Of the many potential knocks against the rap game, one thing you can't say is that it has no tolerance for second acts. Maybe more so than other peformers, rappers are free to recycle themselves into new monikers and modes to fit the times. Even ex-prison guards and grizzled sidemen can cast themselves as rising stars if they can just invent a clever-enough new origin myth, or create enough hype. One such figure is Tauheed Epps, once obscurely known as Tity Boi, now ubiquitous as the more family friendly 2 Chainz, who might be the only rapper to guest on tracks by both Waka Flocka Flame and Fall Out Boy — and who assuaged any doubt that he was in fact a cartoon on two semi-serious (and successful) studio albums. Similarly, Pusha T found plenty of early aughts success as one half of Virginia Beach rap duo Clipse, but now wears the mantle of the hungry rookie in support of My Name Is My Name, a long-awaited solo debut that finally came out last fall. Both are veterans of the guest-verse circuit and have uneven musical pasts — but rap is always about the present, and right now, they're on top.
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