The 2 Chainz phenomenon should be an inspiration to every rapper or would-be rapper in the game—and really to anybody who's ever had to hustle hard with their back against the wall. After two Playaz Circle albums, one defunct major label deal, and nine solo mixtapes—including last year's banger, T.R.U. REALigion—the artist formerly known as Tity Boi battled back from obscurity and got everybody asking "Who is 2 Chainz?"
Since then, Chainz has become arguably the hottest rapper alive, blazing a trail of high-profile guest features, racking up his second consecutive No. 1 rap single (just last week "No Lie" featuring Drake bumped G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy" out of the top spot) and appearing on Complex's G.O.O.D. Music cover without even officially signing with Kanye West's dream team. The takeaway from all this is a simple yet profound message: "Never give up."
After all these years of "griming" (the rapper's own term that combines grinding and timing), Chainz' strategic yet relentless campaign has paid off. Yesterday, he dropped a new video, "I Luv Dem Strippers" featuring Nicki Minaj. Tomorrow, he will release his solo debut on Island Def Jam, Based on a T.R.U. Story. To celebrate Deuce's big moment, we've collaborated with him to create a week filled with exclusive features, anchored by the gleaming digital cover you see above, photographed by NABIL. Get started with Complex editor Ernest Baker's in-depth Q&A, "The Tru Story."