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2 Chainz looks to build on revived career with CD

2 Chainz looks to build on revived career with CD

August 19th, 2012 by JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr., Associated Press in News

ATLANTA (AP) - Rapper 2 Chainz took some major risks two years ago when he bolted from Ludacris' Disturbing tha Peace record label, changed his stage name and left a group to pursue a solo career.

The Atlanta-based rapper, initially known as Tity Boi, scored big as a member of the rap duo Playaz Circle with the Lil Wayne-assisted 2007 hit "Duffle Bag Boy." But the group's debut album barely sold 100,000 units, and their follow-up, 2009's "Flight 360: The Takeoff," debuted at No. 74 and didn't launch any hits.

"I figured if I was going to do bad, I'd rather be bad all by myself," 2 Chainz said in a recent interview. "Even when I had a deal, I was paying out of pocket ... I was already funding videos, doing my mixtapes. You rarely get money out of labels, except for when they open up a budget for a project. Other than that, it's a do-or-die type thing. So, for me, I just had to do or die."

Taking the risk to go solo is finally paying off.

A pair of successful mixtapes helped 2 Chainz consistently book concert shows and land guest appearances on hit songs, including Kanye West's No. 1 rap smash "Mercy" and the Nicki Minaj single "Beez in the Trap." He also joined Minaj on her U.S. summer tour.

Now the rapper is hoping to capture audiences on his own with his solo debut, "Based on a T.R.U. Story," released this week. The first single, "No Lie," features Drake and is currently No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. The album features top acts like West, Minaj, Lil Wayne, John Legend, Scarface and The-Dream.

The Associated Press: You had a sliver of limelight in 2007, you fell into obscurity and now you're rising - a rare sequence for a rapper's career. What do you attribute to your revived image?

2 Chainz: I just worked harder than anyone else. There was no formula. I can't tell you a particular story or a contract I signed. My mind-set of just grinding it out, a lot of sleepless nights, thinking and praying a lot. The number of cities I was able to play in. The timing. Those combinations have helped get me to where I'm at today.

AP: You had a lot control as an independent rapper. Now, you're signed to Def Jam Records. Why make the move when you were achieving so much independently?

2 Chainz: When I left DTP, I wanted to do things on my own. I wanted people to respect my mind. I wanted people to respect some of my ideas. The independent route was the best move for me. But I think I've maximized everything I could do independently. I've done everything out the mixtape market. I think getting the big machine behind you is the next stage when you've maximized the independent level.

AP: How did you end up collaborating with A-List acts like Kanye West, Drake and Nicki Minaj?

2 Chainz: I had already been communicating with them. I've known Drake for five years. Me and Drake were on tour with Lil Wayne when Drake was fresh off the TV show ("Degrassi: The Next Generation"). A lot of people don't know that. I've known Lil Wayne for a decade. I've had respect with them and in the hip-hop community. I just had to figure out a way to connect the dots with them and the fans. With the community, I was cool. I was networking, hooked up with DJs. I was just being a people's person.

AP: What's it like working with Kanye West?

2 Chainz: He's a great friend to me personally and has helped me musically. He's helping me produce some of my best music.

AP: You've become known for your various guest appearances. What do you want to prove with your first solo project?

2 Chainz: When we did "Duffle Bag Boy" I knew it was big because of Lil Wayne. I took it for what it was. He's a superstar, a megastar. We worked hard and he worked his (expletive) off to be who he is, so he gets the credit for that. He opened a lot of doors for me. I just want to work as hard.