Tauheed Epps (born September 12, 1977), better known by his stage name 2 Chainz (formerly Tity Boi), is an American rapper from College Park, Georgia. He initially gained recognition for being one-half of the southern hip hop duo Playaz Circle, alongside his longtime friend and fellow rapper, Earl "Dolla Boy" Conyers. They are perhaps best known for being signed to fellow Georgia-based rapper Ludacris' Disturbing tha Peace label, as well as their debut single "Duffle Bag Boy".
In February 2012, Epps signed a solo record deal with Def Jam Records, an imprint of Universal Music Group. The following August, he released his debut studio album Based on a T.R.U. Story, to mixed reviews. The album spawned three successful singles: "No Lie", "Birthday Song", and "I'm Different", all of which charted in the top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100 and were certified Gold or higher by the RIAA, along with the album being certified Gold. His second studio album B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time was released on September 11, 2013. It was supported by the singles "Feds Watching", "Where U Been?", and "Used 2".
Epps was born in College Park, Georgia. He attended North Clayton High School with R&B singer Monica and exceeded his teacher's expectations of him by finishing second place in his class. In high school, Epps also joined the school's basketball team. Standing at 6'5", he was a standout basketball player and later attended Alabama State University on an athletic scholarship.
1997–2010: Playaz Circle and Disturbing tha Peace
Epps formed the hip hop duo Playaz Circle (the word "Playaz" being a bacronym for "Preparing Legal Assets for Years from A to Z") in College Park, Georgia in 1997, with his high school friend Earl Conyers (known as Dolla Boy), while Epps adopted "Tity Boi" as his moniker. Following the release of an independent album titled United We Stand, United We Fall (2002), the duo were introduced to fellow Atlanta rapper Ludacris, when he moved into their College Park apartment complex, whilst he was acting as a DJ. After taking interest in Playaz Circle, Ludacris began to record several songs with the group, playing some of them on his radio station.
Ludacris soon became one of the highest-selling rappers in the Southern United States. After hearing of their situation, Ludacris requested of Epps that the duo join his newly formed record label Disturbing Tha Peace, a subsidiary of Def Jam Recordings. Epps agreed to sign, although Conyers did not officially join the label until his mother regained her health, a year after the initial signing.
Their debut album Supply & Demand, was released on October 30, 2007. The lead single and their debut single, "Duffle Bag Boy", became an urban hit single. The song features Lil Wayne, and was performed by the duo at the BET Hip Hop Awards. The duo released their second studio album Flight 360: The Takeoff, on September 29, 2009. In January 2010, Playaz Circle filmed a music video for their single "Big Dawg" featuring Lil Wayne and Birdman at Studio Space Atlanta. Shortly afterwards, Epps left Disturbing tha Peace, a move he claimed was taken in order to advance his career. Although Ludacris was initially reluctant to allow Epps to leave the label (as he felt Epps could still prove financially successful), he eventually accepted the decision.
2011–2012: Name change and Based on a T.R.U. Story
Throughout Epps' career, critics and fans alike have speculated the pseudonym "Tity Boi" was meant to be derogatory towards women, although he repeatedly denied such accusations. In early 2011, Epps decided to change his stage name to 2 Chainz, as he perceived it to be more "family friendly". Following the name change, Epps released a mixtape entitled T.R.U. REALigion, which became his first mixtape to appear on the music charts, peaking at number 58 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Since the success of the mixtape, Epps has made numerous guest appearances on tracks by prominent recording artists such as, Kanye West ("Mercy") and Nicki Minaj ("Beez in the Trap").
On March 24, 2012, Epps announced his debut studio album, Based on a T.R.U. Story (originally titled T.R.U. to My REALigion) was set for an August 14, 2012, release date. The album's lead single "No Lie", features Canadian rapper Drake and was released on May 8, 2012. On May 11, it was under speculation that Epps had signed to Kanye West's GOOD Music label, after West tweeted: "2 Chainz is charging 100k for a verse now cause he's G.O.O.D!!!!!". However Epps later denied those rumors, saying: "He just said I'm good, like I'm ill. But we was talking and I think I was jeopardizing my brand sometimes by doing the homeboy special. So I think he felt like we should just put that out there that we ain't doing no more of that." On May 30, 2012, Ciara revealed 2 Chainz was featured on "Sweat", the intended first single from her fifth studio album One Woman Army.
Based on a T.R.U. Story debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 147,000 copies in its first week. The album was met with mixed reviews, earning a score of 55 on metacritic. As of September 23, 2012, the album has sold 288,000 copies in the United States. In September, Epps performed at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, alongside longtime friend Lil Wayne. After the release of his debut, Based on a T.R.U. Story, Epps made momentous strides. He facilitated his first solo worldwide tour, selling out most dates, nominated for over 13 BET Hip Hop Awards, bringing home 4 trophies, earned the Source Magazine's "Man of the Year ", release a collaborative endeavor with ADIDAS and later Beats By Dre and was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album.
