Twenty-five years ago, Tauheed Epps left College Park, Ga., to play basketball at Alabama State. He would go on to fame and fortune – just not in basketball. Now known the world over as 2Chainz, he’s become a Grammy-winning star in the world of rap. He also recently became part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks’ G-League affiliate, the SkyHawks.
ESPN’s Clinton Yates visits with 2Chainz at his old high school and talks about how his basketball dreams finally came true in “2Chainz Full Circle,” an E60/The Undefeated feature now streaming on ESPN+ and airing on a future episode of E60. A version also appears with a written piece by Yates on TheUndefeated.com. Yates, a columnist for The Undefeated and an ESPN commentator and host, discussed the process with Front Row:
How did you get involved in this project?
E60 came to me with it, and being a big 2Chainz fan for a long time, I said yes. Having known his history personally, I said, “Why don’t we do this at his actual high school?” It turned out to be a pretty critical place in regards to the whole story. Ultimately he’s a family man and a community fan outside of being a superstar millionaire rapper, and some people think that those two things are kind of easy to do in conjunction but they’re not – you’ve got to do the work and you’ve got to be in the places and that’s what 2Chainz does.
What do you want viewers to take away from this?
A large part of why I wanted to do it was I knew the story about him getting kicked out of high school and then coming back and becoming a college basketball player. As a Black person – never mind a hip-hop fan – it was important to me to tell that story. I wanted to do it in a way that put it in a little more than just “rappers wanna be ballers, and ballers wanna be rappers,” kind of overarching concept that I think people take a little too seriously.
I also wanted to make sure this didn’t become some sort of poverty porn kind of story. So that was important to me to try to indicate because a lot of us are out here trying to make it. He’s one guy who did, so it’s cool to see him spread love at the end. It was important for me to point out what he means to the community and what the community means to him.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The multiplatform presentation also includes content on ESPN social platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, 2Chainz partnered with ESPN’s music brand, Hype Hits, to curate a Takeover playlist with the songs that get him the most hyped. The playlist is available on ESPN’s profiles on Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora.