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" on August 14, 2012 under Def Jam Recordings. Its lead single "No Lie" featuring Drake debuted at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In late 2012, 2 Chainz stated that once he wrapped up his "B.O.A.T.S." tour, he would hit the studio again to work on new album. Amid his studio sessions, 2 Chainz made some TV appearances, including in an episode on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and on CBS' "2 Broke Girls".
2 Chainz was arrested while on board a departing flight at LAX for possession of a controlled substance after TSA agents found that his bag contained marijuana and promethazine on June 11, 2013. He was then charged with felony narcotics possession. Later that day, he was released after posting $10,000 bond. That wasn't the first time the rapper got arrested for drug possession. At the age of 15, he was convicted of felony cocaine possession. In early 2013, he was arrested in Maryland for marijuana possession.
Gearing up for the release of his second album, 2 Chainz premiered the album's lead single "Feds Watching" at the Hot 97's Summer Jam. The song featured Pharrell Williams and was recorded on 2013 Grammy Awards night. On September 10, 2013, the rapper's second effort "Based on TRU Story 2: Me Time" was released.
The album featured guest appearances from Stacy Ferguson a.k.a Fergie, Drake, Lil Wayne and Pusha T among others. It debuted at No.3 on Billboard 200 and at No. 2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart after selling 63,000 copies in its first week.
In October 2013, 2 Chainz revealed that he had immediately begun working on his third studio album following the release of "Me Time". He also shared that he already had the lead single from the set.
On January 6, 2015, 2 Chainz announced that he was starting his own independent record label "The Real University", which is also known as "T.R.U." or "The Real U". Following the announcement, the rapper released the label's debut mixtape "T.R.U. Jack City" later that month.
In November 2015, 2 Chainz announced that he would release a joint project with Lil Wayne as his third studio album, titled "ColleGrove". The set arrived in the following year on March 4, 2016. Shortly after, 2 Chainz started working on the follow-up. In April 2017, he released a track titled "It's a Vibe" featuring Trey Songz, Ty Dolla $ign and Jhene Aiko as the lead single off his new album "Pretty Girls Like Trap Music".
The studio effort arrived on June 16, 2017 and featured sixteen tracks, including some collaborative songs with massive hip-hop stars like Migos, Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott (II), Drake and more.