Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz has built his career around his tenacity. In his pursuit of being the best rapper out, he’s also expanded his brand with Trapavelli merchandise and a hosting gig for GQ’s Most Expensivest Shit, expected to air on Fuse TV soon.
Chainz also continues to tack on more projects to his catalog, including his third project of 2016, the recently released Daniel Son; Necklace Don mixtape. The 10-track offering finds Chainz with a measured flow over addicting beats by TM88, DJ Spinz, Dun Deal among others. He also revealed that Daniel Son; Necklace Don will be turning into a cartoon miniseries.
Been working on this Daniel Son Necklace Don cartoon mini series… Hopefully I can drop it top of next week …stay tuned
— Tity Boi (2 Chainz) (@2chainz) August 12, 2016
The project also marks a new beginning for him. The luxury-loving rapper is proving to his peers and fans that he’s lyrically at the top of his game. He doesn’t have to boast too much as the mixtape is arguably his best body of work since 2011’s T.R.U. REALigion, especially due to standouts like “Ghetto” and “Kilo,” which are surefire turn-up anthems.
Billboard caught up with 2 Chainz to talk about the release of Daniel Son; Necklace Don, why he still sees himself as an underdog and his advice to younger ATL artist on the come-up.
2 Chainz, where are you calling from today?
I’m calling from the inside of my wraith.
You’ve got a new A.K.A. now. We’ve known you as Tity 2 Necklace. We’ve known you as Tity Boi. And now you’re Daniel Son, the Necklace Don.
What’s the inspiration behind the name?
A little bit of rebranding. A little bit of inspiration on being an underdog, slept-on, stepped over, forgotten about. For those of you [who] have seen the Asian-inspired film [The Karate Kid], where a kid comes up and gets bullied — which never happened to me — you kind of come up and start learning different techniques that would generally help you in your field of work. In [Daniel LaRusso’s] case, he was actually washing a car and stuff like that, which taught him how to block.
With me, I record a lot and have a lot of different habits, whether it is working out or eating well. All of that pertains to the match-up of the recording session to the actual outcome. It’s always cool to have concepts. It’s always cool to put out positive vibes, even entertain with humor. I guess it is very much surreal to me. I’ve been the Necklace Don since I hit the scene. I’ve been the Goyard bandana-wearing, Gucci bandana-wearing, Louis bandana-wearing, $1,000 bandana-wearing [guy] and I’m seeing [other rappers] take the whole style. That’s why I had to put a chirp on the style, started chirping at these n—as when I see ‘em. [Makes chirping noise] I see ‘em dipping all in the sauce. So you know me, that lane drippin’, that Wayne swaggin’, I’m drenchin’ in all this shit.
I’ve always had the confidence and I had humbled myself. When I humble myself, they try to step over this shit like they didn’t know where they getting this shit from. So now, I had to put it in they face. I’m gonna continue putting it in they face, and just be looking for more things that excel the game. Somebody from the South with wordplay and a resume like myself, it’s intriguing to the ear. So just keep looking out for more dope music.
Why do you think you’re still an underdog?
I learned this from 50 Cent a long time ago. Me coming from being somebody from the streets, an ex-trapper, an ex-drug dealer and being out in the field, you got fans—and this is no disrespect to the fans—or feens and they like to try different things, different material. So the drug we are talking about is actually music. The fans be like, ‘Man, this man has some good ass music, dope.’ They be like, ‘Oh! Dude’s around the corner just dropped some more music. Let’s go try his.’ What they’ll especially do is fans want the best thing for the best price. So what happens is it is not exactly an underdog feeling, it is a feeling of… until you step up your product or whatever, we gon’ stay down over here. When that happens, you’re able to reflect. You gotta go to the kitchen and gotta come up with some better ingredients. You gotta come up with something to make people hungry for you again. I’d say the last year and the half, that’s been my opponent, that’s been my thing.
