For 2 Chainz, the road to rap stardom has been a long and winding one. The charismatic swag champ has plenty of life experience under his belt, some of which is hard for him to put into words.
On "Freebase," the title track from Chainz's new EP, which will drop on Monday (May 5) at 7 p.m. ET on LiveMixtapes.com, the ATL rap king dives deep into his storied street life and makes some pretty startling revelations.
"Sold drugs to my loved ones and it's hard for me to admit it/ The first time I saw a crack pipe was in my parent's kitchen," he raps.
"That's probably gonna always be hard for me to talk about," Chainz told MTV News on Wednesday in an hour-long interview.
Chainz wouldn't say which "loved ones" he sold drugs to, instead he measured his words carefully, trying to explain how he has come to terms with the self-inflicted horror.
"Is it a sin," he asked rhetorically, before his voice trailed off. "I just be praying to God."
"Would you want your loved one to go out in the streets and just deal with what's going on out there, Deal with people that don't have the real thing? Deal with robberies," Chainz continued, setting off another set of questions with no answer. "Or would you just rather do it? Or are you being selfish by you supplying it? It'll drive you crazy."
Chainz knows that for the most part his fans have come to expect a distinct brand of party music. He's made a name, and a pretty penny, off of tracks like "Birthday Song" and "I'm Different," but he also realizes the therapeutic nature of being in the studio and recording music.
"It's a place where I — because I don't write diaries — it's a place where I can go get things off my chest," he said. "Every now and then they're just raps. And then you have those certain certain songs where you dig in and kinda touch those buttons on the reality that you come from, the reality of really doing that."
Even if 2 Chainz can't fully articulate his feelings in an interview, he will always have the recording booth.
"So That one line right there is really touching," he said. "That one line right there is really chapters in my life, that one line right there is really years in my life that are hard for me to talk about."