Tauheed. Tity Boi. 2 Chainz. The evolution and progression of 2 Chainz has been one of the most perplexing and fascinating stories in hip-hop for the last few years. How exactly did the guy from the Playaz Circle albums become one of the most dominant and just plain fun rappers out there? It’s a tough question, but the answer becomes clear when you look at the mixtapes he dropped in the period between 2007 and 2011. 2 Chainz wasn’t handed his crown; he earned it through years of hard work.
Over the course of seven tapes—all leading up to the release of his major label debut Based On A T.R.U. Story—Chainz crafted a persona that was equal parts blustering absurdity and detached cool. Unlike many of his contemporaries, 2 Chainz actually makes rapping sound fun. The joy of his mixtapes is that you can hear him getting better with each one, finding new ways to craft lines and developing an ear for the type of luxurious beats that compliment his elastic flow. The artist you hear on 2007′s Me Against The World is very different from the one you hear on 2011′s far more polished and savvy T.R.U. REALigion.
With this week’s release of B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, XXL is looking back at 2 Chainz’s rise to the top by selecting some of his best mixtape tracks. Get ready for some punchlines. – Written by Dan Jackson And Eric Diep