When one of the most well-respected football players, Terrell Owens, was asked which artist he listens to in the gym to get him hyped, he only had one answer: 2 Chainz. Specifically, his timeless hit “I’m Different” was released ten years ago.
2 Chainz’ endless contributions to the rap game do not go unnoticed, boasting a never-ending catalog of hits that immediately bring you back to that exact time and place. Beyond the music, the Atlanta native is a true definition of a serial entrepreneur, with multiple businesses and brand deals that he hopes can inspire audiences worldwide.
Now, 2 Chainz is as excited as ever to return as the official host to Amazon Music Live, the weekly concert series in Los Angeles, streaming live immediately after Thursday Night Football. Following an all-star lineup of musicians last season — from Lil Wayne to 21 Savage to Lil Baby — this upcoming season boasts an equally powerful bill, kicking things off with Ed Sheeran on September 21st.
But the real question remains: when are we getting ColleGrove 2?! Fans have been waiting patiently for the long-awaited sequel to his first ColleGrove project in collaboration with Lil Wayne. And it looks like Usher will be a standout feature!
The Source had the opportunity to speak with 2 Chainz at the Amazon Music Studios in Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss the upcoming season of AML, his love for Hip-Hop, Top 5, opening for Beyonce, preparing for BMF, bringing his son to the ESPYs, and the fire Usher record on ColleGrove 2.
What are you most excited for this time with the second season of Amazon Music Live?
I’m excited about the new artists that we have performing this year. We got Ed Sheeran starting it off, that’s going to be fire. And from my understanding, he’s going to be doing a couple of new records and dropping a project in the next week or so. Having him, I have other peers. Durk will be there the third week, he’s been on the road too. We have Feid coming. Having these different genres, but everyone is a megastar in their own specific ecosystem. It’ll be a good draw.
Obviously, you have me. My charming personality, debonair looks, witty, intelligent — all these adjectives that I can keep going on for literally hours to describe myself, will be hosting this event. Then you have Amazon Music being one of the biggest platforms out there that really get out, share information. It’s coming right after Thursday Night Football, which is one of the biggest highlights of the week. It’s going to be a good time. I don’t think anything less of that space. We gon’ have a good time. We’re going to educate some people that are just now starting to get on board with what’s going on, because we know that sports and music have a strong fusion. We’re going to display it on Amazon Music’s platform.
I went to a few shows last season, which were all epic. Did you have a favorite out of all of them?
Lil Wayne, for sure. He put a lot of energy. I told him, I said “man, you really…” Everybody has a different style and a way of really connecting with fans. Megan [The Stallion] did good. Anitta did good. Anuel AA did good. Everybody did what they’re supposed to do, as far as either connecting with their current fans or even gaining new fans.
Hip-Hop celebrates 50 years this year, what was the moment you fell in love with Hip-Hop?
Very young. Only child, being raised by a bunch of older cousins and guys in the streets. It’s always been the soundtrack and the landscape to my mom’s late-night car games. In a small apartment. I’ve been listening to Hip-Hop since sixth, seventh grade. Heard it, been hooked. Been trying to steal cousins’ CDs for years.
There’s not a specific moment I can think of. I can probably think of specific moments per artists that I really love. But for the most part, it’s a part of my DNA. My father was an album collector. I can remember seeing everything from Rick James to The Temptations to New Edition, all these different album covers. Michael Jackson, “Thriller.” I can see all this stuff right now. Music is really a part of my DNA.
Do you have a Top 5 Hip-Hop artists all-time?
This stuff always becomes clickbait. I don’t want to take away from everything that’s good. Top 5: obviously you have Pac and Biggie in there. You have Hov in there. You have a few other successful artists that are currently doing it. Hip-Hop is just too big to do a [Mount] Rushmore or anything like that. Because everybody brings something important and impactful to the game.
