (Remix)” featuring T.I., and “K.O.” featuring Big Sean — to name a few.
In 2012, he went on to release his Grammy-nominated debut album Based on a T.R.U. Story, which propelled the rising artist into commercial success with songs like “No Lie” featuring Drake, “Birthday Song” featuring Kanye West, and “I’m Different.” The project became his first RIAA-certified platinum album. In the years that followed, 2 Chainz continued to rise into the mainstream, featuring on hit singles like Drake’s “All Me,” A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems,” and Kanye West’s “Mercy.” He also landed his first sync placement with 2013’s “We Own It” alongside Wiz Khalifa on the Fast & Furious 6 soundtrack. In 2017, the icon released his fourth studio album Pretty Girls Love Trap Music, which later peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Albums and Rap Albums charts and became his second platinum album. The project hailed songs like “Good Drank,” “It’s A Vibe” and “Big Amount,” which further cemented the legend’s presence in hip-hop.
Now, having a whopping seven albums and just over one dozen mixtapes under his belt, 2 Chainz is often celebrated as a catalyst for Atlanta’s hip hop scene in the 2010s. His latest string of projects include 2019’s Rap or Go to the League, 2020’s So Help Me God!, and 2022’s Million Dollars Worth of Game. In February, 2 Chainz dropped his seventh studio album and second project of the year, aptly titled Dope Don’t Sell Itself. The 12-track project, which boasts features from Lil Baby, 42 Dugg, Swae Lee, Lil Durk and more, debuted and peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 charts upon release. Currently, he is working on yet another full-length release and collaborative projects with Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Statik Selektah.
Below, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from our 2 Chainz “Drink Champs” interview. Be sure to tune in if you haven’t already.
1. On embracing the youth in hip hop
Having a long list of collaborative efforts over the last several years, 2 Chainz cites his work with newer generations of hip hop artists as one of the reasons he’s been able to remain relevant in today’s music climate. Acts like 42 Dugg, Lil Baby, Latto and YoungBoy Never Broke Again are among the many newfangled artists that he’s worked with on his latest string of projects.
“It’s a couple of things that older artists in the past — that we’ve seen could maybe hamper them or make them fizzle out a little faster and that’s: not embracing the youth and the young artists coming up doing great things,” 2 Chainz shares. “I’m smart enough to want to learn more. I’m smart enough to want to learn from some older than me and younger than me. I think that’s what kind of helps me stay around and be present.”
2. On strippers being the best A&Rs in Atlanta
Strip club culture has an extremely unique relationship with Atlanta’s music scene, with many notable clubs like Magic City being mentioned in songs by a plethora of artists, while subsequently becoming a hub for artists to get heard. Since the emergence of rappers like T.I., Ludacris and Jeezy in the early 2000s — and even more recent names like Future — strip clubs have risen among the ranks as one of the most efficient ways to get exposure in Georgia. Most certainly, 2 Chainz has embraced this tried-and-true method — from his Nicki Minaj-assisted track “I Luv Dem Strippers” all the way to appearing on Juicy J’s RIAA-certified platinum song “Bandz a Make Her Dance.”
“The dancers are really like the A&Rs for Atlanta. That’s how we stay on top because the records get broke … they tell the DJ, ‘I need to hear this song. It’s going to make these niggas tip.’ If it’s your song, you can tell your trajectory from there,” 2 Chainz states. Previously, he also mentioned, “When ‘BMF’ came, it just made you want to spend your money. It made you want to be a part of that flex, and it made strip clubs way more popular and it made girls want to dance. It actually helped out the Atlanta scene.”
3. On his deluxe album and collaborative projects with Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Statik Selektah
While on the topic of his recently released seventh studio album Dope Don’t Sell Itself, 2 Chainz announces the forthcoming deluxe edition of the project. The deluxe version will add a whopping five new songs to the 12-track offering. One song features former collaborator Justin Bieber, making it the first time the pair will have released a joint effort following 2012’s “Boyfriend (Remix)” alongside Mac Miller and Asher Roth. “It’s like four [or] five tracks that I’m adding because my project was only 30 minutes long on purpose,” Chainz states.
Furthermore, he goes on to name an array of collaborative projects in the works with Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, and Statik Selektah. “I’m about to drop this project with Wayne, Collegrove 2, and that’s like we rapping in the metaverse. It has a title that I haven’t put out yet,” he notes. “Me and Gucci got one, and then I got this project with Statik Selektah. Really, these projects are getting mixed, these projects are already done.”
4. On beefing with Jack Thriller
In 2020, when “Drink Champs” alumni Jack Thriller appeared on the show, N.O.R.E called 2 Chainz and things quickly escalated from there as the comedian and Atlanta rapper trading words. “Don’t ever mention me again in your life, nigga!” Chainz stated during Thriller’s interview. Since then, the pair’s beef has seemingly died down with the comedian stating he still goes out of his way to avoid the rapper until this day.
Speaking on the situation that went down between the two, 2 Chainz shares, “That’s what I’ve been working on for a long time — my anger. We all got triggers and if you’re not in control, you’re out of control — and that was a rare moment of me being out of control. I don’t got no problem with bro, he’s a comedian. He’s not funny to me, and I love comedians. I really do. I think I was just caught off-guard, so I probably thought niggas wanted some smoke.”
