2 Chainz w/ Pusha T and August Alsina @ The Eagles Ballroom
Though he achieved some street-level celebrity as
half of the Atlanta duo Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz, then known as “Tity Boi,”
mainly seemed to get lost in the Southern rap tidal wave of the mid-2000s,
hamstrung by violence and legal issues despite becoming close with the then
high-flying Ludacris. If that were the end of it, you could chalk his brush
with success up to a high tide lifting all ships, but 2011’s career-savvy name
marked the beginning of an impressive comeback as a solo artist, helped along
by a number of scene-stealing guest spots. The continued weed busts and endless
tabloid attention have played their part in his fame as well, but ultimately
it’s the music that’s made his B.O.A.T.S.
albums such hot commodities, and similarly what drew Saturday’s sell-out
crowd to the Eagles Ballroom.
It wasn’t hard to tell that 2 Chainz was the big draw here, but also joining him on this “2 Good to be T.R.U.” tour is promising up-and-comer August Alsina and Def Jam star Pusha T, formerly of Clipse, who had the massive crowd well warmed up by the time he finished his set with the duo’s 2002 hit “Grindin’.” As the stage was readied for Chainz, it became hard to tell if there was a smoke machine running somewhere off in the wings or if there were really that many stoners lighting up (the powerful aroma answered that).
Whatever else was in the air, there was a palpable excitement when the light’s finally dimmed and a black and white introductory video, likening the headliner to everyone from Malcolm X to LeBron James, flickered to life. Almost absurdly self-aggrandizing, even for a rapper, but showing a genuine desire stir things up, it struck the tone for the performance that followed, which found Chainz delivering impassioned renditions of pretty much every banger from 2012’s Based on a T.R.U. Story and its 2013 sequel, including the eccentric statement-of-purpose single “I’m Different,” the corner anthem “Crack” and the unapologetic “Feds Watching.” His awkward stage banter left something to be desired, but when he was in the cut he was all charisma and, miraculously, came through loud and clear. It may have taken its time, but stardom suits him.