Since its inception, hip-hop has gone hand in hand with sports. From Run D.M.C.’s embrace of sneaker culture and athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal dropping platinum rap albums to artists such as Snoop Dogg, Drake, and Big Sean partnering with teams, athletes and rappers have not only rooted for one another but they’ve also collaborated as well. A new mashup comes courtesy of Amazon Music Live, a weekly concert series hosted by Grammy Award-winning rapper 2 Chainz.
Given the synergy between sports and music, 2 Chainz said, the show, which streams on Prime Video immediately after Thursday Night Football, gives fans of both pastimes what they want.
“The emergence of Amazon and NFL working together is that we are fusing together sports and music fans,” 2 Chainz said. “A lot of the times, those lines can be blurred because we enjoy each other’s space. But for those that are just solely sports or solely music, this gives the viewer a chance to be a part of both worlds.”
So far, 2 Chainz has welcomed hip-hop artists such as Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, and A$AP Rocky, country artist Kane Brown, and Brazilian pop star Anitta to the stage. Although he’s enjoyed watching everyone do their thing, 2 Chainz was especially impressed by Megan Thee Stallion.
“Megan blew me away, to be honest,” 2 Chainz said, noting that female rappers are expected to bring more to the table than their male counterparts. “The choreography, the dancing in high heels — I’m in the business, and I’m recognizing this skill set. So I think it’ll do wonders for people who are just on the outside looking in.”
For 2 Chainz, the weekly performances aren’t the only exciting part of his show. He also appreciates the ability for artists to showcase what goes into creating career longevity.
“It’s such an eye-opener for people to see that artists aren’t just on social media showing jewelry and showing cars,” he said. “They actually have a lot of motion going on, they have a lot of strategic things going on.”
When it comes to 2 Chainz, he’s mastered the art of pivoting. “Whatever you’re doing right now may not be here forever. So it’s cool for any person that has a vision to try to maybe try to pivot and learn new things.”
Aside from selling more than 8.7 million albums and amassing more than 11.5 billion streams over the course of his career, he’s merged his love for sports and music to create an entrepreneurial empire. As a former college basketball player for Alabama State University, 2 Chainz’s basketball dreams panned out differently than expected.
“I am a part of the owner [of the NBA G League’s College Park Skyhawks] team. Just being a part of something like that is full circle for me because I was one of those kids that never said I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or whatever,” the rapper, born Tauheed Epps, said.
“When the teacher asked me what I wanted to do, I would say basketball player because I didn’t really know how to articulate [what I wanted] at that time: hustling,” 2 Chainz continued. “I wanna do everything that I need to do to survive.”