3 questions for 2 Chainz on his Las Vegas restaurant residency and 'dope' new Lil Wayne collab: 'It feels good to sharpen my steel'

"We're gonna get out here and basically try to put a little light back on the rap scene."

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Grammy-winning hip-hop artist 2 Chainz is known for chart-topping tracks and club-banging hits, but he's not all music. 2 Chainz also owns a restaurant chain, Esco Restaurant & Tapas, which has four locations, with two more opening soon.

The rapper-turned-restaurateur, along with his business partner, are now joining a residency in Las Vegas, — not for music, but for food — in partnership with Pepsi Dig In, a program highlighting Black restaurant owners and chefs across the country.

(Courtesy: Pepsi Dig In program)
2 Chainz is bringing dishes from his restaurant, Esco Restaurant & Tapas, to the Pepsi Dig In program. (Courtesy: Pepsi Dig In program)

The program, now in its second year, is inviting 2 Chainz and five other chefs from Black-owned restaurants to its Restaurant Royalty Residency at Mandalay Bay's Libertine Social and Luxor's Public House in Las Vegas starting Saturday, Sept. 30. The rapper's restaurant dishes will be available until Oct. 27.

The rapper sat down with Yahoo Entertainment to discuss what it was like getting into the restaurant business, how he wants to support fellow Black business owners and when to expect new music.

1. How did you get involved in the restaurant industry and what have you learned about succeeding in that business?

I've been in the hospitality restaurant business going on seven years in December. I have a great partner by the name of Snoop Dillard, we met maybe close to nine years ago. It was a situation where I was purchasing properties, trying to ultimately be a landowner, we crossed paths, she had been in the business for a while, I was looking to get into business, so I can honestly tell people that it's fortunate for me and a blessing for me to get with somebody that I already had years of experience. And then it was tied into me, traveling around the world, seeing ideas and concepts being a foodie myself that ultimately got me into the game. I've been learning ever since, it's still a constant, you're constantly learning when you're in this position being a Black restaurant owner and being open for more than three or four years is already unicorn in itself. I can't say it fell in my lap because it was something that I was looking forward to doing with some of the properties that I bought, but I think the right situation can, I found someone that was passionate in the field to match my passion in marketing and it became a pretty good partnership.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 08: Mychel “Snoop” Dillard and 2 Chainz attend Escobar 2 Year Anniversary at EscoBar on December 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)
Mychel “Snoop” Dillard and 2 Chainz. (Prince Williams/Wireimage) (Prince Williams via Getty Images)

2. Why did you want to get involved with supporting Black-owned restaurants and Black chefs with this project?

I just feel like it's organic to me. I have a restaurant. I'm Black, I'm an artist, you know, this is my lane. I like doing things that are very organic to me and have a strong correlation for what I stand for, what I do.

I think it'll help drive interest in this space. I honestly think that I'm one of the coolest artists out here… it's going to bring awareness and it just gets rid of the whole glass ceiling concept with people thinking they only can get so far. And I think I'm someone that you can look at, I have a journey, I have paper trails of just what success looks like and what that journey looks like. Not only in my entertainment field, but in the hospitality field as well.

GRAMMY-Award winner, 2 Chainz, posing alongside fellow restaurateurs chosen for the PEPSI Dig In Culinary Residency Program, including: Cranky Granny’s, Taylor’s Tacos, Blk Swan, LoLo’s on The Water, and Bridgetown Roti. 2 Chainz will bring dishes from his restaurant, Esco Restaurant & Tapas. (Courtesy: Pepsi Dig In program)
2 Chainz poses alongside fellow restaurateurs chosen for the Pepsi Dig In Culinary Residency Program. (Courtesy: Pepsi Dig In program) (Pepsi)

3. What’s next for you following this residency, new music?

I'm about to drop a project called Welcome to ColleGrove with Lil Wayne, trying to get it out before the year is over with. We have the photoshoot shot, the video shot, just trying to get some alignment with both of our schedules. We're gonna get out here and basically try to put a little light back on the rap scene. It’s a bunch of great beats with dope metaphors. Every song together, so it feels good to sharpen my steel and I'm looking forward to getting great feedback from the fans once we put this project out.