Earlier, one of the first things you said was, “I’m happy with the album, but I have room to grow after this.” What topics haven’t you touched on yet that you wanna get into the next time around? Where do you see yourself going from here?
We still gotta get more personal. A lot of people know 2 Chainz. You got to introduce them to Tauheed Epps. We’re still growing. That’s what makes music fun. Can’t get to all of them at one time. Although I won’t release it, I already have titles and concepts for my next album. My first one not out yet, so I’m gonna take it one project at time.
When my last album didn’t do well, I bought a Porsche to make me feel better. I did different things for my therapy, but music is my therapy. I feel like releasing a lot of things. I don’t have a best friend, I don’t have a brother or sister. So when I record, it’s kind of like my diary.
There’s a lot of personal things that have been reported about you that you don’t really touch on. As you said earlier, people know Lil Wayne’s life story, they know Jay’s story. But people think about 2 Chainz and they think about whatever song is on the radio. They don’t think about something from your life story. Do you consciously keep those details murky to try to maintain some level of mystery?
Lil Wayne was rapping since he was 11 years old. There was no way you couldn't know his story. You didn’t know Toya until she got her reality show, and I’ve been known Toya. People do different things at different times. 50 Cent got shot a whole bunch of times, and it created that curiosity. Certain things put you at a certain space where you you have to do certain things.
For me, my whole story is just about me having a second chance. It’s not that I got out of prison, I just walked out of a hospital, I just beat a case. My line is my persistence, my hard work—that’s my story. My work ethic got me right here. People want to hear that shit. They’re gonna hear about my daughter and all that real soon, but they wanna hear how you never give up. How you can be an inspiration to others. And this is coming from O.G. rappers who been in the game. This is my story, like, “Damn dog, you did it. I’m proud of you."
You played college basketball, apparently you were shot at some point. Don’t you feel like that’s important to your story too?
We’ll see, bruh. I just can’t tell you right now. Right now I’m doing what’s definitely interesting to people right now. That’s what we’re doing. What’s interesting to people right now is that “This is the same dude from ‘Duffle Bag Boy’? I didn’t know that.” They don’t ask me, "Can you hoop?"
That’s what they’re interested in. How the hell did “Mercy” come up? How did he do “Beez in the Trap?” “No Lie” is the No. 1 record. It kind of had nothing to do with nothing but hard work. That’s the story behind it. That’s what’s happening. It’s the work ethic. My lack of sleep.
That’s why we’re having this conversation in the first place. People want to know how you took over the game. It seems like you came out of nowhere almost.
Yeah, but I didn’t, dude. Trust me.
What was it like during those years in limbo? Playaz Circle kind of fell apart, you were having issues with DTP. Did you ever feel like “it’s over.” What was it like weathering that storm?
You just see the results, man. It makes me continue to work hard. A lot of the naysayers, a lot of the doubters, a lot of the non-believers make it a great feeling. It makes me stay persistent and never give up—no matter what I’m trying to do.
What was the most frustrating moment? Did you ever doubt yourself when it seemed like the odds were stacked against you?
I never doubted myself. I’ve always thought I had a pretty cool flow. I would compare anything I hear and I would be like, "I could go get that. I’m iller than that." I used to hear that kind of stuff. When i put out my Playaz Circle albums and the numbers didn’t do well, I just felt like I was ahead of my time. I didn’t feel bad.
I made myself feel good about it. Maybe the rest of the world was slow. When my last album didn’t do well, I bought a Porsche to make me feel better. I did different things for my therapy, but music is my therapy. I feel like releasing a lot of things. I don’t have a best friend, I don’t have a brother or sister. So when I record, it’s kind of like my diary.
In our G.O.O.D Music cover story, you also say that you were an only child, you don’t have best friends, and that you have trust issues. Is that a part of your personality that you’ve accepted at this point, or do you feel like, “Damn, I would like to get over this shit?”
Yeah, it’s just one of those things that it is what it is. I would definitely love to get more trust and find somebody that I could trust in. But that’s a weird characteristic to have. We’ll see. So far, so good—I got a great team around me. I got a great crew around me who I've seemed to build more trust with than anybody else. I’m working on it. I'm definitely working on it.