Words by Ms. Rivercity
Photo by Hannibal Matthews
As ½ of Playaz Circle, Tity Boi has succeeded within a group, as a solo artist, and as a standout on the DTP roster. After releasing Trap-A-Velli 2: The Residue, Tity Boi’s 6th solo mixtape, the rapper also known as 2 Chainz is finally taking his place amongst Southern Rap’s most recognizable lyricists. Superb production from Drumma Boy and Lex Luger added fuel to 2 Chainz already engaging concepts, syrupy drawl, and quote-able lines, making Trap-A-Velli 2 a street classic, or at least a top 2010 release. With ratings high and expectations surpassed, 2 Chainz explains why he’s still unsatisfied, and still working to defeat the competition.
Your mixtape Trap-a-velli 2: The Residue is highly talked about right now. Were you expecting it to catch on so fast and do so well?
Well, yeah and no, being that every tape I’ve put out has shown growth and progression. The last one I put out called Codeine Withdrawal hosted by Black Bill Gates, it did so well, especially down here in the A, so the next one I put out I just felt so confident about it. Drumma Boy did a lot of the production, Lex Luger got some production in. It was a sound I felt was missing out here in the streets of Atlanta. I always felt like I had that type of music, I was just lacking the team around me to get the music out, use different internet bridges and networking. So far I’ve been blessed with people in my corner that have stepped in to help to spread the word. It’s a thin line between being confident and being cocky – and I straddle that line. I been doing it a while. I feel like I’m an older rookie so-to-speak.
Explain that some more, what do you mean by you’re an older rookie?
‘Cause I been around some of the best – Luda, Wayne – and I’ve learned from each situation. And now I’m ready to go out on my own and take things into my own hands and be a force to reckon with.
The word “classic” is being used frequently to describe this tape, and of course it hasn’t been out long enough to really know until later down the road, but do you feel that’s an accurate description of this project?
I just remember how I made the tape, and it wasn’t hard for me to make it. It just required late nights in the studio, it required the basic format of making good songs. If people feel like that’s a classic then I feel like I can do some more.
What are people’s favorite songs off the tape? There’s so many people are talking and tweeting about, but what do you think are some of the stronger ones?
Definitely “Fuck the Roof” took off. “Boo” featuring Yo Gotti took off for the ladies. I noticed a lot of the dudes rock wit’ me, the trappers, the street guys, which is cool ‘cause a lot of rappers out here don’t get that respect, so it feels good to get that, but at the same time, I’m a ladies’ man. We’re supposed to be having fun. Ain’t nobody that gangsta, so of course I wanted to show that side with a song like “Boo.” That’s getting tremendous feedback. My intro “Kitchen” is getting feedback, and “Check Me Out,” “Up In Smoke.” I’ve shot videos for almost every song except 2. When I make a song I shoot the video for it in my head. When I’m coming up with concepts and hooks, I’m already writing the treatment. That’s why a lot of people rock with me, they see the visions and visuals. It just feels good.
Putting a lot of visuals with the music is somewhat of a new practice in the music business. It seems like you have to do a lot more now than what you were doing back in the day.
Yeah you do. The internet is a platform where you can do so many things to get yourself hot. People are recognizing that all over the world. The problem is you got people that’s not hot that know how to work the internet. Then you got people that’s a little bit blessed and talented in the rap game, but don’t really have people around them to get the word spread. If you’re able to tie together both, the talent with the word-of-mouth, that’s when you’re next. Even I had to learn it takes more than rapping. It consists of interviews, radio, drops, shows, personality – it consists of so much more than a 16. People need to get more educated, stop looking at videos and getting it twisted.
What’s the difference in working on a solo project like this one versus a group project?
It’s a little different, but not that much because when me and Dolla first started off we was kinda doin’ solo thangs anyway. We always been family and friends, so when it was time to get the money it made sense to combine our talents and we took that to Disturbing Tha Peace. Now since I’m growing and he’s growing, and by us owning a studio, it’s just an opportunity to record. We have so much material. By being around certain people and seeing the blueprint, I found out that the more material you release, the more respect you get.
So what’s your strategy to staying hot?
