The 6-foot-5-inch dreadlocked rapper 2 Chainz, who grew up singing in the church choir and playing basketball in College Park, proved to have a Midas touch in 2012 with a chart-topping album, numerous awards and guest turns on a head-turning number of songs for other artists.
Born Tauheed Epps, the MC's music career began back in 1997 when he formed the hip-hop duo, Playaz Circle, with high school friend Earl Conyers. Almost a decade later, the pair recorded several mixtapes and two studio albums on Disturbing Tha Peace, the label owned by fellow Georgian Chris "Ludacris" Bridges. But in 2010, eager for more business and creative control, Epps set out on his own, and within a year he had adopted the moniker 2 Chainz and released a mixtape, "T.R.U.E. RELigion," which climbed to No. 58 on "Billboard’s" Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart. He began a streak of guest appearances on singles for Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, among others. Then, in March 2012, "No Lie," the first single from 2 Chainz’ debut solo studio album featuring Drake, debuted at No. 45 on "Billboard’s" Hot 100. When "Based on a T.R.U. Story" was finally released in August on Def Jam Recordings, it debuted at No. 1 on "Billboard’s" Top 200 chart and quickly sold more than 250,000 copies. Unstoppable in 2012, 2 Chainz embarked on his first solo worldwide tour, appeared on more than 70 tracks for other artists, earned four BET Hip-Hop awards and three Grammy nominations, was named "Source Magazine’s" "Man of the Year," picked up several lucrative endorsements and began the new year not by slowing down but by beginning to write songs for his sophomore album.