Few, if any, people in today's rap game appreciate the importance of grinding and timing as much as 2 Chainz. In fact, that's probably why he invented a term that combines them both: "griming." After years of ups and downs, Chainz's griming finally came to fruition this week.
On Monday, he tore down the stage at a sold-out SOBs in New York—an impressive feat for anyone but even more so for a Southern artist. Yesterday, he went on MTV's Rap Fix and finally revealed that he had signed a deal with Def Jam. And to top it all off, he even said he's been working with Kanye West.
The night after his epic NYC show, the 2 Gun Gangsta stopped by the Complex offices to give us the lowdown on how his Def Jam deal came together. But that wasn't the juiciest part: Chainz also claimed that he's got a surprise partnership he's going to announce soon. "Will it be a Watch The Throne type situation," we asked? "Maybe," he replied, reluctant to reveal much more. See what 2 Chainz had to say, and read between the lines...
As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
On His Def Jam Deal
“I’m signed to Def Jam. It was a lot of things [that made the deal happen]. I was already signed to Def Jam through DTP with my group. I had a relationship with a few people in the building. And then just out of all the bidding and all that going on, they’re really who I had the most leverage with and who had the best deal on the table.
“I knew Sha Money before he got over there at Def Jam. I still had people who did promo over there who did promo with me for Playaz Circle. A few people that I didn’t have good relationships with left and all of that—so it was cool. There was just a whole new energy in the building.
I don’t want to put a lot of the business out there, but I know for a fact I got one of the best deals. People may try to use [my name] and say, ‘You did it for 2Chainz!’ But I work hard for my deal. So basically, whatever you can imagine, I imagined the same thing. I asked for it and it came to me.
“I was doing very well as an independent artist. So what Def Jam came with, their idea was basically adding a steroid to our workout that we were already doing with our own team. The money was on point. The whole all-around deal [was on point], everything all the way down to the merchandise was good.
“It’s just next-level things. It’s some things you only could deal with the amount of resources that you have [at a major label, but not as] an independent artist. It takes money to do certain things and certain labels can facilitate it a little quicker. That’s what it is with me. It’s a time thing.
“I don’t want to put a lot of the business out there, but I know for a fact I got one of the best deals. People may try to use [my name] and say, ‘You did it for 2Chainz!’ But I work hard for my deal. So basically, whatever you can imagine, I imagined the same thing. I asked for it and it came to me.”
“I’m excited about putting out new music. Fortunately for me I have so many features that’s not out yet. I have features that’s out and then my mixtape definitely has some more legroom on it. Some songs that still haven’t peaked. I don’t like putting out music to confuse the consumer or to cause problems to my own campaign. So I got some really dope records. I’m just waiting on the right time to release them.
I’ll be working with another artist. I’ll be making a surprise announcement [about it] later on, [and I'll reveal] who I’m gonna be partnering up with. You a smart motherf*cker so I’m not gonna give you all the information you need. But it’s going down.
“I think about the future a lot. Some things I’ve done, I said, ‘I should’ve waited.’ It’s some things that mean more if it’s done right at the appropriate time. I’ve had really dope records that I’ve put out four years ago that never get that recognition because people weren’t hip to 2 Chainz.
“You have to start small and that’s how my shit happened. I had a small die-hard fan base who went out and told people verbally, with a word-of-mouth kind of campaign, ‘You need to get on this.’ They were really confident with what I was doing early on and that’s where you get people like Raekwon and Lil Wayne. Tunechi did a hook for me on ‘Duffle Bag Boy’ back when nobody knew who the hell I was.
“When you got people who believe in you, you look at all the people who believe in that person and you’re like, ‘I must have something.’ It gives you that edge to go over the top. For Wayne to think I’m dope when everybody says he’s the best rapper in the world, it makes me think I’m kind of cool.
“Be looking out for a major release from 2 Chainz this year. Major distribution on Def Jam. And I’ll be working with another artist. I’ll be making a surprise announcement [about it] later on, [and I'll reveal] who I’m gonna be partnering up with. You a smart motherfucker so I’m not gonna give you all the information you need. But it’s going down.”