T.I.
Crown Royal: Second Round

[Editor's Note: Part one of this interview appears in the August 2008 issue of XXL.]

At what point did you feel it was time for you to start writing things down again? Did you do the last two albums without writing, or did you just—

I did [writing on] all of my albums except for I’m Serious, but I [do] write. Urban Legend I had to write because I wrote some of it [was done] while I was in jail. I wrote some of it while I was locked up, but the things that I did, the songs that I did while I was out like “Bring ‘Em Out,” I didn’t write that down. “U Don’t Know Me,” I didn’t write that down. “Motivation,” “ASAP,” I didn’t write [those] down. “Be Better Than Me,” I wrote that down, “Praying for Help,” I wrote that down—

“Doin’ My Job?”

No, I didn’t write that down.

When did you feel like, “Aight, I have to start putting it down?”

I came up with that idea in Mexico, I was on vacation—

Oh, this was before—

Yeah, fo sho. In Mexico, man, I was on vacation and I was thinking about how to approach this next project so that I could make it different and just thought, just thought—and this was after T.I. vs TIP came out and everybody was saying—at this time nobody was saying that it was a disappointment, nobody was saying that they didn’t like it. Everybody was just saying we wish we had more of the classic Tip. “This guy sounds like he’s more concentrated on making hits than he is rapping.” It wasn’t until this situation transpired that people said “Aw, T.I. vs. TIP” was a disappointment. While I was out like when “Hurt” came, when “Big Things Poppin;” came—

The idea for Paper Trail came—

Paper Trail, man. I was just thinking about what would be new and what would be different and I was reading people saying how they missed classic T.I. from I’m Serious from Trap Muzik. So I said the only difference between T.I. now and T.I. from I’m Serious is, one, I was just rapping without thinking about the conventional methods of putting songs together—without thinking about whether or not a song would be worthy of radio play—I was only thinking about creating music and I was writing things down. So with King, T.I. vs TIP, even some of Urban Legend, I was thinking about putting songs together—16 bar, hook—16 bar, hook—16 bar—hook—where as on some records on I’m Serious it was just one long verse, just rapping—I wasn’t worrying about whether or not this was gonna be considered a single so I figured, Well maybe if I start writing things down again, it’ll provide some different perspective and make for a new sound.

Sound wise, you got Toomp back, right?

Yeah.

What was that relationship like getting back together again?

I mean, me and Toomp never really went nowhere.

It seemed like there was friction for a little bit between you two, no?

That’s just because that’s what people want just because Toomp wasn’t on that one album and because there was no friction me and Toomp still cool—just the business didn’t work out in the amount of time necessary to make that album. We even did songs together for T.I. vs TIP, it’s just—those songs just didn’t make the album. It wasn’t that we stopped speaking, it wasn’t that we had an argument—none of that—that’s all stuff that other people conjured up and jumped to conclusions and that’s what I’m saying. Man, cats say anything. They just say whatever because they don’t know—they don’t know—so it’s like shit, how can you speak intelligently of a situation that you have no knowledge of? So I mean, anything you say is gonna be stupid, it’s gonna be less than factual and it’s gonna be—just dumb. So when people speak on my situation, whether it’s my relationship with Toomp, whether it’s my legal situation, people speak on these situations and I see it; I mean they just, they sound stupid because they don’t know nothing about it.

Did you feel as though when you got the plea deal, people would think you cooperated with the authorities?

Yeah, of course I did. I knew that.

So the fact that people don’t understand why you did what you did and all the ramifications behind it—do you feel as though—

It’s hard to understand [what I did] with a clear-thinking mind. You have to throw in some paranoia, you have to throw in some concern for your safety, you have to throw in some concern for you family’s safety and well being and you have to throw in some knowledge of certain activities that’s going on in your city that could very well happen to you as well as they were happening to other people—

But most of the time people—

You have to throw all that in before you say that you understand or expect to understand.

People feel like, “Ok, T.I., big rap star, big movie star—he has security to handle that, he has the gated community; he has the entourage when he’s rolling.” Does the paranoia get to that point when—

T.I. was the same movie star, same rap superstar who had security in Cincinnati and what did that do? So, you can’t really say that, that’s not a guarantee.

Are there situations where you have people that may just badger you or you get the phone calls, you get the veiled threats, you get the

Not now. Not now, they know. I’m being watched more than the president now. Of course not, but yeah, at one time it was like that. And you know I’m not the type of person where I’m “Oh my God, someone said they were going to—Oh man, what I’ma do?” It was just like “Oh yeah? Ok, aight, let me prepare myself for that.” It’s as simple as that.

And not being able to voice that—

Nah, I’m not gonna talk to nobody about nothing—that ain’t happening. That just wasn’t how I was programmed to operate.

And that’s what I’m getting at. Is there a code of the street, or a code of ethics that you grew up in, that won’t allow you to let people see that part and won’t allow you to stay away from that part? That’s that natural, “Hey, I’m from here, I get this kind of threat, this is how I handle it, yet I’m in a movie with Denzel.”

There can be some truth to that. There can be some truth to that. Now, I don’t wanna glorify or glamorize that fact, but there can be some truth to that—just based on my upbringing. I’m just not a crybaby. I’m not gonna cry about it. I’ma accept the situation and find a way to deal with it. Now whether I found the best way to deal with it—is without question. I did not.

  • 4Play

    #1

    ya i undastand 100 percent, but neva doubted tip thru all the conspiracy.
    tell you wat tho, its gona dryv me crazy waitn for tha paper trail album

  • 239allday

    That Paper trail gon be a problem. Can’t wait for it. Tip’s, Busta’s, Big Boi, The Game’s, and Nas are the only albums comin out this year worth listening to.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Yung Dubb

    Hell yea thats my nigga i’ve been listenin to his music since i’m serious came out man that’ll be good if nigga bring that trap muzik/i’m serious style back.