I ain’t feel like I was stepped over but you gotta remember I did 100 features for n—as in one year. Some of them I made them pay for, some of ‘em were favors. A lot of them were favors, and some of them were swap outs. Some of these ducks, they got that short-term memory loss. I blame social media, Vine and Snapchat. They really forgetting how they was poppin’ and how they popped off, how they call my phone a thousand times, asking for a verse. Lucky for me, I got a studio in all my cribs, on my bus. I’m thinking about putting a studio in this Rolls Royce so I can really record when I feel like. But I’m doing that for different people, and then you see ‘em and they got a few hooks, few little diamonds on, a few little rides and they acting like their s–t don’t stink no more.
It’s not that I am not happy for them, it’s like I want to hug ‘em and tell ‘em, ‘Man…’ ‘Cause see honestly, I want to see all the youth, especially the young black youth get their own boss [situation]. I’ve been doing the CEO [Millionaires] thing so I am looking for entrepreneurs. I’m looking for the trickle-down effect. I want to be able to feed your family and have them be able to feed they family. I’m totally into that. But let’s not get amnesia when people came and bat for ya in the ninth inning. When people came and pitched for ya when you ain’t even have no hitta. That’s what I was — I’m a hitta. They call me and tell me to come in the game, telling me, ‘Hey, man, we need a hit. We need a home run.’ That’s why they call me. Other than that, they don’t call me!
Is that one of the reasons why you put out so much music this year? ‘Cause you put out that Felt Like Cappin tape and then you did the project with Wayne. Now, we’ve got Daniel Son.
I mean, to be honest with you, I didn’t realize I put three projects this year until I saw it online. I literally go to work every single night. I record every single night so it’s not lack of music, it’s really just to find ways and different avenues to release this music. I never stop working my ass off. Some people work off sheer talent. Some people mix talent with hard work. I think that’s me. God blessed me with some kind of talent but I think my work ethic makes up for the rest of that.
I would never take a day off. What you heard—like the songs I did the last couple of weeks—those were my newest records. I got hits that I did last year that I just pulled up. I’m like, ‘Shit, I gotta figure out how to put this out’ because I’m starting to feel the eyeballs on me. N—as starting to remember where all this drench was coming from, they starting to put these wet floor signs back out when I do my verse. It’s time for that again. I put in so much work into every line I do. People may think it is some cat in the hat shit. But this shit over so many people heads that it is super, duper funny to me and it is super fun. Rap is a sport. I just came out the gym. I trained for this shit. Until they get the concept of this being the next sport, until they get the concept of knowing this might be in the Olympics in a couple of years, they probably need to stay out of my way.
Daniel Son; Necklace Don is a free mixtape on LiveMixtapes and Datpiff, but you also made it available on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music. Are you in that mindset that your music should be given to the fans, no matter what streaming service gets the exclusive?
We are in a streaming age and they have to be able to f—ing stream it, you know what I’m saying? So you have to use these platforms for what they are. The whole era of people buying all these records, it still exists. It super exists but for the super delegates at the top. On the real, it’s more into streaming. And sometimes with fans, I personally think they get misconstrued with the work if it is only in certain places. They don’t feel like you put that much work into it. For example, sometimes I feel like if it is only on LiveMixtapes, then you made a LiveMixtapes attempt.
It’s funny to me because every mixtape that I have put out has been mixed and mastered. I really put my all into the ‘tape. Earlier, mixtapes were used to put out songs that didn’t make your album or put out samples. Or even now, mixtape samples have to be cleared so it is like an album — the whole process. It’s cool to put out music where the people get accessibility to be able to hear it, and then you kind of play catch up with selling things and doing shows to pick up the back end. That’s where I am at with putting out music. Although you don’t have to really pay for it—even when you do pay for it—it doesn’t affect the artist’s pocket that much just because of how the deals are set up. I think all artists are just learning ways on how we can eat.
I’m sure you saw Kanye’s tweets about Apple Music and Tidal’s beef, and how the kids should have their music. You and him seem to be thinking on the same wavelength.
