T.I. talks about his time in prison and recalls when Will Smith reached out to the Attorney General in an effort to have Tip released early.
All eyes are on The King of the South these days as he prepares for his first album release since getting out of prison. T.I. was recently on the cover of Billboard and in his interview with them revealed some interesting information about his prison sentence.
Tip talks about not caring about the “buzz” created by his bid, and how he would gladly trade back that time for any additional hype surrounding him and his new projects. It also looks like fans are going to be treated to a Spring Tour after Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head has been out for awhile.
The most interesting story he tells is about the support T.I. received from other notable artists while he was incarcerated, with Will Smith being one of them. When T.I. was sent back to prison the second time Will Smith reached out the U.S. Attorney General to see if he could pull some strings.
Check out excerpts from the interview below. T.I.’s comeback album Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head drops December 18th.
There are those who say that when rappers go to jail it makes them hot. What's your take on that?
I tell you what: If it did, I'd give it back in a second for the time that I lost. I can say that it has made me more famous, and people probably know my situation more than they know my music. However, it also interrupted a lot of very lucrative and noteworthy opportunities. In my case, I lost as much as I gained, probably.
Do you have your eye on a big
Yeah, definitely. I just got to see what the most lucrative, reasonable opportunity is for me. I would like to focus more on my international presence. Due to my circumstances, a lot of people that know my music, know who I am and want to see me, but haven't had the opportunity because I haven't been afforded the opportunity to travel abroad. Now that I can, I would like to strengthen my international presence. I've never been to Africa. I've never been to China. Aside from seeing the world and living life, it's leaving a lot of money on the table.
Through the years, you've mentioned different people being supportive of everything you've gone through, including Eminem. Who else has been there to help?
As you mentioned, of course, Em. He was extremely supportive and inspirational during that time. Busta Rhymes, Puffy, Lyor Cohen, Russell Simmons, Nelly, David Banner, Charlie Mack, Will Smith. Will actually went as far as getting in touch with [attorney general] Eric Holder and the Obama administration trying to see if we could get some kind of release. He was very politely told that was not possible. [laughs]
It was the last time I was going back, and I was going to court for my probation violation. He was in deep discussions about it. And he's been a huge contributor to the administration, and I mean not just in finances, I'm talking about time and other kinds of efforts, so it ain't like his words were falling on deaf ears. But I understood. I didn't even expect no help. I didn't expect nobody to be able to help me. I knew I made my bed and I knew I had to lay in it.