2 Chainz: the evolution from Tity Boi to Big Toni

Hey, you. Yeah, you. How’s your day going? Do you have time for me to tell you about the evolution of 2 Chainz? How he went from Tity Boi to Big Toni? Okay, cool. Have a seat. You need to hear this so you can comprehend his latest album ‘Rap Or Go To The League.’

You see, in the beginning there was little Tauheed Epps. A young kid in Atlanta whose dreams were limited by resources, but his imagination dared to dream different. After playing college basketball, his hoop dreams eventually turned into rap dreams. I mean, why not? He is from Atlanta.

That’s how we get to Tity Boi. Tity Boi got it out the mud and didn’t need rapping to make money. He was already certified in the streets and verified before Instagram. No blue checkmark needed. He realized the rap game was much easier than… you now, other lifestyles. So, why not give it a try?

Tity Boi grew up in Atlanta so the southern hip-hop influence ran through his veins. The Dungeon Family gave him the blueprint of what he could achieve. He witnessed their greatness unfold and waited for his moment. It was only a matter of time.

Tity Boi and his childhood friend Dolla Boy formed the rap group ‘Playaz Circle.’ A feature from Lil Wayne on the single “Duffle Bag Boy” would accelerate them to mainstream success.  Maybe this is when you started paying attention? Or was it ‘Spend It?’ Anyway, the bandwagon always had enough room to bring in a new fanbase.

Fast forward about 12 years after ‘Duffle Bag Boy,’ and now there’s Big Toni. Okay, you’re probably asking, who is Big Toni? And why does this man have so many different names? That’s a very good question. It really is. So, simply put Big Toni is what 2 Chainz now refers to himself as on social media and in interviews.

He speaks of Big Toni in third person, as an embodiment of the man he’s become. It’s been a long journey. Toni has arrived. He’s an entrepreneur, a husband, father and a businessman using his platform to go after his next goal: the throne. What’s up HOV?

His fifth studio album ‘Rap Or Go To The League’ has a powerful message. There’s another option that’s not on the album title. What he’s trying to say is… you can rap, go to the league or carve out your own lane of black excellence. You don’t have to be limited by those two options. You can achieve greatness in your own way.

What’s different about this new project is simple. The entire album is not for radio. But radio will play it, though. This album is not for the clubs or the Billboard charts. But it’ll get love from both.

You see, this album is for the young Tauheed’s who daydream about their future. It’s for the young artists to remind them that hip-hop is bigger than rap. It serves as a reminder that hip-hop doesn’t kill. Jealousy does. Hate does. Beefing over insignificant things does. Being ’bout that life’ and not knowing how the consequences affect the whole community does. Hip-hop is for the culture and this album is trying to move the culture forward. That’s the responsibility Big Toni takes on.

‘Rap or Go The League’ is for 2 Chainz. Quite possibly the first album where he’s prioritizing himself and his artistic vision. This album is a tribute to his life story. It shows who he’s become. It’s the fruit of his labor. The emotional vulnerability in the song ‘Forgiven’ shows his maturity and wisdom. He opens up about the struggles of his childhood and his days of being the neighborhood & industry ‘plug.’ But most importantly, how he turned his life around.

The album speaks for itself. Each track is a chapter of his autobiography that has yet to be written. You can tell this is the early stages of 2 Chainz documenting his own story. We’re now in an era where rappers are releasing documentaries about their life while they’re still progressing in the industry. This is a glimpse into what that story would be. He’s controlling his own narrative.

Now back to Big Toni. You see, Tity Boi wanted to be successful like Wayne and get hometown love like Andre. He did that. Alright, cool. Toni, though. He wants to cement a legacy far greater than rapping. Toni wants the throne. It doesn’t matter who’s sitting on it. You can argue about that all you want. He just wants it.

Big Toni wants to be brought up in conversations about the “greatest rappers of all time.” He wants to be respected and recognized as a G.O.A.T.

You see, that’s what ROGTTL is all about – dreams fulfilled and goals still left to accomplish. In his album,  he takes on big topics that reflect on social issues, socio-economics, financial literacy and the need to stop gun violence.

To this day, he admits to feeling like the underdog – underrated and overlooked. But that’s how 2 Chainz has always managed to thrive. Like he has something to prove even when he’s already proven his worth in the industry. This album proves that he can pivot in a different direction and lyrically drop 16 bars about heavy content. Toni proves depth has a space in Atlanta’s current hip-hop scene – a scene often times stereotyped as a city full of mumble rap. Um, that’s false.

Wow, you made it to the end of this post? Congratulations. I hope you enjoyed this story about Tity Boi and Big Toni. If you were confused in any way, that’s totally understandable. I’m sure there will be an autobiography that will come out in a next few years along with a biopic. This was just a quick summary. Okay, you can go back to listening to Big Drako. That’s whole ‘nother story for another day.


@NeimerDreamer, your favorite news lady from Atlanta with good music taste. (Neima Abdulahi)