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Best rap reinvention: 2 Chainz

Staff Pick

As Tity Boi, he clung to parts of his past with a familial nickname-turned-rap moniker — meaning "that momma's boy kind of swag," as he once proclaimed — and a slightly milder flow that was used to sharing the spotlight as one-half of Disturbing Tha Peace duo Playaz Circle. But as 2 Chainz, he is Def Jam's best thang smoking. With seven self-released mixtapes under his Louis Vuitton belt, the 36-year-old's young-at-heart hunger meets the sharp wit of Fred G. Sanford on his solo studio debut, Based on a T.R.U. Story. His hooks are catchier and greedier: "I ride around, I get it/it's mine, I spend it." His guest spots sets rap whippersnappers straight: "OK, now ketchup to my campaign/coupe the color of mayonnaise." And his new moniker, pronounced 2 CHAINZZZZZ, is the rallying cry he's always needed.

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