T.I. Vs. Teen Music
He's publicly battled both Lil' Flip and Ludacris but the self-proclaimed "King of the South"s most recent battle doesn't involve anyone other than the Grammy-award winning rap mogul himself. In his follow-up album to 2006's "King", T.I. reveals the inner struggle between his two alter-egos: the hoodie-wearing hustler and the sharply-suited business tycoon. Selling 468,000 copies in its first week and debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, it's no stretch of the imagination to picture why the rapper chose himself as his biggest competition on T.I. Vs. T.I.P. The 26 year-old Atlanta-born stunner is at the top of the game, and with the consistently hot hustle and lyrical flow he brings to the hip hop world, it doesn't look like T.I.'s steady stream of success is going to be stopping anytime soon.
Taking time out of his busy schedule of preparing for the upcoming ScreamFest tour with Ciara, T.I. graciously agreed to chat with TeenMusic.com for a few minutes to discuss the new album, his budding film career, and the sacrifices that come with making it big in the biz.
T.I.: Hello, What Up, What Up?
TeenMusic: Hey T.I. What up with you? Thank you for talking with TeenMusic.com today.
T.I.: Oh man, thank you for having me on TeenMusic.com today.
TeenMusic: I've got a few questions for you.
TeenMusic: Why did you choose to battle yourself on T.I. vs. T.I.P?
T.I.: I mean, who else is more fit for battle? I don't know nobody.
TeenMusic: Well, neither do I, so that's a pretty good answer.
T.I.: Thank you!
TeenMusic: Can you tell me a little about your favorite track on the album and why it's your favorite track?
T.I.: Ah man, I can't pick a favorite track. I just can't pick it. The album was a wild ride from top to bottom. I put a whole lot of myself into each song. This new album was recorded documentary style to coincide with my life and the things I've been through. You know what I'm saying? What popped up at the time. So I can't just pick one, I love 'em all.
TeenMusic: So far in your rap career, who have you enjoyed working with the most?
T.I.: Everybody offers a different element, you know. I appreciate each of them for different things. You know, like Jay and Em, the level they're at in their careers right now, to come and work for me, that's very noble. I really do appreciate that. Whereas, me and Wyclef, we didn't even plan on working together. He just told me he was coming to Atlanta. You know, and he just showed up [laughs] and we did seven songs in a weekend and they were different songs, songs I couldn't get anywhere else and I appreciate him for that. Also, Mannie Fresh offered so much energy and provided a sound that sounded just like home. It was what I was going through at the time and how I wanted to deliver myself and I appreciate 'em for that. And you got Nelly, and so many other people. And JT, he offered his market to me with my market in exchange, and I appreciate him for that.
TeenMusic: So everybody brings a different element?
T.I.: Everybody contributed to my success, so I appreciate them all.
TeenMusic: It's so hard to pick favorites...If you weren't rapping, what do you think you'd be doing right now?
T.I.: Construction, real estate. Anything with a hustle. I ain't showing up at nobody's job and punch no clock.
TeenMusic: Do you have any upcoming acting projects in the works? I know you starred in ATL and you were fabulous in that.
T.I.: Thank you! You know of course I have American Gangster, with Denzel, Russel Crowe, Cuba Gooding, Idris Elba, Chiwetel, Common, RZA. Man, the best of the best.
TeenMusic: So fans should definitely check out American Gangster?
T.I.: Yeah, it's probably the most prolific black picture to hit the screen.
TeenMusic: When's it coming out?
T.I.: November 2nd.
TeenMusic: "You Know What It Is" is a hot track, where did you get the lyrical inspiration for it?
T.I.: Man, me and Clef were trippin' in the studio. When we heard this one, it sounded like the one.
TeenMusic: You just knew it was a hit?
T.I.: Yeah, so I knew I had to come with it. But at the same time the beat was so playful I didn't want to get too serious with the flow. I did what I felt was necessary.
TeenMusic: How does it feel to have the number one record in the U.S.A.?
T.I.: Ah man, outstanding. Phenomenal.
TeenMusic: I can't even imagine how you feel. Let's switch gears, what can you tell me about the ScreamFest tour with Ciara?
T.I.: Man, it's going to go down. Me, Ciara, T Pain, Yung Joc, Llyod, it's going to be an outstanding tour. It starts August 3rd in New Orleans.
TeenMusic: Where are you going on tour?
T.I.: It's just U.S. as of now.
TeenMusic: What about romance? Are there any special ladies in the life of T.I.?
T.I.: Yeah, but T.I. is going to remain mysterious.
Teen Music: Got to keep it on the down-low, I understand. What about aspirations for your own product line, like Nelly with his Pimp Juice?
T.I.: Well, I have a clothing line, AKOO, A King Of Oneself, and my construction company still. I have an auto concierge, Elite Auto Concierge, and my own club, Club Crucial in Atlanta on Bankhead. I'm working on restaurant opportunities. Grand Hustle Films and publishing entity, I've got tons of imprint, and that isn't even all of them. Also, Streetcred.com, which I don't take credit for, but I guess you could say I was responsible for bringing it to the world. I guess I'm an endorser.
TeenMusic: What are some of the sacrifices you've had to make in order to be so big in the biz?
T.I.: I've had to sacrifice my privacy.
TeenMusic: Do people follow you around all the time?
T.I.: Yeah, and just commenting on my life. Hold up!
[T.I. and his colleagues have a discussion in the background.]
TeenMusic: Sounds like you've got some drama going on there?
T.I.: Nah man, one of my colleagues, one his sons' is being mischievous.
TeenMusic: Kids these days right?
T.I.: Yeah, kids will be kids.
TeenMusic: Can fans expect any big things from P$C (Pimp Squad Click) this year?
T.I.: Absolutely, Young Dro's second album comin' soon, Big Kuntry's album coming soon, DJ Drama...
TeenMusic: So everybody's dropping their own albums?
T.I.: Yeah, everybody's dropping their own albums.
TeenMusic: Great, what would you say to our young fans that aspire to be just like you; Our fanbase loves you.
T.I.: Just work hard, perfect your craft. And consistently you have to be hot.
TeenMusic: Just be hot!
T.I.: Just be hot and work hard, and everything else will work itself out.
TeenMusic: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
T.I.: Man, thank you, thanks to everyone for their continued support and all of my success and I'll never let you down.