If you've been following 2 Chainz on Instagram over the last decade, you know he enjoys sharing photos of his favorite eats. Speaking with Complex over the phone in early October, he proudly proclaims himself a "foodie," revealing that he developed a deep appreciation for cooking long before he dropped a cookbook on the inside cover of his second studio album, B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time, back in 2013.
During quarantine this year, that appreciation has only grown stronger. That's why 2 Chainz is partnering with LG for a new campaign that brings a few famous faces together—socially distanced, of course—to share their favorite recipes and partake in some friendly competition. Using appliances like the LG InstaView Range, which has a built-in air-fryer, 2 Chainz will go up against competitors like actor Billy Porter to showcase his cooking skills.
The campaign isn’t the only thing on 2 Chainz’s plate, though. Right now, he’s in album mode. Last month, he decided to delay his upcoming album, So Help Me God, due to sample clearances. But now, he tells Complex the album will arrive on October 30.
"I'm going to shake it up again," he says. "And it just makes me thank God even more to know that I haven't reached my pinnacle yet."
There were rumors that Kanye West was going to be a producer or consultant on this album, but 2 Chainz reveals their conflicting schedules made it difficult to connect. "But let it be known that it’s going to happen, whether it’s this next project or the one after," he clarifies. "It's a whole Tity Boi and Kanye West project, produced by Kanye. Let's just say that."
2 Chainz also shared an update on ColleGrove 2 with Lil Wayne, his relationship with NBA champion Lebron James, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
Why did you want to get involved with this LG potluck campaign? What drew you to the idea?
I think it aligned organically with myself and what I do. I'm into smart things. I've always had up-to-date appliances. And not only do I cook, but I have a chef, so it definitely drew me in that kind of way. I like to deal with things that align organically with myself and my intentions, and it definitely did.
You made the decision to delay your album, So Help Me God, because of sample clearings and a skit. Can you share what samples have held you back?
I'm still waiting on them. But no, I don't want to share that. But that's what it is. And fans probably can't relate, but artists can relate all the time. What's happening is a lot of the artists who can't afford it, a lot of them got taken advantage of in a few different ways. When we go back and dig in the crate and use the samples from artists that are still living, they try to cash out on the replays or re-dos of their project. So we have to come up to an amicable split to where they're happy with somebody using it, and I'm happy with not paying all this crazy money on using it. And then as far as the skit, we're getting that handled, too. So, it's all about clearances... I'm dropping So Help Me God on October 30 now. That's the new date, and you're the first one to know that.
What can we expect from So Help Me God?
So Help Me God has a couple of meanings for me. Obviously, it's an oath that people take when they are in a high office. And so for me, one of the oaths that I would like to take this year, especially since we've been in such a fucking trashy year, it's to come out of it being a better husband, father, friend, musician, and artist, all around the board. But at the same time, So Help Me God could be like a threat. Like, I know I'm one of the illest to do this, “so help me God.” It has two meanings to let people know that you should be a little concerned. No, I don't have all the hype of dating some publicized chick on some reality show. No, I don't go out here and cuss nobody out on IG. But when it comes to this music, and putting together these projects, and coming up with concepts, and marketing ideas, me and my team are some of the best ones to ever do it. Ever, in the total history of ever.
So, that's what's about to happen this month. I'm going to shake it up again. And it just makes me thank God even more to know that I haven't reached my pinnacle yet, that I could still put out a song like "Money Maker," and it starts to grow legs and do things that my other songs haven't done. Being true to who I am, and aligned with who I am, me being organic with working with artists, producers, and things of that nature, that has worked for me my whole entire life. So Help Me God is definitely a movie. It's a thriller. And I can't wait until you guys grab your popcorn and check it out.
There are rumors that Kanye West is consulting or producing on So Help Me God. To what capacity is Kanye on the album?
Actually, he wanted to do the whole project, but I'm dealing with trying to get out of my contract with Def Jam. He's been someone that's been loudly voicing contracts and things of that nature.
He's still going to produce an album for me, and we're still going back and forth, but it's just the time of me wanting to put it out and be done, because he has a thousand things going on in his place. He has something to do with this project, but I don't want to spoil that alert. Originally, he's been talking about doing every song. We just have to come up with something that works for both of us, because his time and my time is just different. But let it be known that it's going to happen, whether it's this next project or the one after. It's a whole Tity Boi and Kanye West project, produced by Kanye. Let's just say that.
Lebron James was an A&R on Rap or Go to the League. Did he have a hand in this upcoming album?
No. LeBron has been in the bubble for months without his family. And when I talked to him in these four months, it's been more about some friendship stuff. It ain't been like, "I'm dropping. I need you." So, that didn't happen this go around. Last round, with Rap or Go to the League, we had some initiatives that lined up with each other. He had the white lady tell him to, "Shut up and dribble." So, he started More Than An Athlete. We had a strong correlation, the same message. He's the biggest athlete. I'm one of the biggest rappers. We got along together. One thing I could tell you that LeBron said, which became a whole thing, was about doing deluxe projects. And even though I didn't do a deluxe, we seen deluxes pop back up again, or re-surge again, like they hadn't done before. I like to consider myself someone that's very in tune with the culture, inspiring people. And that was one of those things that happened. And I'm truly, truly appreciative of LeBron and the whole team over there.
Is there any update on ColleGrove 2 with Lil Wayne?
