Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz has already worked with Drake, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Kanye West. The roster is impressive considering his debut album Based On A T.R.U Story, which debuted at number one on Billboard 200, only came out this month. During a phone call with ANDPOP’s Azra Kassam, he chatted about the most important lesson he learned from the almighty Kanye West and his biggest accomplishment (it might surprise you).
Musically speaking, his first album hits close to home
2 Chainz said the release day for his album felt like the first day of school. “This is my first album. It took me my whole life to put it together,” he said. So it was only natural that he wanted to pay homage to his Atlanta hometown. “Over half the project is done by Atlanta producers so I still have that hometown feel,” he explained. “There are great influences on there, great features, great production… I think people will be able to relate to it in all areas.”
Kanye West taught him the importance of art and images
“The dude is very creative,” 2 Chainz said about fellow rapper Kanye West. The Watch the Throne rapper taught him how art can add another dimension to the hip hop genre. “Artistic expression…it’s another way to express yourself without talking,” he said. “That’s something Kanye brought to my attention…it’s all about images.” His description of working with West on the “Birthday Song” single? “It was a combination of an overload of confidence with a touch of cockiness!”
One of his biggest accomplishments so far is influencing others to vote
2 Chainz said he was a felon at age 15 and only became intrigued and interested in voting when Barack Obama won presidency in 2008. He said he did his research on the subject, but didn’t have a platform at the time to educate others. “Now everybody knows of 2 Chainz. I try to notify different people in different areas who are felons of how they can reinstate themselves and be a voice and be heard,” he said.
He and Lil Wayne go way back
Even though Based On A T.R.U Story features 10 collaborations, 2 Chainz said his favourite is with Lil Wayne “because we have that cool chemistry.” The two go way back to when 2 Chainz first began his music career as a member of a hip hop duo called Playaz Circle. They recorded a song with Lil Wayne in 2007 called “Duffle Bag Boy.” This year, they reunited to record “Yuck!” on his debut album.
He realizes the music community is faced with the challenge of changing radio for the better
“People get mad at the radio [for playing the same songs over and over] but then when a song comes on the radio they want to re-do it. I don’t get it!” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with re-doing songs you like,” he added. “But I feel like when you re-do it…when you put a lot of energy into it with someone else’s thoughts and ideas that are already out, I feel you are maybe wasting the musical quality you could be using to create your own original composition that would make music as a whole better, instead of 40 different remixes of someone else’s ideas.”