T.I. Talks About ‘Power & Beauty,’ The Power Of Music, & The Power Of The ‘Family Hustle’ In Exclusive Interview With Michelle
Yesterday afternoon, AMP Radio’s Michelle (and thousands of fans via TinyChat) had the chance to rap with the well-spoken and extremely handsome, T.I.
Decked out in mirrored sunglasses and his charming smile, the No Mercy artist was primed to give you “Whatever You Like.” Tip talked about his new fictional book, how he wants to inspire his fans to read, what his next ideal movie role would be, and the everyday hustle of his family to be featured on upcoming VH1 television show, Family Hustle.
Michelle: Well, hello. It’s not every day you get to welcome “The King” to AMP Radio. It’s Michelle, by the way. This, you know him as T.I. What’s up?
T.I.: How you doing, dude?
Michelle: Good! It’s good to see you.
T.I.: It’s good to be seen.
Michelle: You know, you look good, you look happy.
T.I.: Thank you! So do you.
Michelle: Well, thank you. I’m happy to be here.
T.I.: You look good too.
Michelle: Thank you. I put on some gloss for you. I brushed my hurrrr. So, listen, I want to talk about your book right off the bat, in case people have not seen. I cannot believe how beautiful the art and everything is for Power and Beauty. Go and get this, by the way.
T.I.: We wanted to make it powerful and beautiful.
Michelle: It’s a good size book too. You’re serious with this. So, tell me a little bit about the book and for people that don’t really know that T.I. is an author.
T.I.: Yeah, this is my first literary piece and, basically, it’s a fictional story about two teenagers and how they adapt and adjust to their circumstances once the one person they have in their life is gone. It’s just them now. They are put in adult situations, respectively, all of a sudden. And you know, the paths they take and the choices they make. You know, that’s what the story is about.
Michelle: So, I wanted to ask you, did this just start as like, “Oh, I think I’ve got a little idea I’ll start writing” or did you set out like “I’m going to write a book?”
T.I.: Well, I was introduced to Mr. Ritz, David Ritz, and he’s a very, very accomplished, critically-acclaimed biographer. Now with intentions of possibly doing a biography on me–and I had my reservations and apprehensions because I just didn’t know how to end it and felt like I was way too young to do a biography. At 30, or 29.
Michelle: Right, the story’s not nearly over, so….
T.I.: Exactly. So then he said, “You know, I always have wanted to write a fictional novel.” But he said, “If I did it, I want to do it in a world that I so happen to have no knowledge of.” He said, “The world of the streets in Atlanta.” I said, “Well, guess what? I happen to know everything about that. So let’s sit down and talk about it.”
So we sat down on a Wednesday and we started speaking and, that Saturday, he came and sat down with me at my house for five, six hours with a tape recorder, a pen and pad, and we just exchanged dialogue, picked each other’s brains, and challenged each other’s ideas, and we just built a plot. We built character structure. The foundation of this novel. We just built on that and just built on top of that, more and more, bit by bit, piece by piece. And a year later, here you have it.
Michelle: I know! Here is is and it’s out now. Are you nervous about people reading it or are you really feeling solid and confident?
T.I.: Nah, I’m not nervous. I’m actually anxious for people to read it. That’s another one of the reasons that I thought it would be a good idea to write a book. To try to influence and encourage all of these people right here [points at TinyChat], you know, to read more.
I love them all but I think that we all could do more reading. So, I just thought, if I gave them something that they could relate to, if I gave them something that intrigued them, that inspired them, that entertained them, and educated them all at the same time then I’d be able to get them to read more.
Michelle: So, you just finished this one, it’s out, and I understand that you’re working on a second one?
T.I.: Yeah, we’re working on a second one.
Michelle: So, you’re all full on into this. That’s exciting.
T.I.: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Michelle: And then, I also heard that you’re writing a relationship book with your beautiful wife.
T.I.: Well, that is our intention. You know, it’s definitely early. We’re in the beginning stages of that.
Michelle: Then, what about the music?
T.I.: Music. Man, I got music, man. Poppin’ off. I’ve got about forty songs so far and I’m recording everyday.
Michelle: Any collaborations? Anything?
T.I.: Me and Jeezy got a hot record. Me and Akon got a record. I haven’t done many. Most of them is just me and Bob–we’ve got two or three records. Me and Pharrell got a few records. Just sent a record to Andre 3000 to see how he gonna feel about getting on it. Me and Cee-Lo was just in the studio, so there’s more possible collaborations.
Michelle: Well, I thought the one collaboration you just did which I just heard and thought was awesome was getting up on stage with Taylor Swift. What was that like? Did she just call you?
T.I.: Yeah, she just called me,man. She just called me and said, “Hey, why don’t you come in and walk out and represent with me on this show while I’m in Atlanta?”
Michelle: And you just did it? Are you a fan of hers?
T.I.: Yeah, absolutely.
Michelle: She’s doing her thing, right? She’s got her own thing. Because a lot of people are like, “Oh, it’s country.” But, I feel like Taylor Swift’s really doing it.
T.I.: Yeah, Taylor Swift, I think that she makes music. That’s the one thing that transcends culture, it transcends age, it transcends gender: music. And that’s our common denominator. No matter what kind of music we make, we all love music. We can all find something to agree on.
Michelle: Yeah, I like that. I like that. What about…are you entertaining any movie roles?
T.I.: I’m reading some. I’m reading some.
Michelle: I imagine you’ve got a lot of people knocking on your door, trying to get back in the game.
T.I.: Yeah, definitely. I’m looking forward to it, man. I love doing films. I can’t wait to find that perfect one. I want to do a comedy though. An action-comedy. I want to do a Bad Boys or a Lethal Weapon.
Michelle: If there’s a producer watching this, seriously, you’ve gotta lock that down right now. And are you doing the show for VH1 that I just heard about?
T.I.: Yep, Family Hustle.
Michelle: Talk to me about that a little bit.
T.I.: Well, It’s basically a peek inside of my life and showing you all of the intricacies that go with me as a father, as a husband, as a brother, as a son, as a friend, as well as me trying to maintain the balance of my professional duties.
And everyone in my family has something going on. They all have a hustle, everybody. The children; Tameka; my cousins; my brother; my…everybody. Everybody got a hustle. Everybody’s doing something. And they all come to me, like, “Ok, what do we need to do? How do we need to get this done?”
And I got to balance all of that and still keep my swag intact.
Watch Michelle’s exclusive interview with T.I. here!