2012–present: B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time and FreeBase
In late 2012, Epps stated once he completed the B.O.A.T.S. concert tour, he will head back into the studio. In November 2012, he revealed he was three songs deep into his second studio album. The album's estimated release date was April 2013. The rapper made a guest appearance on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in an episode that aired May 8, 2013. He also appeared as himself in the second season (episode 16) of the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, where he travels on the same private planes as the two main characters. On May 23, 2013, he announced that his second studio album B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time will be released on September 10, 2013.
On June 2, 2013, Epps premiered the first single from the album, "Feds Watching" at the Hot 97's Summer Jam. The song features Pharrell Williams and was recorded on 2013 Grammy Awards night. On June 15, Epps announced the title of his second album would be B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time. The album was released through Def Jam Recordings, on September 10, 2013.
B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time featured guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Fergie, Drake, Lil Wayne, Pusha T, Mase, Chrisette Michele, Iamsu!, T-Pain, Dolla Boy, Rich Homie Quan, and Lloyd among others. The album's production was handled by Diplo, Mike WiLL Made It, Drumma Boy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Mannie Fresh, Wonder Arillo, Da Honorable C-Note and DJ Toomp among others. It was also supported by the single "Used 2", along with the promotional singles "Where U Been?" and "Netflix". Upon the album's release, it was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. It also faired decently commercially, debuting at number three on the US Billboard 200, and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart selling 63,000 copies in its first week.
On October 23, 2013, Epps revealed that he had begun working on his third studio album immediately following the release of B.O.A.T.S. II. He also stated he had the first single from his third album ready for release and that he still wanted to get Jay-Z featured on the album. On May 5, 2014, Epps released a brand new EP titled FreeBase for free digital download. It includes 7 songs, and includes features from Lil Boosie, A$AP Rocky, Rick Ross and more. The EP has earned over 200,000 downloads.
At the age of 15, Epps was convicted of felony cocaine possession. On February 14, 2013, Epps was arrested in Maryland en route to a concert at UMES for marijuana possession. Epps was then cited and released.
On June 11, 2013, Epps was arrested while on board a departing flight at LAX airport for possession of a controlled substance after TSA agents found that his checked bag contained marijuana and promethazine. He was booked and charged with felony narcotics possession. Later that day he posted $10,000 bond and was released. He was due back in court on June 21, 2013. Two days previous, he was reportedly robbed at gunpoint outside a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco.
Just before midnight on August 21, 2013, Epps' tour bus was pulled over in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, because the passenger side taillights were out. The arresting officer reported that he smelled marijuana and saw smoke through the open door of the bus after he had stopped and pulled over the bus. The driver of the bus shut the door and told officers he was not authorized to allow them on the bus. The officer said the marijuana smell gave him probable cause to search, but the driver refused to open the door. After many attempts to enter, the bus was towed with the men still aboard to the police training center in Oklahoma City. Officers obtained a search warrant and the 10 men, including Epps, got off the bus. Police discovered two semi-automatic pistols and a 12-gauge pump shotgun, along with some prescription painkillers and marijuana residue, on the tour bus according to papers filed Oklahoma County District Court.
Based on a T.R.U. Story (2012)
B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (2013)
The Real University
On January 6, 2015, 2 Chainz announced that he was starting his own independent record label "The Real University" (also known as "T.R.U."; or "The Real U"). The announcement also revealed that frequent collaborators Cap.1 & Skooly were signed. Additionally, they signed former Young Money artist Short Dawg, who is now known as Fresh. Along with the announcement of the label's founding, they also revealed they'd be releasing their debut mixtape TRU Jack City on January 27, 2015.
Fresh (formerly known as Short Dawg)
Awards and nominations
BET Hip Hop Awards
2012: Reese's Perfect Combo: "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T) (Won)
2012: Track of the Year: "No Lie" (with Drake) (Nominated)
2012: Sweet 16, Best Featured Verse: "Mercy" (Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz) (Won)
2012: Rookie of the Year (Won)
2012: People's Champ Award: "No Lie" (with Drake) (Won)
2012: MVP of the Year (Nominated)
2012: Made You Look Award (Nominated)
2012: Hustler of the Year (Nominated)
2012: Best Hip Hop Video: "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T) (Nominated)
2012: Best Hip Hop Video: "No Lie" (with Drake)
2012: Best Club Banger: "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T) (Nominated)
2013: Best Rap Song: "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T) (Nominated)
2013: Best Rap Performance: "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T) (Nominated)
2013: Best Rap Album: Based on a TRU Story (Nominated)
2014: Best Rap Song: "Fuckin' Problems" (with ASAP Rocky, Drake & Kendrick Lamar) (Nominated)
Soul Train Awards
2012: Best Hip Hop Song of the Year: "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Big Sean, and Pusha T) (Won)
2012: Best Hip Hop Song of the Year: "No Lie" (with Drake) (Nominated)
2 Chainz on Twitter
2 Chainz at AllMusic
2 Chainz at MTV