Tauheed Epps, better known by his now-famous hip-hop moniker 2 Chainz, has found a unique way to change the rap game, as we know it. From irreplaceable ATL-inspired lyricism surrounding the “Trap Life,” Chainz has revitalized what many northern hip-hop enthusiasts thought was a dying southern rap game.
For those who aren’t familiar with his work (or live under a rock), Chainz was born in 1977 in College Park, Georgia. He attended North Clayton High with R&B singer Monica. His teachers didn’t expect him to pass, let alone finish second in his class.
Like many rappers, he had his ball dreams. The 6-5 Epps received an athletic scholarship to Alabama State University.
Y’all see Chainz throwin it down?! In 24 games with ASU in the 1996-1997 season, Chainz started only one game. He scored 71 points total and averaged three points per contest. But we’ll forgive him because his raps are balling.
Originally not popular by his Playaz Circle moniker, Epps changed his name from “Tity Boi” to “2 Chainz” for a more family friendly feel. His fame immediately rose. Of his releases, he’s had two studio albums, the last, B.O.A.T.S II, released Tuesday. He’s had 37 singles, 43 music videos, seven mixtapes and nine promotional singles. To honor his birthday, and his tremendous flow (you can tell I’m a fan of stripper music), here are 2 Chainz’s ten best songs.
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One of the beautiful things about Epps is that he found his niche in eccentrically simplifying what most rappers are too bullish to say.
“Started from the trap now I rap/No matter where I’m at, I got crack.”
Now Dime doesn’t support trapping or dealing, but we do love a nice beat. So if one was to break down the most talked about item in trap music, why not just let your listeners know that you got what they’re talking about?
Serving as a bonus track on his first studio album, Based On a T.R.U. Story, this was Chainz’s direct message to the rest of the rap game in pre-2013.
He claimed to have a “clique of killers” and that they were always ready to go. But that’s what plenty of “spittas” claim on their tracks. Chainz made it even more omnipresent in the opening lines.
“I said lame n%$#@* be quiet, lame n%$#@* be quiet, lame n%$#@* be quiet/ You in the presence of a real n%$#@”
Whether you are a fan of Epps or not, his sentiment rang true. He started a riot in hip-hop and is now one of the most noticeable lyricists in America.
8. YUCK (Feat. Lil Wayne)
Since his name change, this was one of Chainz’s most recognized songs with a big-name feature included. This also was one of the first instances that Tity Boi created some of his classic longer verses with a mundane spin from his punchlines.
“I got the chopper for the correspondents, the codeine got me standing horizontal/I had enough of the broken promises, so I’m in a room full of Pocahontases/”
7. FEDS WATCHING (Feat. Pharrell Williams)
For his newest album, Chainz enlisted one of the greatest producers that rap has seen in the last decade for his hook.
Pharrell and Chainz begin the song saying “Tomorrow, Tomorrow…Aint no such thing as tomorrow, the way we living today.” When you sip as much lean and smoke as much dro as the former Playaz Circle member, life isn’t always promised. Then again, they just might not care because they party too hard.
This became a track that everyone nodded his or her head to. Gangsta or trapper, movers or shakers, even the occasional pot-smoking teenager got the feeling that the “Feds” were watching, an instant “made-for-radio” track.
6. I DO IT (Feat. Lil Wayne and Drake)
At first, this six-minute track including the heavy hitters from Young Money Cash Money Billionaires (YMCMB) doesn’t seem to bang as hard as the previous titles. But after a few times of repeat, the message comes through pretty clear.
For once, 2 Chainz doesn’t embellish his own brand. He instead pays homage to those who came before him, in the most “2 Chainz” way possible.
“Thank God for the first n*&%@ started trapping/Thank God for the first n*&%@ started rapping/Thank God for the first girl to start stripping.”
If it wasn’t for the rappers, the trappers, and (of course) the strippers, Chainz might be out of business.
Outside of some dope verses from the YMCMB affiliates, Chainz brought back one of his famous lines that got the girls dancing and ended the track on a high note:
“Hair weave killa known to snatch a f@#$%&*# track out”
5. NO LIE (feat. Drake)
Another collaboration with Drizzy Drake, this time (and an earlier version than the last) Chainz wants to verify that the only time he and Drake lie is when they not selling out their homies.
Also it’s for the love of the money. The goal is to protect those that want to make nine figures before they die. This was also one of Chainz’s first iconic videos. Black and white mix throughout the entire thing sort of slowed down time while he slowed down his verse.
4. I LUV DEM STRIPPERS (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
First off, we know southern rappers love strip clubs, lean, crack and the whole nine. If we know anything, we know that by now.
But to over-glorify it, Chainz brought in the best (and I use that term very loosely) female rapper in the game who has the gluts to be a professional pole dancer. Chainz also delivers a classic line and shows off his under-the-table lyricism that most pass off for delirium.
“First I back pack, Louis backpack/Where’s Paris Hilton? Where’s Kat Stacks?”
At this point in his career, Chainz feels as though he’s entitled to rich socialites like Hilton and brings in a double meaning as if to look for popular rap groupie Kat Stacks when she also was reported deported by the time of the song.
Following a line as loaded as that, he goes back to his simplistic flow, including the chorus: “Yeah I love ‘dem strippers”
3. BIRTHDAY SONG (Feat. Kanye West)
It’s his birthday — he turns 36 today — there’s no way this song doesn’t make it into the top three. This is also another example of how crazy a 2 Chainz video can get if you let it.
2. SPEND IT REMIX (Feat. T.I.)
If there is any song that could define the legacy of Epps, it’s his first major single as 2 Chainz — “Spend It” — produced by Drumma Boy.
However, by including the “King of the South,” T.I., two big spenders on the same track only makes for one of the tracks of the year. That, and some random guy decided to have a mini-boxing match outside of a “hood-mart” in the video. Plus, he literally rode around Atlanta through the video. “I’m ridin’ around and I’m getting’ it” was a classic phrase people used throughout 2012.
1. I’M DIFFERENT
His most iconic video, which he does, as only he can, in a set of pajamas. 2 Chainz has to be the most unconventional character in the game today.
What do you think?
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