Applying it to the street analogy, you got the music, which is like crack. The fans are like fiends. If you know anything about the streets, what fiends do is try different dope from different people. They like the crack that’s the best and most consistent. They’ll try crack like, “This kid is cool, I got high,” and when this kid falls off, you got this other kid that stays on the block and keeps puttin’ out crack. That’s how superstars develop – they continue puttin’ out crack. That’s the formula. That’s what I’ve been doing with my solo mixtapes, with Playaz Circle, with songs period.
Basically you put out a lot of music, but how do you stay ahead of the competition as far as the quality?
I’m just really hungry. I don’t have a ceiling on what I consider to be success. When “Duffle Bag Boyz” came out, I wasn’t content with the shows, I wasn’t content with the attention. When people come up to me and say they rap and say they’re so good, I say, “Well you’re my competition then.” I’m not gonna take your product and put it before Luda and tell him this kid is crazy. If you ‘posed to be so hot then stay away from me, I’m not tryin’ to sign none of that. I accept beats. But if you’re supposed to be hot, then do like I did and grind for 10 years, make people believe in what you’re doing and your movement, and put your foot to the metal.
What are your thoughts on keeping the sound the same or evolving it? Your style has pretty much stayed the same over the years.
I know for a fact Dolla, the other half of Playaz Circle, if you ever get in Dolla’s car you’ll rarely hear the radio. And if you hear the radio it’ll be a rock station. I found it easier to do me by not listening to other people. Of course some nights I plug up the iPod and shuffle the music, some old stuff, some new, but for the most part I don’t play people’s CD. For friends, I’ll play it once or twice to see what they’re doing, give compliments, but with me being an artist and looking at other artists as competition, I don’t sit or ride around listening to other people’s work. A lot of artists listen to other artists so much they get caught up in the era. I consider myself timeless on the things I do.
Being with DTP, you have some backing and support, but at the same time you do a lot on your own with the independent grind. Do you have any words of advice on that?
Once you get signed you have more work to do. Being under a label like Disturbing Tha Peace and having a superstar CEO like Luda, and him being caught up in different endeavors like liquor, movies, signing other acts, whatever, my label has a lot on its plate. You gotta be the act with the hand up like, “Me, me, pick me.” It’s not that they don’t wanna pick you, it’s like they got a litter and wanna know you’re gonna be the pick of the litter. I never had a problem proving that to the label, or to the streets, you just have to understand the business. I’m maturing and I understand the business. Once you put in hard work and plant seeds, when they start growing everyone starts trying to holla, ya feel me?
What’s the plan now that The Residue is buzzing?
I’m trying to do more visuals, more behind the scenes footage, b-roll footage, let people get to know how I am as far as my personality and how I get down, trying to connect the dots with DVDs and videos. As well as just rapping every night, gettin’ that crack together for the fiends.
Are you working on another tape?
I’m working on a tape that’s half done, I don’t know when I’ma drop it, it’ll either be my next tape or the one after, but it consists of all 80s…damn, should I tell y’all this! – yeah ‘cause I’ll know you’re biting if I tell you this and you go do it – it consists of all 80s type sounds and music, but I’ma be doin’ me over that sound. Instead of calling it Classic Jams, I’ma call it Classic Yams – yams is another word for crack. I got that coming out, and I got a Best of Tity Boi coming out called Codeine Cowboy. I put out a mixtape called Me Against the World, Trap-A-Velli 1, All Ice On Me was a double disc with one hosted by Scream and one hosted by Teknikz, I put out Codeine Withdrawal, and Trap-A-Velli 2 – so that’s 6 solo mixtapes and I know everyone’s not up on all of ‘em. I’m just gonna pick from there. If you listen to the titles, they all have that Tupac theme because I’m a fan, but I’m nowhere near his greatness. I just flipped the titles ‘cause I’m a fan. Rest in Peace.
What else do you want to add?
DuffleBagBoyz.com is our social website. You can see the footage I was talkin’ about. You can also go on my Youtube page. Follow me on Twitter @PlayazCircle and @2Chainz. I want to tell everyone I appreciate y’all for supporting the movement.