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?

  • Eli Porter

    this jg guy is an idiot

  • jza

    if there is such a thing as king of the south, it is, and will be for years to come, BUN B. and you know you can’t put Waka or Gucci or Jeezy or Ross even close to the same category. And if not BUN B, how the hell can you forget the rapper who has made the best rap album of the year, BIG BOI?

  • Stoned Cold

    T.I. is the king. Nobody does it bigger and nobody can outrap him. Boosie and Gucci are not respected in other regions. TO be the “king” of the south, you have to be respected by the kings of other regions. Jay is the king of New York and has cosigned tip as the king of the south. Lil Wayne, Pimp C and many others have acknowledged tip as the king, so that’s what it is. tip always said if you dont feel like i’m the king, then outrap me, and you see what happened to lil flip.

    How is Jeezy struggling to get in the convo when he was the very next person you threw in the convo?

    If the album comes out before the end of the year, then it’s a “gettting out jal album” and a “goin in” album. It was already gonna be like all eyes on me because he just got out.

  • gaddic

    @Stone Cold

    jay-z ain’t the king of new york
    IT”S NAS!!!

    By the way Scarface is ten times better than weak-lyrical no substance T.I. will ever be!!!

    The diary>every T.I. album released/will be released!

    Don’t get me started with rappers that can out rap his over-rated ass!!

    ANDRE 3000 is light years a better rapper than
    T.ypical I.diot will ever be!!!
    Bun B,Big Boi,Ludacris the list is endless!!

    • Stoned Cold

      scarface cosigned tip too. and ti will be the first to tell you that he aint fucking with face. face is something bigger than a “king”.

    • yoprince

      “no substance”

      you’ve never listened to a T.I. album.

    • Stoned Cold

      luda’s got ti on punclines, that’s it. tip uses more compicated rhyme schemes than everyone you named. and andre doesn’t even sound like he’s rappin anymore, he’s talkin over tracks, shit’s weak. if you think bun b or big boi are better lyricists than ti and nas is better than jay, then that’s your subjective opinion.

      • Lily=]

        haha i sooo agree wit yuh.! :)

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  • XXL Reader

    Why is MEKA such a hater? I understand the need to express your opinions but WHY must he be so condesending? Itas as if he is not only perfect but able to comment on EVERYTHING

    We get it, TIP fucked up, but why are you so cold dude?

    • yoprince

      c/s

    • El Tico Loco

      Why he got to be hating? shit if anything people are dissapointed more than anything, and if you really really think about it, TI is better off with his “haters” than with his supporters because his closest supporters are the ones that keep getting him in these situations. The “haters” aren’t saying anything you wouldn’t say to a child if they was fuckin up. I’m sure no one here is perfect, but our imperfections don’t justify his and vice versa, we’re just fortunate to not be in the spotlight but if had loving families and we fuck up we would hear the same thing the “haters” are saying from them, now ask yourself, who’s the real hater?

      • yoprince

        i would never be cold and condescending toward my or anyone else’s children. nor would i make light about them making mistakes and going to jail.

        if a child/friend/loved one was fucking up, you would make repeated asinine acerbic comments as a means of help? that analogy is ridiculous.

        homie’s point was that meka seemed wildly out of place in this conversation, as he just tried to make as many off color comments as possible. we already know he fucked up and additionally meka’s not even witty. he’s just annoying.

        • El Tico Loco

          I feel you in his tone (Meka), but that’s the more reason to watch your step from now on(TI). That doesn’t take away the fact that TI might need to re evaluate the ones closest to him and how much help they are or not, because bottom line if TI didn’t use good judgement himself this time around, the ones around him, that eat off him should’ve, instead they became enablers. I can’t say much for Meka’s antics I can only hope he meant well, but his fans like myself can express dissapointment about the fact that he fucked up at point where he was becoming a more positive public figure. Does feeling that way make one a hater? and I went into more detail but those comment never made it past XXL’s filters but a link for Backshots did.

        • yoprince

          nah, that’s not hate. i agree w/ you there.

  • LdNSE15

    T.I. will ultimately be all right..He makes good music..

    For all this talk about being better lyricists in the south than him, who actually makes better music?..No one..

    That is why he is and will remain on top..It doesn’t matter how well you can put words together and how many punches and metaphors you can fit in a song..

    If people don’t relate, can’t bump it in their ride or aren’t moved emotionally you will fail. Simple.

    Jay-Z is years ahead of Kanye when it comes to raw lyricism but Kanye is tearing shit up because no one makes better music than him at the moment.

  • http://xxl Ronald Knox, Jr.

    T.i.P will be back and meka she’s a hating ass bitch. Its hard to have a social life when your successful like tip the nigga is human damn man. so u fucked up again. he’s human hes intitled to the shit i spelled it wrong who cares bitch sue me. but tip is that dude real talk my prayers go to tip and m language my bad

    • anutha_level

      “i spelled it wrong who cares bitch sue me”

      …lmao!

  • anutha_level

    MEKA is kinda beginning to come off like a scorned lover or something when it comes to TIP. lotta emotion goin on…

  • http://www.candidbackshots.com Candid BACKtshotS

    for the dude that said Tip has no substance…u are dead wrong. i been listening to TI since his very first album before he really blew up and he has ALWAYS been nice with the flow. And every album he gives u real honest introspective songs too. he is an all around artist and thats why hes been successful in the game so long. if he does happen to fall off, i think its just the natural cycle for any rap star. ur light eventually fades and people move on to the next new thing.