I’ll lead with Pac and Biggie because those were two leaders that we lost very young and unfortunate, one from each coast. You have some stuff under there. You got your Scarface, you got your Andre 3000. You got your Southern artists. You got your West Coast artists: your Ice Cube’s, E-40’s. You got your New York artists. Everybody from Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Nas. So it’s hard. You can even go down to Florida with Uncle Luke and Trick Daddy that’s old, even the new guys like Kodak. It’s hard to pick four or five people that do what they do.
How was it coming out with DJ Khaled at the Beyonce show?
It was good. That was my second time that Khaled reached out for a Beyonce opener. The last one was maybe 4, 5, 6, 7 years ago. But coming out there, I was able to do two or three songs. One of the songs was “Birthday Song.” I’m a Virgo, so is she. It was a great opportunity. Fans loved it. I loved it.
What’s special about Virgos?
We’re special, God took his time with us. Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Nas, me. Luda, Kobe. I could keep going. There’s a lot of us.
Travis Scott’s Rodeo recently celebrated eight years. “3500” with Future was a standout. What was the best memory from that record?
Being on a song with me, Travis, and Future all on one record. That was one of the biggest standouts. We need a current version of that.
How easy is it to hit them…?
Oh they’re both peers of mine. High respect for everyone involved.
What can we expect from your role in BMF?
My character’s name is Stacks. I’m looking forward to seeing it. It was a change for me. I studied for it, I took it very seriously. Shout out to Meech, both of them actually. But Lil Meech helped me get through some patches, really rehearsed with me and practiced before I got on. Shout out to his acting couch, who lent a hand too. I can’t wait, I can’t wait until it comes out.
How’d that happen? Did 50 reach out to you?
Mmhmm, yeah. Shout out to 50, cool guy. Very intelligent, intellectual. Understands his space, understands the business. That’s something that you never know. It might be something that I can venture off into, whether being behind the camera or in front of the camera. It feels like a space I want to be a part of.
So you took acting classes?
I did. I took some via Zoom, with Tasha. I took some a couple of times via zoom. Oh, I did one in person too. I did a couple, I have. I just thought about that. I don’t want to make a full out of myself, you know?
Favorite meal from Esco Restaurant and Tapas?
My favorite meal is the salmon pasta. My second favorite meal is Tity Boi turkey burger with fried okra and broccoli.
Did you see Terrell Owens plays “I’m Different” to get hyped?
Someone told me that earlier. I have great respect for T.O. He’s a super athlete to me. Always taking care of himself. I recently saw him at the ESPYs. For over 10 years, it’s been a mutual respect for each other.
How was it bringing your son to the ESPYs?
I was his plus one. [laughs] He got invited. Shout out to my son, he broke his arm yesterday. Falling off the 4-wheeler. We have a podcast that’s called Me & Halo. We talk about sports and father/son relationships in the black community. In every community. We touch on a lot of stuff dealing with school, family, friendship, traveling.
He got invited to the ESPYs and we did a live podcast as well. We had Tyrese Haliburton on there. It’s cool. He’s 7 years old, going on 8. It’s cool to be around him, have a best friend. A spitting image of yourself. It was cool. It’s really just me and him. No mom, no sisters. I felt responsible.
Is he nervous at only 7, interviewing these legends?
No, that’s the thing. He might seriously be built for this. Because I didn’t tell him about the live podcast until we got there. He’s like, “You mean people in the crowd?” I’m like yeah, then he opens up his shirt some more. Comes out with his chest out. You can’t teach that.
When are we getting ColleGrove 2?
ColleGrove 2 will be coming out before the year’s over with. We’ve already shot two visuals, the photo shoot is over. We’re in the process now of mastering records. All the records are mixed, so it’ll be coming soon. I’m so excited about it and I’ve been talking about it so long. I’m anxious at this point, to try to get it to the fans’ ears. Hear some of the hard work, and the blood sweat and tears that me and my brother put into this project.
How fire is that Usher record?
Record is ready to go, it has legs on it. Soon as it hits the ground, it’s gonna start running.