- 10:28 AM, Mar 21
2 Chainz saw an opportunity to rise up as a solo artist when T.I. was in prison and Young Jeezy and Ludacris were too busy hitting the studio. For years, 2 Chainz had been either one half of Playaz Circle or merely a featured guest. In 2012, he changed it all with his first solo album.
Born on September 20, 1976 as Tauheed Epps, 2 Chainz was the only child. His father was in and out of prison many times in his childhood, so his mother practically raised him alone. "The fact that my mom raised me, used to bother my pop. He didn't know a woman could raise a man. And they'd have differences of opinions all the time. My pops used to tell me things from prison and as soon as he hung up my mom would say, 'don't listen to him,' " the rapper said in an interview.
He met Earl Conyers, who would later be known as Dolla Boy or Dillon Saks, in high school and formed a hip-hop duo with him called Playaz Circle, an acronym for Preparing Legal Assets for Years from A to Z. 2 Chainz was known as Tity Boy at the time, a reference to how he's the only child his mother breastfed. Playaz Circle was officially formed in College Park, Georgia in 1997. Together, 2 Chainz and Dolla Boy recorded indie releases until they met Ludacris.
Luda was a disc jockey at that time, making it possible for him to play their collaborative tracks on his radio station. There came a time when Playaz Circle was dormant because 2 Chainz was shot and Dolla was in jail. However, Ludacris remained to have faith in the duo, signing them to his Disturbing Tha Peace label. Playaz Circle started with mixtapes before releasing two studio albums under the label.
In 2010, 2 Chainz felt the need to move on in his career. Thus, he left Disturbing Tha Peace and changed his stage name to 2 Chainz. Under the new moniker, the rapper released a mixtape, "T.R.U. REALigion", which peaked at No. 58 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. He also continued being featured guests on other artists' tracks.
2 Chainz kicked his solo career into high gear in 2012. He landed on Kanye West's "Mercy" and Nicki Minaj's "Beez in the Trap" before releasing his debut album "Based on a T.R.U. Story"