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    Hopefully he’ll get back on top.

  • El Tico Loco

    I see you guys are only posting the comments that have nothing to do with the discussion, especially if they’re against the grain, without the bias filtering this probably would be in the 50+ comments.

  • Kenny D

    Got love for Big Boi and Bun B, but Andre 3000 will always be the king of the South in my opinion.

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  • http://comcast d.

    He is only a man, men make mistakes. People shouldn’t be quick to judge, he the one that has to do the time.

  • matty21

    what about a “Fall” ? aint even reading it, ok he fell, and ? GOTTA GET BACK UP, u know he gonna come back: better den ever, more fire, stronger, and SELLIN MORE RECORDS, u just know it deep down…da shit all breed money neway ha sad 2 say and not good or worth it, but it all breeds money… dis shit harden u and just make u better, period, he a strong dude, he comin back to crack on a CD and even MORE money… so i dunno if i see a “fall?” u gotta see da whole picture… n it all makes it what it is, and is all meant to be… dis is an artist, and dis is his life, we watchin…he gotta live it… WE WITCHU TIP!

  • the1987kid

    I think this T.I. thing is deeper then what is shown on the surface, everytime he is at the height of his career something tragic happens.

    In 2004 when Urban Legend & his single Bring Em’ Out was blowing up he got in trouble

    In 2006 when King came out he was the hottest in the hip-hop & what happen his best friend gets killed.

    in 2007 after T.I. vs. T.I.P. was a another success he gets in trouble for weapons violation then he goes to prison in 2009.

    After serving his time he gets out in 2010 his movie Takers was a number one movie, his album was one of the most anticipated of this year then again he gets in trouble for drugs & violated his probation.

    Now he back at square one. He is one of the biggest artist not just hip-hop in the world, in my opinion i think T.I. is not doing something behind the scens & he is paying the price for it cause Suge Knight in the 90s had mutiple felonies & he either got probation or cases got dropped so to me T.I. is fighting something behind the sceans called the “Music Industry”! Most people will believe what the media says about him cause he is just a rich dumb nigger who can’t say out of trouble but people are so quick to believe that version of the mainstream media instend of looking at what the real is its alot of deception going on. People just need to connect the dots from 2004 all the up to 2010 its not what it seems to be on the surface i don’t look at this issue from face value.

    • matty21

      dats thinkin outside da box 4sure, and ur just looking at da facts…like all the thoughts… but its definatly A FACT, tip has a target on his head, and he is profiled heavily, that is a fact…and he’s been saying it since urban legend (“i give a fuck about the feds investigation on me”) and probably been saying it even before that, definatly mentions it in trap muzik and i’m serious…but not only tip, all these rappers(BOOSIE heavy, wayne) are profiled, u think the local cops in deez cities, and da feds like when they hear these lyrics, and like to see these artists do good? u think the feds or the government like that these artists saying this have a voice, and that we are listening HEAVY…they know we are really listening and following what these artists have 2 say, thats easy to see and say that u know the feds and cops dont like this, their all profiled… but tip especially becuz of his past trouble, his lyrics addressing it, and his major success as of late like u pointed out, more success more limelight, people are listening, do they wanna make an example out of them and make them look bad to discredit their word and voice? dunno 4sure, could say that and argue that 4sure…and its crazy to think about all the points u made, each time da big things came out for tip, and when his carear was on top, it was followed up with something life challenging and something negative…each time put to the test, could be life and how u get it going around release dates and what not, being on the road…but its just crazy since 2004 to think about, good points…highs and lows man, thats y he is da role model, and the example…he is the ULTIMATE example of highs and lows; of getting knocked down, and continuing to keep pushing through things, no matter what, tip right now is the epitamy of that…ultimate highs and lows, and ultimate resiliance, he been through hell and just keeps coming back better and clear, and positive minded somehow, its great…and i think dats PART of what kind of guy he is, he #1 is a strong guy 4sure, and i think he feeds off of ALL da shit heavily, and is just very i’ma do my thing, dis me and its gonna change on my terms…and great artists in general in history, always feed off da drama, tragedy, and trials in life, and not 2 mention: bullshit and lies..it pushes them to go harder, and write, and maybe renews things in them like passion and motivation… it gets people to listen, notice, and pay attention more(when life and art cross so heavily)… good points in all, sumthing to think about, real shit…dats whats so great bout tip as an artist, in my opinion, one of da big things, it just seems like he has it in him to just keep going and getting better somehow…no matter what happens, and dats big…and i dont even gotta say names, u know artists in history: it eventually broke them…but something in tip, where he came from and who he is, its just in him to keep going and keep being great, NO MATTER WHAT…and i’m way past doubting my man in any way, even da least bit, i dont see him stopping…theres something special there, he gonna keep pushin babi, he has learned from others in da past, and learned through hard lessons in his own life: it aint gonna stop grand hustle! ha its da king bitch

  • black jesus

    ti is a dumb ass.

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  • Buff Bagwell

    taMeka still actin like a punk ass bitch… ol midnight eyes ass pussy

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  • Lily

    T.I.’s the KING of the south its tht simple…haters FALL BAKK.! :)

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