5. On retired rappers starting podcasts
“Even if you was an old rapper or something, you gotta maybe be able to go into a school and be a teacher. You gotta figure that shit out, even if you gotta use that to get into something outside of music,” 2 Chainz shares while discussing the topic of celebrities and emcees going into debt after their careers are over with. N.O.R.E jumps in, citing that podcasts are helping retired artists, later admitting that the space is currently oversaturated as a result. “They’re our sons! 95% I can say are,” he emphasizes.
“We made it look cool ‘cause that was some nerd shit. Even my peers was like, ‘You podcasting? You ain’t that smart.’ They didn’t understand,” N.O.R.E points out. DJ EFN adds, “People wasn’t checking for it. It wasn’t as mainstream … [but] podcasting wasn’t new.” The two later admit that the only rapper that got into the podcasting scene before them was Joe Budden.
6. On his relationship with Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music
Since leaving Ludacris’ DTP record label in 2010, 2 Chainz subsequently signed to Def Jam as a solo artist and developed a strong working relationship with Kanye West and G.O.O.D Music, whom he frequently collaborated with on songs like “Mercy,” “Champions,” and 2016’s “Castro.” Although he never signed to the label, the Atlanta rapper has been endorsed by both Kanye West and Big Sean a number of times, and vice versa. When asked about the recent falling outs — and reconciling — between the label members, Chainz asserts that he’s on good terms with everyone and simply doesn’t pay public controversy any mind.
“I love Sean, I love Ye, I love Pusha. I fuck with Cudi. Everybody else is a part of my journey anyway. Some things are more serious to people than others. I think some of the things that I maybe went through before my music career conditioned me to have thicker skin if an artist don’t want to answer my text or do a song for me,” 2 Chainz tells N.O.R.E and DJ EFN in regards to the situation. “I just try to take pride in having an understanding and not just taking it in a wrong way. A lot of artists I see, I don’t want them to be uncomfortable because really this shit is supposed to be fun. We getting millions, I don’t think nobody should really be dying about this shit.”
7. On his Verzuz with Rick Ross
Back in 2020, 2 Chainz and Rick Ross went head-to-head in 24 legendary rounds on Verzuz, sharing some of the most beloved tracks within their catalogs. Chainz performed songs like “No Lie” featuring Drake, “I’m Different,” and “Feds Watchin’” featuring Pharrell, while Ross hit the stage with tracks like “Diced Pineapples, “Hustlin,’” and “B.M.F” featuring Styles P, to name a few. When asked how he felt about reappearing on the webcast series, 2 Chainz says that he’s open to doing another one.
“I would love to do another Verzuz — they turned up now. I think early on, Verzuz was trying to feel each other out because it started off with producers, then it started off with people just playing music. Now, people do shows. So, I think we all saw Verzuz grow,” 2 Chainz states. “It felt like you were getting your flowers then because people would tune in and have comments on your peers or whatever was going on. I enjoyed it, I got a lot of respect for [him] . We’ve known each other for a long time, and I think we both was playing it on the fifty.”
In regards to who he would go against in a Verzuz now, notable names like Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Ludacris and T.I. are brought into the mix. On a potential Verzuz with Big Sean, 2 Chainz shares, “We got different types of music, but we maybe came into the game around the same time.”
8. On being humble after ascending into rap stardom
Later in the interview, N.O.R.E recalls Busta Rhymes telling him that he was too humble, leading him to ask 2 Chainz if he ever feels like he’s being too humble at times. He replies, “I was so cocky before I got on that it was probably unhealthy … as soon as I got on, I go to ‘Thank you, Lord, for this day’ and I just became so humble. I think one of the things that made me become humble was because I saw a few artists that was super cocky — and when they fell off, people didn’t want to fuck with them no more.”
2 Chainz expands, “You’re gonna go up that ladder but when you come down, you [get] that nigga that might go ‘Hold on’ — or you might get the nigga that lets you go all the way down like, ‘Yeah, sucker nigga.’ The money is gonna come and go based on lifestyle, so I was seeing people who wasn’t getting [fucked with] based on how they were acting.”
9. On getting out of his label deal with Ludacris
Prior to being known as 2 Chainz, he was signed to Ludacris’ renowned record label Disturbing Tha Peace under the stage name Tity Boi in hip-hop duo Playaz Circle. As he expresses towards the end of the interview, the College Park rapper recognized the presence and power he commanded as a solo artist and wanted out of his deal. After paying Luda a large sum of cash and a percentage on his first three studio albums, 2 Chainz later inked a deal directly with Def Jam.
“I woke up and called him and said, ‘I don’t want to be on the label anymore.’ They said, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t just get off a label like that.’ They thought I was about to go sign with Cash Money because I had a strong relationship with [Lil Wayne] at the time,” 2 Chainz expresses knowing he wanted to depart from DTP in the moment. “I paid [Ludacris] to get out, they get a point on my first three albums. I paid Luda the 100 grand and I gave him a point on each of the three albums. I just dropped my seventh album. I’m on my eighth album that I’m bout to drop now — and the 100 thousand, I mean very humbly, I got it on me now.”