T.I. just can’t slow down.
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
It’s been a long, rewarding road for T.I. The 39-year-old artist started his rap career in 2001 with his first album, I’m Serious. Since then, Tip has dropped 10 albums, acted in six movies, had three successful reality TV shows and has become a hip-hop legend and entrepreneur. When he’s not recording music or shooting for television or film, T.I. can be found fighting for political issues near and dear to him. In fact, Tip has become quite the voice in hip-hop’s political landscape.
This fall, the Atlanta native will add teacher to his resume, as he will be instructing a course called Business of Trap Music at Clark Atlanta University. Here, T.I. weighs in on his progress.
XXL: Are you really about to drop your 11th album? What can you tell us?
T.I.: I don’t know, that’s the rumor. I’ve heard things. Yeah, that’s the rumor. If there was an album, I think that the visuals would be a big part. I’d probably already have some visually stimulating content in the can. I probably would already be working with people of the likes of Hype Williams. Had I done something like that, it would be the first time working with Hype Williams. That would be something to be proud of. It would definitely be introspective and a journey.
Like, a platform of perspective. Where I’ve gone in my life. Where I’ve grown, evolved to and what I have taken away. It’s a milestone coming this year. My 40th year on this Earth and I think that it’s definitely important. It’s an impeccable time to just try to impart wisdom, shed some light and have just one last hurrah.
What’s new as far as the TV realm? T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle has six seasons, T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle has three seasons and you’re just coming off Netflix’s Rhythm + Flow, which was very successful. What else?
I think they working on bringing Hip Hop Squares back. Definitely working on Rhythm + Flow, the second season. We have films coming out. There is one called the Cut Throat City that RZA directed with myself, Shamar Moore, Kat Graham, Wesley Snipes, Terrence Howard, that’s all I can remember at the moment. It’s a dope movie about the dystopia of New Orleans after Katrina. Also, there’s a film called Monster Hunter. It’s an adaptation of a very popular video game, over in, I believe Japan. Twenty-foot tall monsters and shit. That’s going to come out in September, internationally.
It seems as if you stepped into a leadership role when it comes to protesting injustices and the Black Lives Matter movement.
I’ll tell you just as I have the young ladies at the leadership position at Black Lives Matter.
I don’t want to associate myself with any organization like Black Lives Matter that happens to be so important because I don’t want to misconstrue our messages. I don’t want any of my contrary beliefs to be taken as their beliefs and their contrary beliefs to be taken as mine, you know what I’m saying? So, I do support the thought of Black Lives Matter.
I need to know a little more about the hierarchy. I need to know a little more about the funding. I need to know a little more about the infrastructure of Black Lives Matter as it pertains to the organization. However, the thought, the hashtag, the sentiment of Black Lives Matter, I support it in totality. As far as me in a leadership position, I feel I’m just doing my part. I feel if everybody do a little, nobody have to do a lot, you know what I’m saying? I do what I can and kinda offer leadership, guidance, direction, and you know, kinda just a clear, strategic mindset.
Check out more from XXL magazine’s Fall 2020 issue including our 2020 XXL Freshman Class interviews with NLE Choppa, Polo G, Chika, Baby Keem, Mulatto, Jack Harlow, Rod Wave, Lil Tjay, Calboy, Fivio Foreign, Lil Keed and 24kGoldn, a Hip-Hop Junkie conversation with Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, read one of Pop Smoke's final interviews and the making of Young Jeezy's classic album, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101.
See the 2020 XXL Freshman Class