The Interview: T.I. Part 2

June 14, 2007 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Found At Other Sites, Interviews | Leave a comment

Aaron Frank

In the final part of his T.I. feature, writer Aaron Frank has T.I. open up about his recording process, growing as an artist, working with Jay-Z, the concept for “T.I. Vs. T.I.P.” and much more.

“I don’t think there’s anybody that can do what I do” – T.I.

AF: TIP seems to be the darker side of the two personalities that you’ve talked about, so would you say that you’ve managed to keep him in control over recent years?

TI: Nah, man. Who gonna keep me under control? Nah, he live on TV and I live on TV. Whenever we’re on TV, it’s both of us there point blank period. It’s just how I walk the streets.

AF: Well, with certain situations that you’ve had to deal with on the business side, wouldn’t you say you probably would have acted a little different a few years ago?

TI: Absolutely. It wouldn’t have been so much of this nice guy shit. It wouldn’t have been as much of this blazer shit with silk shirts on and the three piece suit, you know. The silk hanky and all that kind of shit. People that know me from before definitely wouldn’t have expected me to do many of the things that I’ve done over the last few years.

AF: You’ve worked with a lot of different classic southern artists like UGK already, but who did you look to for inspiration when you were making these last two albums?

TI: UGK definitely. Outkast definitely. Goodie Mob, Scarface, Cash Money as well. 8Ball & MJG.

AF: How long had you been planning on doing the T.I. vs. T.I.P album?

TI: I mean…it was a possible concept, but it didn’t happen until all of the things started falling into place. The two personalities fell into place and the conflict just grew between them. Like, the same thing that prompted the song “T.I. Vs. T.I.P.” prompted the album. There were real life situations and scenarios that brought on that song. And from the time that song was released up until now, there have been many other situations and scenarios that have occurred, so many that it prompted an album, not just a song.

AF: What was it like to work with Jay-Z on this album?

TI: It was a dream come true, you know. Anybody that ever came into this game as a rapper and intended on being the best and had high expectations, they always have people that they have wanted to work with, probably a list of people. Every time you get a chance to work with these people, it’s just a feeling of huge accomplishment.

AF: You and Jay-Z have that street credibility that is clearly reflected in a lot of your lyrics. Do you feel like it’s necessary for rappers nowadays to have that in order to be successful?

TI: Absolutely. If you’re going to be a rapper that makes money, then people are going to have to respect you. If you aint got respect in this world, you aint got nothing. People like you, cool, but do they respect you? They’re only going to like you for the time that you do what they want you to do. The minute you go against whatever they want you to do, then they’re not going to like you. They have to go off of the respect that they have for you.

AF: Part of the reason that your music has been so successful is because of the content of your music and how real-life situations are reflected. Do you feel like writing about those situations is almost like therapeutic to you or do those things just come out when you’re writing?

TI: I mean, I just tell the truth period. Whether or not it’s therapeutic or not, I can’t say, but however I feel, then I kick it. That’s what I say. If I feel like I don’t like being in the game, then I kick it. If I feel like the game ain’t shit without me and I gotta stay to save it, then I kick it. If I feel like going out and having a good time, then I kick it like that, you know. It’s whatever.

AF: A lot of people have commented on how your flow has supposedly changed over the years. Do you think your style has changed or do you think you’re just more confident in switching it up on different beats?

TI: Sure, I don’t think I ever had a certain style before. I’ve always had an ability to go in and out of different patterns, subject matter, different types of beats. I’ve always had different approaches to making songs. You never could just put me in a style box. I’ve got several styles and they’ve just developed more and more and they’ve just become more diverse as my albums progressed.

AF: So you think that just stands out more now?

TI: Yeah, I show off with it more now. I’ll come out with a song like “What You Know” and then come out with something like “Why You Wanna.” Then, I’ll do a song like “Live In the Sky” and when they think I’m going right with it, I’ll drop a “Top Back,” you know. You know, I do what I want to do with this music.

AF: I know you supposedly squashed that beef with Luda, but what did you think about what he said in his interview in Playboy?

TI: I mean, as long as he didn’t say nothing negative about me. It’s whatever.

AF: Do you think there are any other rappers on your level right now?

TI: I don’t think that there are many rappers out there that can do what I do period. I don’t think there’s anybody that can do what I do. There’s some people out there that can do part of what I do and do a few of the things that I can do, but can’t nobody do what I do.

AF: What kind of influence are you about to have on this BG project that’s coming out later this year?

TI: His album is entitled “Too Hood For Hollywood” and he gonna be on the way. We gonna try to get it at the end of this year or the first of next year.

AF: What about Big Kuntry King and Young Dro?

TI: Big Kuntry could be at the end of this year or the first of next year. Young Dro will be first of next year definitely.

AF: So, at the end of the day, is there any one thing that you want people to get out of your music?

TI: Man, just the type of person that I am and the moral standards that I possess, just the things that I stand for.


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