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Or, why 2 Chainz is hope/change America needs.
Over the last few years, rapper 2 Chainz has been virtually inescapable. Sure, he’s had some hits of his own, most notably “Birthday Song,” but he has developed a tendency to pop up on everyone else’s songs, too. Flip through a few recent hip hop tracks at random and there’s a good chance that 2 Chainz has laid down a guest verse on at least one of them.
2 Chainz, whose real name is Tauheed Epps, doesn’t just have a remarkable ability to be seemingly everywhere in music. He’s also unexpectedly popping up in the realm of politics.
Earlier this month, he went head-to-head against rage-filled TV bobblehead Nancy Grace in a debate over drug policy. Not only did 2 Chainz inarguably come out on top, but his rhetorical toppling of Grace proved lie to the myth that just because something looks like an owl, it doesn’t mean that thing possesses any wisdom.
Continuing in a similar political vein, the 37-year-old rapper told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week that he intends to run for mayor of his hometown of College Park, Ga. “I am looking forward to running at the end of this year or next year,” he said. “[I’m] waiting to see if I meet all of the qualifications.”
2 Chainz has never held office before, so it’s hard to judge him on what he’d do if elected. However, he does have an extensive catalog of writing on the subject of governance—as evidenced by his rhymes. An examination of that lyrical record reveals a wealth of keen insight. It shows 2 Chainz to be a policy wonk with an instinctual understand of the rough-and-tumble world of politics.
Here are some examples:
1: Birthday Song
“When I die, bury me inside the Gucci store / When I die, bury me inside the Louis store…When I die, bury me inside the jewelry store…When I die, bury me inside the booty club”
2 Chainz believes in the promise and the potential of the American businessman. He believes that the American businessman needs government to get out of the way to allow the ingenuity inherent in free-market capitalism to thrive. If a high-end clothing retailer, or a trendy vintage costume jewelry shop, or even the local adult entertainment venue wants to get into the mortuary business, the government only has one job: give them the necessary regulatory space to succeed.
2: Preach (w/ Lil’ Wayne)
“In a two seater, pull up popping 2Pac / Didn’t have a safe, so I stashed it in my tube sock / Eat so much Benihana I need nunchucks”
Poor Americans are often underserved by traditional financial institutions. Major banks often don’t open branches in poor or minority neighborhoods. Credit requirements can shut the working poor out of much-needed financial services. As a result, they’re relegated to using check chasing and payday loan companies that charge exorbitant interest rates and stick users, who often have few alternatives, with high fees. 2 Chainz understands this. A mayor he would undoubtedly work to bring banking services to all Americans regardless of socio-economic status.
Also, dude love Japanese barbecue. Loves it. This humanizes him. It makes him relatable.
3: Birthday Song
“See I done had more bombs than Pakistan / Dope bomb, dro bomb, and a pill bomb”
2 Chainz demonstrates foreign policy experience through an ability to understand how America’s military adventurism is inexorably tied to the country’s insatiable desire for, and simultaneous war on, illegal narcotics.
4: We Own It (Fast & Furious)
“Money’s the motivation, money’s the conversation / You on vacation, We gettin paid so / We on paycation.”
Much hay is made over how few days elected officials actually spend officially doing their jobs. The U.S. House of Representatives only scheduled 113 work days for all of 2014.
Lazy bums, right? Hardly. I can guarantee that your congressperson works harder than you do.
There’s a lot more to running this country than sitting around and casting voice votes on the names of post offices in places you’ve never heard of. The other major part of being a politician is raising money. While it may seem like politicians are goofing off and playing golf on their lengthy vacations, rest assured, what they’re actually doing is spending hours on the phone begging rich people for donations and eating bland chicken in hotel ballrooms begging even richer people for even more money. 2 Chainz’s willingness to go though the political fundraising ringer shows that even though he’s a multi-millionaire, he understands that candidates that slouch on fundraising aren’t candidates who get elected.
5: Feds Watching
“Baking soda marketing, I’m getting it ain’t I? Obviously…I’mma be fresh as hell if the Feds watching”
With the use of the term “baking soda marketing,” 2 Chainz is referring to the practice of mixing real cocaine with baking soda to make a smaller amount of product go farther. It’s a metaphor for the element of showmanship necessary to succeed in retail politics. He knows the importance of mixing a little bullshit in with substantive policies. However, government employee unions can be powerful foes, so 2 Chainz appreciates that, when dealing with organized labor, it’s best to only make promises you can keep.
6: Burnin’ Up (w/ Jessie J)
“Everything hot like it’s fresh off the grill / Million dollar grill look fresh on the hill”
2 Chainz’s political ambitions don’t stop at College Park’s City Hall. He clearly plans on moving all the way up the political ladder to a seat on Capitol Hill.
Photo by demxx/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
Aaron Sankin is a former Senior Staff Writer at the Daily Dot who covered the intersection of politics, technology, online privacy, Twitter bots, and the role of dank memes in popular culture. He lives in Seattle, Washington. He joined the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2016.