  • doe

    Tip is one of the realest..

  • 30celts30

    Trap Muzik is the greatest album of all-time…. at least for now, I mean, Paper Trail might surpass that.

    People always say KING was Tip’s best album…. those people never listened to Trap Muzik.

    • just me

      i gotta go with that urban legend. i still loose it when i here that asap

    • http://xxlmag.com seriously

      ive heard all his albums except im serious and if u ask me i would say king is his best album .. alltho trap muzik was a great album too

  • http://www.xxlmag.com reddmane

    hahaha all i got to is 10 Gunz?????????????????????????????????

  • http://www.myspace.com/adrenalinetruth Adrenaline the Truth
  • http://www.myspace.com/friscorepresenter ant

    It does look kinda weird he only gets a year then they find the killers…but if he say he didnt snitch….then i guess he didnt snitch i think all his albums is fiya…and this 1 will be HOT fiya..back a nigga n a corner he gone come out swingen

  • Enlightened

    Ant-
    You said it look weird that he only got a year and then they found the killers? I didn’t even think about the killers. I figured he would have had to snitch on somebody selling a lot of the guns or whatnot. I don’t think he could get a deal for finding out who killed his homeboy but if he could, I don’t care what nobody say – that would be the move. If somebody kill my best friend, and I could get out of prison time by sending they ass to prison, hell yeah I would do it! That’s not how deals usually work though

  • diggsy

    IT’S THE KING BITCH!!!

    PAPER TRAIL – SEPTEMBER 2nd

    • Oneofthemyo’s

      co-sign

  • Hunter

    This album might be like zinbaad.

  • capostatus

    This nigga a snitch fa real. I never liked any southern rappers from the start. I knew you were all nothing but trouble. U slow ass niggers better stop rapping before you kill hip hop totally. Go suck on some baby dicks or something. Stick to Eating fried chicken. Leave this shit to N.Y ya dig. Smell me.

    • http://yahoo.com Southside

      Nigga u lame as fuck. u New york bithces is da reason hip hop ain’t sellin no more. da only niggas who sell is niggas from da south. Dat’s why all u weak ass fuck niggas ain’t never gone be shit. U might as well accept it, New York Done fell off wit da rap shit. Ya’ll niggaz is just gonna have 2 get down or lay down cause da south run dis shit. We ain’t goin no where ya dig. smell me.

    • Caine

      Dis nigga mad cuz da South “Stylin on em”, ol hoe ass nigga…

  • SouthCakC23

    @ cappostatus:

    Andre 3000 laughs at how ignorant you are. Killer Mike is ROFLHAO at how much yo favorite rapper don’t want it wit him on his worst day. Cee-Lo Green thinks you need to pay attention to real Southern Rappers and not these Pop Hop kids snappin and bouncin around on t.v.

  • kay king

    TIP is KING man no doubt.shoutout to BIG KUNTRY king

  • Tony Grand$

    Far as the south go, the focus is on these little kids right now, but its all love. I just aint dancin or snappin or whatevadafuck it is no time soon. Ill leave that pop hop for my kids. But real do smell the truth. Trust and believe that nigga Tip is the business. A lot of south coasters make music from the heart. Cadillacs, sippin, plats and grills, that shit is what they know and they aint lyin! That’s what it do right there. Its garbage pail rap niggas all over Amerikkka, so who care if a nigga get a little country. Cats that call a laid back Louisiana dude slow might just be movin a lil too fast…think about it. This west-to the motherfuckin-coast all dizzy (323,310,818,213), but u can’t hate nobody unless u loved they ass @ first. Tip, keep on with that product pimpin! We buyin it in Cali my nigga! Make it do what it does, they just made bcuz they can’t!

  • Jack

    am i the only one that still hasn’t gotten my magazine yet? my subscription is still good i should have gotten it by now my issues are always late but not this late.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/krazy_sexxxy_kool jonarius_a_s

    I have to start by giving big props to the XXL staff. It seems ever since my man(NO HOMO) D.T. stepped in, XXL has been making cake. The last couple of issues have been great. But this one takes the CAKE. Not only was this issue unexpected, the execution was brilliant. T.I. is still the KING…so all haterz please fall back. P.S. next time please allow the cover story to have a little more length; you left me wanting more info. from the KING….Keep up the good work…

  • Down south Representative 23

    My boy T.I.P ready to drop that flame soon, so all u bandwagon jumpers get ready to hop aboard. Ya dig an to Yankee ass capostatus quit hateing the south cause yall so fucking lame an cant step your game up its 08 yall still on that Yo raps shit. Check it out its a new generation of hungry black folks down here thats never been slow that dont know what it is to be slow, yall just moving to fast with your face in Americas ass. lol im to real holla at a g if we left it up to New York hip hop wouldve have been dead in 03 after black alhbum an deffinetlly after 05 yep. look like yall swag splashing ha ha ya dig

  • $ ANOC $

    ayo i feel like urban legend was da best album he ever made, an instant classic. & its good dat he’s gonna be bringin dat type of style bak 2 dis album. all of his albums is hot but dats when i really started fuckin wit tip when urban legend dropped. his new album gon sell like crazy once it drops! its DA KING BITCH!

  • Ray

    TiP should gert back to that Urban Legend flow…that album is my favorite

  • REAL TALK 08

    Hip Hop still need u Tip…im still a fan!..fuck da haterz…”Urban Legend” and “King” are both classics..U still in my Top 5,bruh..

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