Q&A: 2 Chainz On Giving Back, Being Independent, And Fitting Work Into Every Hour Of His Day

What's in a name? The storied quote would imply that a rapper by any other name is still just as [fill in the blank], but 2 Chainz, the Playaz Circle member who was better known as Tity Boi until fairly recently, might have a different perspective.

Since switching nom de plumes, the Georgia MC's popularity has skyrocketed. It could be a coincidence, but either way, the kid's everywhere. He spent the last week recording verses for a slew of remixes. He popped up on Wale's "Bait," rocked with French Montana for a joint, and rapped side by side with Juicy J. And that's just his features.

2 Chainz's mixtape Codeine Cowboy, which came out last winter and contained the song "Spend it," has been a staple for DJs at New York hotel bars and Atlanta hole-in-the-wall-clubs alike. People are still bumping "Spend It" all over, but that didn't stop him from releasing the mixtape T.R.U. REALigion last month. We caught up with him on a visit to New York, where he was—what else?—working.

So what're you doing in my city?

Just doubling back really. Since my mixtape [T.R.U REALigion] dropped November 1 I'm just following up on a few things I have going. I want to maximize the "Spend It" wave, so I'm making appearances, shaking hands, getting feedback. But also since it's getting close to Christmas I'm also going to visit a few homeless shelters for battered women facilities. Might shoot some visuals while I'm out here too. Y'know, it's like my song says, "I'm just taking it one day at a time."

Wow. So do you make it a point to visit shelters in all cities you visit?

I always do stuff to give back. Depending what city I'm in, I'll usually schedule a surprise visit to some sort of facility that helps people. We usually call ahead to whatever city we'll be in and find those types of places so we can give back to them.

And I'm about to do my 142nd show this year so I've been getting around a lot, just spreading love for those in need.

How important to you is giving back?

Well I come from that, you know? I came up under Ludacris, and Luda has like two nonprofit organizations that help people. To me you should do for people that can't do for themselves. Plus, if you're doing it genuinely out of the kindness of your heart without anyone asking you to do it, that says a lot. I give away a lot of stuff. When some corporate people find out they're like "Oh you should've told us. We could've have gotten the company to donate them." But I don't care if I pay for [gifts]. I'd rather just do it on my own.

Let's backtrack a bunch. What were you like in high school?

Most popular. Best dressed. I was on the basketball team. I'm 6'5", so I played everything from the 1 to the 3. I can grab rebounds and still push that rock. I loved basketball.

Did you ever apply your on-court lessons to the rap game or just life in general?

Well, not lessons but I use my peripherals. Like... I can see you when you trying to ride up on me, boy! I can see you out the corner of my eye!

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