The T.I. Debate: Industry Insiders Discuss the King’s Fall From Grace
On Monday, November 1, T.I. will be reporting back to the Arkansas Forrest City federal jail facility for probation violations stemming from his 2009 conviction on gun charges. Tip’s new sentence follows his arrest in West Hollywood on drug charges and will find the rap star spending the next 11-months behind bars, just six months since being released from federal custody on his initial gun charge.
With the hip-hop community abuzz about Tip’s recent legal woes, XXLMag.com gathered a handful of respected rap industry professionals—including DJ Skee, Jayson Rodriguez from MTV News, Young Sav from Best Of Both Offices, XXLMag.com contributor and one half of 2DopeBoyz, Meka Udoh, blogger Karen Civil, and a surprise pop in from former G-Unit Records President turned Def Jam exec, Sha Money XL—to speak about how this will affect the Grand Hustle general’s career over AOL Instant Messenger. It’s that time again; lock and load and AIM & Fire.
Jesse Gissen: I’d like to welcome y’all to AIM & Fire, XXL‘s new column where we discuss the latest trending topics in hip-hop over AOL instant messenger. Today’s topic is T.I. First of all I’d like to get y’all first reaction when you heard that he was arrested last month.
Young Sav: Surprised
Meka Udoh: He’s a jackass
DJ SKEE: Disappointed, he got out of an insanely bad situation he got off light and then got caught up on some relatively small stuff
JG: Why do you think he risked it? He knew he was gonna be tested for drugs.
Meka: Quite simple he’s a jackass. He basically came from nothing to become one of the foremost players in urban music today. Only to get caught up, understandably, trying to buy a variety of military armaments reserved to catch terrorists after his friend was tragically murdered. Having spent time in prison, and losing out on a multitude of financial and familial opportunities, he gets out of prison, only to get caught holding drugs and being around fellow felons? Really? What kinda dumbass shit is that?
Young Sav: Being in the moment, not thinking
DJ SKEE: There’s always ways around tests, so i dont know if that was the issue, but probably felt like he wasn’t going to be caught up for this, especially since he’s in a Maybach, not driving, etc. getting careless.
JG: Do you think the fans will stick by him this go-round? I see Meka isn’t…
Meka: The sad shit is fans will STILL stick by him despite his, well, fuckery
DJ SKEE: I think as we’ve seen over and over hit records and good music clear any problems, in terms of perception by fans
Jayson Rodriguez: It was disappointing because Tip took responsibility, said all the right things, and didn’t make any excuses. He owned it and he earned the respect of a lot of people. I remembering being in the courtroom when the judge sentenced him and he really talked up T.I. To see him make a mistake that soon again was family member-type disappointment.
Meka: To me he did all of that stuff, made a reality television show about trying to change the lives of “at risk” peoples and then he gets caught up doing the same thing he preached against?
Young Sav: The fans will stick by u as long as u have a hot record and continue to be relevant
Jayson: I think the fans will stick by him. it was odd to hear Tip sort of lash out a bit about people turning their back. he’s arguably the most supported rapper, in terms of fans, community, etc.
JG: How do you think this will affect his new record, that’s already been plagued with so many setbacks?
Meka: Which one: his musical or prison record?
Jayson: Ziiiing! Score, Meka
DJ SKEE: Ha… well, more stuff to talk about i guess
JG: The label seems set on releasing it by the end of the year, is that a good move or should they wait till he gets out?
Meka: He doesn’t have a legitimate single out that has even a modicum of buzz right now
DJ SKEE: Correct, he needs a hit first. Right now he seems in and out so much I dont know if people care THAT much any more about prison, etc
Jayson: I think he should wait. What he was putting out didn’t sound inspired, and the situation with him making a mistake again. really, an album doesn’t seem to be the most pressing thing. And the album titled changed. I presume the content would, too. or else why change it?
DJ SKEE: Yes I’m a Tip fan but the latest stuff hasn’t made me as excited as his last few releases
Jayson: And really, albums where rapper’s are going IN jail, are always better than the ones released right after. The B. Coming, Paper Trail, etc.
Meka: Not exactly. Me Against the World by 2Pac was a great album
JG: Let’s talk about he suicide jumper. Do we think that was a publicity stunt, despite what Tip said?