T.I. Talks New Album, New Reality Show and A New Life
1 year ago
The recently released rapper shows a different side on VH1's "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle"
Tip "T.I." Harris' tumultuous personal life coupled with his outstanding career personifies the phrase “the agony and the ecstasy. ”
The ecstasy: He’s received over 60 awards including three Grammys, 10 Billboard Music Awards and nine BET Hip-Hop Awards. He’s created four platinum and one double-platinum CD along with two triple-platinum singles, “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna. T.I. has also become a successful actor with appearances in four movies including “American Gangster” starring Denzel Washington.
The agony: He’s served two prison sentences in county jail for probation violations and last year was incarcerated in federal prison for weapons charges. T.I. also developed paranoia, after multiple death threats on him and his family.
Regardless, Harris hasn't stopped working in or out of jail. After being released from an 11-month sentence, the rapper dropped “I’m Flexin’.” Ten days later, he performed the song and also joined Young Jeezy on “Fame” at the BET Hip-Hop Awards in his hometown—Atlanta. T.I. is also the newest rapper to join the reality show circuit, joining his wife Tiny on VH1's T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle set to premiere on Dec. 5 at 9 p.m. ET.
T.I. recently sat down with Loop 21 to discuss all of his projects including his debut novel Power & Beauty-A Love Story of Life on the Streets, his latest LP and his new show on VH1 that hopes to show the rapper in a different light, as a family man.
Loop 21: After achieving success in music and acting, what inspired you to make your writing debut with Power & Beauty?
T.I.: I wanted to do something to make my fans read more. I wanted to fill a necessary void. Something that would appeal to people in the hood as well as college students. You have people in the hood reading urban books and students reading self help books. I wanted to write something mentally enhancing that would appeal to both groups and not compromise myself
Loop 21: The book features Slim, a gangster, and Power, a young man who is induced into the street life in Atlanta by Slim. Are there elements of you in these characters?
T.I.: There are elements of me, my ability to maintain on the street through my intelligence and sheer street knowledge. The difference in Power and me is that he started off trying to do the right thing. He wanted to do good and was driven to do bad. I started out doing the wrong thing. Slim is a combination of various people I know from experience on the street. The book shows how people can be influenced to go in the wrong direction. People like Slim mold young criminals. I witnessed that.
Loop 21: You were released from prison and then from a halfway house on September 29 after serving an 11-month sentence. After being incarcerated, has your outlook on life changed?