2 Chainz Main Event Center Friday, April 6
Friday night, precipitous persona 2 Chainz arrived in a white stretch Hummer limousine, packed full of women and choice entourage at the Main Event Center. With a wingspan rivaling most NBA power forwards, 2 Chainz's menacing frame appeared not a moment too soon before a packed house full of aspiring rappers and female fans.
In his past life, he was Tauheed Epps, a high school basketball prodigy recruited by Alabama State University. After playing one season for the Hornets, Epps formed Atlanta's Playaz Circle with childhood friend Earl Conyers, perhaps best known for their hit single, "Duffle Bag Boy," featuring Lil Wayne. Shortly thereafter, label trouble struck, along with the incarceration of Conyers, causing Epps to adopt a new nom de plume.
Holding a microphone in one hand and a Styrofoam cup in the other, 2 Chainz appeared at the top of the club's balcony to a barrage of cameras flashing simultaneously. With diamonds dripping from his neck and wrist, he performed a slew of tracks from his critically acclaimed "T.R.U. REALigion" mix tape released last November. Amongst them was "Spend It," an unorthodox club anthem making waves on national radio; "Riot," a song dedicated to dismissing haters; and "K.O.," featuring G.O.O.D. Music's Big Sean.
Most notable, however, was an a capella performance of his verse on Young Jeezy's recent "Supafreak" single, which the entire crowd sang word for word. He rapped, "Laying in the bed and I still got my semi tucked / Going online like when they gonna make that Bentley truck / My bankroll make them pay attention / The white girl like it when I whip it whip it." Before he left the stage, 2 Chainz paid his respects to deceased Texas rap legend Pimp C of UGK, a fitting tribute to a man he credits as largely influencing his career.
Despite sticking out like a sore thumb in my Nantucket Reds pants, I ended up thoroughly enjoying myself, which speaks to 2 Chainz's ability to reach people of all creeds and backgrounds. Perhaps Pimp C said it best in an interview with the Associated Press: "Music don't have no color or no face. It's a universal language."
Notebook dump: As I was leaving the venue, one gentleman stopped me and asked, "Say, what brand are those Nantucket Reds pants you got on?" "Polo," I replied, to which he responded, "I know class when I see it!"
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