For many, the highlight of the BET Hip Hop Awards, which aired earlier this week, were the handful of cyphers, which were taped weeks before the show aired. One of the many artists featured was 2 Chainz, who is currently heating up with songs like “Spend It,” and is featured in the November 2011 issue of XXL with Nas on the cover. But the braided rapper told XXLMag.com that he almost wasn’t able to take part in the festivities.
“Luda invited me at the last hour,” said 2 Chainz. “Called me at about 5:30, told me to be on his jet at 7:30.” The rhymers were in their hometown, Atlanta, but the cyphers were being filmed in New York. “I was out ridin’ with my potna, told my potna to take me home. Grabbed some Louis shoes, Polo jackets—I grabbed everything I could. Tried to get a quick little edge up because I was gonna be on camera. Really didn’t have time, so I called him about 7:30, told him, ‘I appreciate it, bro, [but] there’s no way I can get to the plane in five minutes.‘”
Luckily, owning a private jet, like Luda does, affords some flexibility.
“He told me that the window for traveling was another 20-30 minutes because of the weather,” the vet continued. “I pulled out the Porsche, shot up there to him.”
Even when he arrived, 2 Chainz wasn’t exactly sure what he was getting into, saying: “I was like, ‘What are we doing?’ He was like, ‘You know, like a 16 over a break beat.’ I was like, ‘Who has the beat?’ He said he had it, but he needed to write to it. So when he told me he was gonna be in the cypher, that was my first time hearing it, I got comfortable. For people that really know me—I never wrote. I just had my thinking cap on, bro gave me his iPad, I came up with a few bars. He was like, ‘Do a 16.’ I’ve been rapping with ‘Cris since I started, he’s one of the few people that know—probably him and I-20 know—that I don’t know how to count bars. So I gave it back to him, like, ‘Yo, what’s a 16.’ He’s laughing, like ‘Probably 46-47 seconds.’ Then we get in there, [BET] is like, ‘Ok, Luda, you do 24 and Busta, you do 24.’ I’m thinking, I know how this goes. Whoever raps the longest is the winner. So I probably had about two hours to get the 16 together, then as Premo was setting up, I tried to come up with some more bars.”
In the end, he was excited about the finished product.
“When I saw it online, that was my first time seeing how it came out, and I’m very proud of how it came out,” he said. “I feel blessed. To be able to pull it off, and be on TV and be confident like, ‘This is me, fuck it, I do this.’ That’s the approach I took. It was a powerful experience.”
2 Chainz will be dropping his mixtape, T.R.U. Realigion at the beginning of November. —Adam Fleischer