We was going to drop my solo album and ColleGrove 2 this year. I'm not going to say it's not going to happen, but we're still trying to go back. That project is almost done. We might have to do one or two more songs. But we have been actively working on that project the whole COVID. "Money Maker" was a part of it, which I ended up using for my solo project, to let people get used to me and him back at it again. But I'm super excited about that. Believe it or not, it's easier to work on that than my solo project. Me and Wayne, we have tons of fun. Steel sharpens steel. It's this friendly competition. It's to stay up on your toes. It's a slaying war, a delivery war. It's just so fun. So be looking out for ColleGrove, if not the end of this year, definitely the top of next year. I'm coming back-to-back with music this year, for sure.
"[ColleGrove 2] is almost done. We might have to do one or two more songs. But we have been actively working on that project the whole COVID."
You shared several videos of you in the studio with Mike Dean. What can you tell us about your relationship with him?
Mike Dean is a fixture in the community. He was one of the people that was behind a lot of the Houston sound, or Texas sound, or working with Scarface, the Geto Boys, and the people that I grew up to. Obviously, he has a great rapport with Kanye, and we just grew to have a rapport. And Mike Dean has been a part of, I want to say, every project that I've dropped, whether he's produced or co-produced something. He did "Good Drank" on Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, which went, I want to say, double platinum with me, Gucci, and Quavo. And then he'd done a lot of replays or programming on my album, because he has such a great ear as a musician. I mean, his ears are just incredible. So I went over to let him check out this project and add some, I like to call it seasoning, to some of my songs and tracks.
Last year, you revealed you and Dr. Dre "got some work done" while in his home studio. Is there a chance that any of that work pops up on your upcoming album?
Yeah, I don't know if it's going to be on my project or somebody else's project, but I'll be doing some Dr. Dre stuff. He's a really, really, cool cat. I'm sure, we all knew that from the outside, but just getting inside, going over there, talking to him on the phone, I have a super high respect for the guy. He has a unique ear. Some of these guys are just put here for different reasons. Kanye, a few other guys, they just got a different knack in the studio. And so, I'm someone that is proud to say that I don't know everything. I enjoy learning. I've always enjoyed learning. I don't want to put a glass ceiling on learning. So, it's always cool to be around someone like that who has so much history in the game.
We heard you've been getting pretty creative in the kitchen. What meal or food have you enjoyed cooking the most?
Well, I don't eat beef or pork, so for me, my proteins consist of anything from shrimp, salmon, turkey burgers, ground turkey, and things of that nature. A stove that I got from LG, it has a couple of smart features. It's kind of like getting a new phone. It has this feature where you knock on the window and it lights up. And it also has a feature where the air fryer comes with the stove, which helps me out in my kitchen, because it was getting a little clustered. So, I'm able to throw away my other air fryer. It's a smart piece of technology that aligns with my lifestyle and what I do. I'm actually just getting out the gym, literally, just walking in the house. And it'll be something that I use to get my day started. I'll probably put something in there, maybe some okra from my garden, or something. I haven't made up my mind.
Was cooking a new hobby you picked up during quarantine or have you always had a love for it?
Well, actually my second album, B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time, I have a cookbook on the inside of it. I was one of the first people that took a chef on the road. I would post these illustrious pictures of everything from purple cabbage to black rice, things I knew people around me never seen or thought I would eat. That kind of started the whole thing with me being a foodie and me eating healthy. I'm not sure how it looks to people, but when I started sharing recipes and some of the things that I like, it just put a different light on me. And I'm one of those people that's very confident in who I am. I'm very, very proud to be in my own skin. And so this was just another extension of me before COVID hit.
During COVID, I did start my first garden, which is totally taking over my mornings. But for the most part, I've always been intrigued with being a foodie, eating the best food, the highest quality superfoods. Whether it's an avocado or whatever it is, I've always been an advocate of eating healthy. And so back around 2012 or 2013, I was literally posting these meals on expensive Versace plates. The next thing I know, Justin Bieber called my chef, and they took them from me, and took them on the road. So, I'm one of those guys that had that inspiration. I inspire people in different ways.
You've incorporated food into your philanthropic work with Feed Your City. What's the significance of you doing the Feed Your City Challenge?
Somebody asked me to do it, and I wouldn't dare say no to nothing like that. That's really the answer for that. It's something that's been going around for almost a month now, and [the organizers are] great friends of me and my team. I just think when they thought of Atlanta, I'm somebody that came to mind because of the work that I've done in my community in the past has been public and non-public. So, people know where my heart expands and how I use my platform, and that's how it got on my table. I couldn't wait to do it. I took the whole family out there. I wanted to show my kids what it was like to give back. Once again, it was an extension of me.
Last month, you partnered with Sprite to encourage Black people to vote. What else would you like to say to voters as we approach the presidential election?
Well, one of the messages that I was really trying to get through was to let felons know that they can reinstate themselves to vote again. That was one of the main things. It's like this little percentage in the corner. I was trying to reach them, because I made a mistake when I was young. My first time actually voting was for Obama. But the thing is, there's information out that I was trying to let people know in different states, to have felons feel like they had a voice too. Imagine people that's in jail for weed right now. That's got to be the craziest thing in the world. It's legal in a lot of states. And imagine people that made mistakes when they were younger. So for me, it was about spreading information to let them know that if they didn't have any restitution or were done with probation, they can vote. And then for some people, if they had restitution and probation, they still could vote. Black people should know that we need to vote. I hope they really know that, but I'm just trying to do my part. Better use my voice while people still appreciate it.