Hip-hop artist 2 Chainz (born Tauheed Epps) has appeared on platinum records, collaborated with Kanye West and is perhaps the only rapper ingenious enough to rhyme “booty” with “booty.” So obviously the next step for him is electoral politics.
In two separate interviews published this week, 2 Chainz touched on his desire to run for mayor of his hometown, the Atlanta suburb of College Park, Georgia.
“I’m supposed to be running for mayor in College Park,” he told XXL magazine. “I got everybody wishing. I’m really gonna do this little mayor thing in College Park. I’m just trying to make sure I have the right qualifications.”
“I am looking forward to running at the end of this year or next year,” the rapper confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There is only one obstacle. The rapper doesn’t live in College Park, a town of 14,000.
According to voter registration records accessed by The Daily Beast, 2 Chainz currently appears to be registered to vote in the nearby town of Palmetto, and College Park’s incumbent mayor, Jack Longino, doesn’t think he meets the necessary requirements to run for office, telling The Daily Beast, “I truly and sincerely do not believe that he lives in College Park.”
Longino, a 20-year incumbent, isn’t concerned about the potential political threat. He said if 2 Chainz “actually lives in College Park and wants to run and signs up, we’ll let the people decide.” The incumbent mayor told The Daily Beast that, “I will continue to stand on my record and what I’ve accomplished in College Park” and bragged that Google announced today that his town would be the latest city to get Google Fiber.
The mayor also told The Daily Beast that he hadn’t heard of 2 Chainz until the rapper floated his potential candidacy. “I didn’t know who he was, but I’m not a big rapper,” Longino said. “I’m a country-western guy. I don’t listen to the rap.”
2 Chainz recently gained some degree of political credibility after he owned the miserably bad HLN host Nancy Grace during a televised debate on marijuana legalization. Political consultants from both parties saw him having potential as a candidate. Lis Smith, a Democratic consultant, told The Daily Beast “for starters, he's clearly a talented communicator.” However, she thought his name might cause some confusion for voters, saying “on day one he needs to clarify why he is just 2 Chainz and not 3 [Chainz].”
Republican consultant Rick Wilson took a more nuanced view and pointed out that some of the things 2 Chainz has said about entrepreneurship in recent interviews have been “fantastic.” In fact, Wilson said 2 Chainz “is a more libertarian-inflected African-American than anyone else I can think of” and expressed the hope that this could even be the point “where rap culture leaves the dependency culture.”
The Republican consultant, who was ready to back any political candidate who worked with Rick Ross, did suggest that 2 Chainz shouldn’t go by his previous stage name of “Tity Boi” which he changed only in 2011.
To the extent 2 Chainz has outlined his political views, they seem to fall roughly on the American center-left (although deeply infused with libertarianism). The 37-year-old recording artist is for pot legalization, rolling back the war on drugs, reducing budget deficits, and registering ex-felons to vote.
He has emphasized his pragmatic approach to politics, though. “I just try to do right whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat,” 2 Chainz said in an interview with The Huffington Post in 2013. “But I definitely voted for Obama. He’s just dealing with a lot of issues, from that Boston shit to overseas issues with North Korea and everything. Bro’s got a lot on his plate, so you can’t do anything but support him.”
Although 2 Chainz’s management did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast, it seems the hip-hop artist does not lack for confidence in his electoral appeal. He told The Huffington Post before the 2012 election that he thought heprobably could beat Mitt Romney in a presidential race. “He’s just rich as shit, that’s all,” he added.