From Tity Boi to 2 Chainz, fans have tracked the evolution of the rising rapper’s name. But before he was known by either of his rap monikers, he was Tauheed Epps, a name that has special meaning to his success and spirituality.
“My name Tauheed means unity with God, one with Allah,” he told CBS Local. ”It’s a very powerful name for me it derived from my a combination from my aunt who is from Ghana and my father who did a lot of reading in prison.”
2 Chainz was originally known to rap fans as Tity Boi, one half of the Atlanta rap duo Playaz Circle, with partner Dolla Boy. In 2007, the crew had a breakout hit with “Duffle Bag Boy,” featuring LIl Wayne.
The name Tity Boy was a a carry-over from his younger days as a self-professed momma’s boy. As mainstream-rapper names go, Tity clearly had its disadvantages. 2 Chainz was born for his solo projects, as a rapper who literally wore two gold chain necklaces. He later explained the name as another way of saying “to change.”
Rebranding oneself has become commobplace in rap. Puff Daddy became P. Diddy in 2001 and now goes by Diddy. Most recently, Snoop Dogg re-christened himself Snoop Lion as he switches genres from rap to reggae for a new album.
But according to 2 Chainz, it wasn’t just his name change and “griming” (grind and timing) that fueled his ascent. He gives credit to an unseen force.
“A lot of time when I speak on things that happen for my success I say, It’s God’s plan,” he said. “I pray a lot. When you pray a lot, you speak things into existence. When you believe as strong as I do, it changes your life.”
Given 2 Chainz’s content, some critics may find his praise of God as incongruous with his image. He makes no secret of his affinity for the codeine-laced drink sizzurp (hence the mixtape: Codeine Cowboy: A 2 Chainz Collective); he drops videos like “Luv Dem Strippers” with Nicki Minaj; and he freely talks of drug-selling in his music (I’ll out rap his a** and out trap his a**).
2 Chainz brushes off the judgement and stands by his spiritual connection.
“I’m not a preacher and not Tim Tebow, it’s the truth,” he told CBS local. “I’m a real n**** and I’m able to say it because I’m comfortable in my own skin. I don’t follow people. I know I pray everyday and that’s why I’m here. I just don’t act like I did all this s*** on my own.”
2 Chainz’s debut album Based On A T.R.U. Story hits stores Tuesday (August 14). Below, Mr. Epps offers three reasons why you should support his campaign. –Erik Parker, CBS Local