Last time T.I. was here in Phoenix (2009 NBA All-Weekend) he was preparing for prison after being arrested on gun charges before the 2007 BET awards. Well over three years later and two stints in prison, T.I.’s life has done a 180 degree turn for the better. The rap star was gracious enough to grant Super Snake an exclusive interview before he hit the stage at Comerica Theatre Saturday night. T.I. touched on a host of different topics including his exceptions for the new album, staying out of trouble and picking things up where he left off musically.
Staying out of trouble has always been difficult for T.I. The “King of The South” admits that it hasn’t been the easiest thing for him explaining to Super Snake why its such a problem.
“The most complicated thing for me has always been staying out of trouble. Just keep the business in the forefront and pushing the trouble on the back burner. That’s always been my main.. the most of a challenge for me,” the rapper continued. “When we go into the studio and we talking about making songs, creating albums, bodies of work or even going to a movie studio and being on set doing a movie, those types of things come see easy for us. The most difficult thing is staying out of trouble.”
Even though trouble has found T.I. over the years, the rapper credits his past troubles as a source of strength telling Super Snake,
“One thing is certain about my life has been trouble. But I will assure you it has no weaken me, its has strengthen me, ” said T.I.
When it comes to the numbers and people doubting whether he can pick up where he left off musically on his new album, T.I. says he not really worried about that and has a message for all the doubters.
“I’ma leave worrying about the losing up to the losers. I ain’t trippin’ on that. I’ve always been able to you know execute my strategies in a way that yields success and great numbers,” he continues. “Whatever it is its better than what other people can do. I know my body of work will be stronger. I know the standard of my music will be higher.”
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T.I.’s focus on new album is about the impact the project has on society and culture rather than first week sales numbers.
“You try to connect numbers to things that lessens the importance of the actual project. If you make it about numbers and not about art that lessens the importance and the significance, ” T.I. continues. “Its just has to have an impact on society as a whole. It has to have an impact on the culture. I call it like when you see it on T.V., hear it on the radio, go to the grocery store, see on the newsstands, when you can’t get away from it.. its everywhere that means it has impacted culture. And that’s what I looking to do with this project.”
What is T.I. favorite song on the album? Let’s just says T.I. is confident that the whole album will do more than hold its own. ”I’m proud of the whole project because.. just like you said a lot of people you know question in their own minds whether or not I could come back after such a hiatus. Getting in trouble once and again and then coming back and trying to jump back in and trying to pick up where I left off. A lot of people question that so I think the entire project for me was a….is planting a stake in the foundation and structure of the game man and waving a flag that needs to be waved cause ain’t nobody else is doing it.”
T.I.’s six studio album Trouble Man arrives in stores December 18th on Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records.
- Randall Tyree, 101.5 jamz/Phoenix