Interview: Brian “B.Dot” Miller
The latter of 2007 was tough for T.I. Despite releasing a platinum album earlier that year, the Atlanta rapper was charged and found guilty on weapons possession. In March 2008, he was sentenced to a year in jail, ordered to pay a hefty fine, and perform a shit load of community service. In the meantime, T.I. used his freedom to sell over a million copies of his latest LP, Paper Trail and star in an MTV reality series, Road To Redemption. Before turning himself in two weeks from today, T.I.P. phoned in to RapRadar to discuss his final days, baby mama drama and ghostwriting for a certain doctor.
Are you upset that for the second time in a row, you didn’t win the Grammy for Rap Album of the Year?
Nah, I feel like— remember last time I said I had the album of the year, but Iike I said, I felt those were the two albums of the year, so either one of those who made it, I ain’t got a problem with it. Damn near everybody in the category, even if it wasn’t huge the commercial success, it was just lyrically and creatively well put together albums. If American Gangster would’ve won, I couldn’t have been mad. Wayne did his thing, man. Wayne had a phenomenal year.
True, but alot of folks have said that you’ve stepped your rap game up on Paper Trail. Do you think that’s why Dr. Dre recruited you as a ghostwriter?
Say what, bruh?
You know, ghostwriting for Dre. Several reference tracks that you did for Detox leaked on the ‘net a few weeks ago.
Hey man, I cannot confirm nor deny any of those allegations.
Huh? Come on T.I., everyone knows that’s you.
I cannot confirm nor deny the allegations.
Ok well, lets just say they were you.
Well, I mean if I had been or if I am in fact writing for Dr. Dre, it would definitely be a pivotal moment and highlight in my career. It would definitely be an absolute honor to work alongside such a musical genius, specializing in gangsta shit, as I do myself. But that’s if I am in fact— if I had ever written for Dr. Dre, you know. But I cannot confirm or deny.
Right. So if you did get a chance to meet him, what would you say?
If I did meet Dr. Dre or if I did talk to Dre, I would just tell him, man, whatever he needs from me, I’m on deck for him and how I— goddamn, respect the legacy you know what I’m saying, and how much I grew up loving that shit, man. And also, whatever we get a chance to work on my stuff— if we were ever able to put sometime aside to ever work on my stuff then you know, I would it expect it to be nothing less than catastrophic. If.
Well, on T.I. vs. T.I.P., you collaborated with Eminem on “Touchdown” so it’s easy to connect the dots.
Em is a great guy. He’s a good partner of mine. We speak a lot and I’m looking forward to what he put together. I know it’s going to be A1 certified.
You recently wrapped up Takers, starring yourself and Chris Brown. How do you feel about him being removed from the film’s marketing campaign?
Nah man, that can’t be further from the truth. There’s no validity to that statement. I’m a producer on the movie and I ain’t put forth no sort of order or request man. And personally, it’s very, very premature to jump to such a conclusion given that none of these matters have been resolved. No one has been tried or convicted or nothing like that. I’m not going to jump to no conclusions. I’m not going to. I think that’s unfair ’cause that’s what people did with me, and I’m not going to do that.
Granted. Closing in on your final days, what’s your mind state?
Man, to be honest with you man, I’m ready to go get my days in and get the moving on, this ain’t really nothing to sound drowned up and hung down low about. Winter, summer, home period.
Well, it’s not something you look forward to, like a birthday.
Actually, I’m looking forward to it! I’m looking forward to it. Spring, summer, fall winter, the crib.
Has there been anyone outside of the hip-hop realm that’s shown support?
Minister Farrakhan extended his support. Man, he’s a great man. I think he exemplifies growth and longevity and prosperity, you know in the community. Everything he says is so profound. When he speaks, he speaks for a reason. He just speaks so much to the point of taking back our communities and being more responsible for our children and the youth today. Being more involved, caring more and not looking the other way when you see young people doing the wrong thing.
Do you know where you’re going to be housed?
No I don’t. That’s up to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Do your kids understand the severity of your situation?
I mean, somewhat. But I teach my family not to listen to gossip. Especially the boys, I tell ‘em all the time gossiping is for girls.
Speaking of your children, your monthly child support payments were recently increased by $2,000. That’s not too recession friendly.
I think it was an excellent decision by the judge. [The court] did increase the funds somewhat, but it also increased the responsibility. Now, LaShon Dixon is paying for all private schools, all uniforms, all tuition, all books, half of the extracurricular activities, all in which she never paid for any of these things before. Once it was all laid out and brought forth on the table, the judge recognized the situation immediately.