We had a personal talk about this already. I totally get it, I know what he’s saying. Even Jay Z, I was supposed to put ColleGrove on Tidal first, but it was a surprise album. By the time Jay called—I think it was like Thursday or something—s–t was dropping Friday. Maybe it was Wednesday. But I was going to do it. After I saw Jay, his exact words were, ‘You know I’m not going to lose right?’ Like he damn-near is rapping it. I’m like, ‘Damn, n—a, you ain’t gotta hit me with no bars.’ I want to do it. I’m trying to f–k with you. But it was so late and we had already given it to all the platforms: Spotify, Apple. For him to have a company this big and being black owned, I can definitely dig it. I can support it.
Let’s talk about your merch store Trapavellistore.com. When did you launch the site?
That’s been launched right before Trapavelli Tre came out. I put a store together. I own a few buildings here in Atlanta so I did a pop-up shop in one of my buildings off Peachtree, where we sold a lot of trap attire, Trapavelli wear of the week. Ever since then, we are trying to find different ways of really hitting the jackpot via e-commerce—being the godfather of selling things via social media and how we really sell things. Shit, the way we selling things, Footlocker, Macy’s—ain’t none of them motherf—ers figured out how to do it yet. Really, we the wave starters. I can see surfboards everywhere, they can’t wait to get on this motherf—ing wave.
When you announced Daniel Son; Necklace Don, you posted a text message between you and Drake. Twitter went crazy over how rappers use emojis in such a conversational way. Did you read any of the tweets?
Man, that’s dope. I had no idea that the reaction was gonna come off like that. One of my people was like, ‘You should probably post that.’ I’m one of those guys where I enjoy the privacy of artists, but that one was nothing private. That was just a situation where we had a hard ass song and both of us couldn’t wait until it came out. He was kind of just checking up on it at the same time I was finna release it. That was just cool.
Drake is definitely on the top of his game. It’s cool to have a relationship with dude for I don’t know how long. I’ve known him since the I Am Music Tour back in ’08 with Lil Wayne. I’ve got to see him grow, watch Meek grow, Nicki. All of them grow. N—as look different, got hair on their face. Got muscles in they head and s–t. Everybody just like growing, and that’s really what’s it about. Obviously, 1000 congrats to what bruh got going on.
“Big Amount” is one of those vibes. We really left the strip club and did a couple songs together. We haven’t been in the studio together since “All Me.” He came to Atlanta and we did “All Me” together, whatever year that was. I actually felt good. Rap, like I said, it’s a sport. It’s so dope to have that friendly competition. It’s so dope to be like, ‘This the motherf—-ing biggest n—a in the game. Let’s rap! And let’s rap tonight!’ Let’s not come back and thinking about it. Let’s do it. Put on some music. I call that the Kobe Bryant theory. I’ve been doing a lot of work that y’all don’t see me do. When it is time to play, I might drop 60 on you!
How did you come up with the concept of “1 Yeezy Boot?”
Ah shit, I’ve been drenching on them niggas. I had one Yeezy Boot one day, and one Yeezy Boost. I saw how it went crazy. I put the picture up. I see all these other little n—as try to goddamn Daniel Son themselves with the one [sneaker on each foot], ya dig? That’s something that’s right off the chirp. After I told ‘em, I see what you’re doing but I did the one Yeezy Boot. I went and sent it to ‘Ye, ‘What you think about this?’ He said, ‘That shit cray.’
What about the next season of Most Expensivest Shit?
Fuse actually picked it up so we are about to do some more shooting. Actually, they are going to have it all on TV now so that’s a blessing. Double salute that, so hopefully we’ll get that on TV soon than later. That’s cool—an improv idea about expensive thing by a rap artist that’s actually getting picked up by television network.
You talked about how Atlanta is in a good space. What are your thoughts on the young guys like Lil Yachty, 21 Savage and Playboi Carti?
Man, you gotta support them. You gotta listen to the youth, man. They the future, they next, so I want to protect the youth. I think Yachty went to the high school around here. I’m learning about them each day. We got a lot of talent here ’cause some of them just kind of taking off faster than others for whatever reason it is. Any of the new artists in Atlanta, I want to tell ‘em much love, much support, but don’t stop and think you can take a vacation because you got one or two songs out. I’ve yet to take a vacation.