T.I. says that he’s hoping to dethrone himself as the “King of the South” with his upcoming final album, Kill the King. Speaking with TMZ, the legendary rapper reflected on the title as well as the end of his storied career. T.I. has referred to himself as the king on many songs throughout his career. The first time came on his song, “2 Glock 9’s,” featuring Beanie Sigel. He even named his 2006 album King. “That was the beginning of a long road of many challenges, opposition and adversity,” the rapper reflected.

“I feel like the King of the South moniker is very egotistical, self-gratuitous and it’s a persona that kinda enters the room before I do physically. Big Boi cautioned me of [the title] back when I was coming onto the scene,” T.I. recalled to the outlet. “Big Boi said, ‘It sounds cool. I like it, but understand when you are king you put a big bullseye on your back. You can’t look for no favors. Life is a game of chess, and the name of the game is called Kill The King. That’s what you are setting yourself up for.’ [At the age] I didn’t really think much of it.”

T.I. Speaks To TMZ

T.I. announced Kill the King back in 2021, at the end of the music video for his single “What It’s Come To.” The Atlanta rapper also addressed a series of allegations including sexual assault, rape, drugging, and more that were made against him and his wife, Tiny Harris, on the song.

“When people heard it, the visceral reaction that they had, that’s what made it more personal for me,” T.I. said of the initially reaction to him labeling himself the king. “When people started telling me ‘You can’t call yourself that.’ I said, ‘Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and can’t call MYSELF.’ And that’s when I began to feel more ownership; I felt like, ‘Well now, I got to stand on this.’”

Earlier this year, T.I. recalled DJ Drama’s reaction to calling himself the King of the South during an interview with Shannon Sharpe. “[DJ Drama] called me in to freestyle on a mixtape,” he said. “I said King of the South in the freestyle. He kind of raised his head like, ‘Whoa! What is that? What did you say?’ I said, ‘You heard what I said.’”