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 Bands A-Z: T.I.
 News Archive: T.I.

Part I

 Beefs, beefs and more beefs ...

Part II

 T.I. chases "beepers, sneakers and car speakers" ...

Part III

 T.I. tries to stop the kids from falling into the trap ...

 Lil' Flip To T.I.: 'If You Make A Leprechaun Mad, You Gonna Feel The Wrath'

T.I. Starts 'Filet Mignon' Beef With Lil' Flip At Birthday Bash

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— by Shaheem Reid

T.I. thinks he has the trump card. Just a few blocks away from Atlanta's Georgia Dome, the down-bottom MC is about an hour away from heading to the Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre for his first public appearance in months, and has assembled his 40-person crew outside the offices of his Grand Hustle record company. He can't wait to play his hand — you can see it in his face, you can hear it in his voice. The card that T.I. is going to pull tonight is not one you would see those card sharks on high-stakes TV poker playing with, however — he's going to try and pull Lil' Flip's playa card.

T.I. — who's called "Tip" by everyone close to him — and members of his Pimp Squad Click are holding up old publicity shots of Lil' Flip dressed in a leprechaun outfit. One picture has Flip holding a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal, the other one has Flipper in a fighting stance. Both flicks have been blown up to poster-size and copied several times.

T.I. disses Lil' Flip
live from Atlanta's 107.9 "Birthday Bash 9"
"We got a sucker MC, you understand, that chose to join us at the party," Tip, flanked by, of all people, Kyle Norman of Jagged Edge, says like a wrestler giving a backstage interview before the main event as his boys hold up one of the comical Flip posters. "Don't think you safe, shorty. Understand that the game ain't over till I unplug it."

The Bankhead, Georgia, native is speaking with the confrontational fervor of Tupac as he stands in the parking lot filled with Hummers, Escalades and Denalis.

"Understand that I got the plug, shorty, and next time you say you the king, you need to know where you coming from," he continues. "Next time you try a G shorty, you need to think twice. I'm comin' for you, dawg. I'm after your Lucky Charms, sucker!"

Now how could the mild-mannered Flip — a man who has gotten love from such ATL artists as Bone Crusher, the Oomp Camp, Ludacris and DTP, Lil Jon and Pastor Troy — put the Rubber Band Man in such a ferocious tizzy? It all depends on who you believe.

T.I. says he heard from several sources, and even has a tape, of Flip dissing him at a few A-town concerts. Flip's alleged treason supposedly happened when T.I. was locked away in jail earlier this spring. Rap's leprechaun is said to have asked different audiences who the king of the South was before telling the crowd to inform hometown hero T.I. that "the game was over." T.I. says he heard this was followed by the Houston freestyle king performing "Game Over."

T.I. live from Atlanta's 107.9 "Birthday Bash 9" photos
"That ain't even my style," Flip says about the accusations, which he flatly denies. "I got too many hits to perform to get onstage to start dissing a n---a. The n---a is crazy."

Regardless of whether T.I. was misinformed or misconstrued Flip's words on the mic, the lyrical beef is on. T.I. is going to unleash some records about his new archenemy and Flip isn't going to back down either.

Despite his Shakur-esque spewing at his offices, T.I.'s fire seems to be simmering down while traveling to the concert venue ... at first. He teases a lady named Peaches about her allegiance to Flip when she comes on the bus to say hi to the PSC.

"I'm Flip and T.I.'s stylist, I am not in the middle," she says to the squad, who are all laughing. Her caramel cheeks turn red with embarrassment. "I'm neutral and I'm not in the middle of anything."

T.I., on the other hand, plans to get in the middle of everything tonight. Not only is he performing at the concert, but Flip is as well. T.I.'s goal: to humiliate him.

"Next time you say you the king, you need to know where you coming from."
"I'm even gonna walk out on his show when he does 'Game Over,' " T.I., the night's unannounced headliner, tells everyone. "I ain't gonna make no advances ... unless he does something I don't like. We not gonna be brutes, we not gonna bum-rush the stage."

He later thinks of a better plan of attack. "I'll invite him out to my show," he says.

Before the night is over, Tip did make good on his promise. He brought out the posters of Flip in the all-green outfit, dissed him onstage and even called him out. Flip wasn't allowed to confront his detractor, but he did address the situation two days later in his own hometown of H-town.

"This is the year of the South, what f---ing sense does it make to hate on each other while we getting nominated [for major awards]?" Flip questions. "Why start beefing when we coming up this year?"

Flip isn't the first major heavyweight from the South with whom T.I. has gone back and forth. He's been going at it with fellow A-towners Ludacris and the Disturbing Tha Peace crew for years. Although no names have been officially called out, the two factions have fired several rounds of thinly veiled disses.

"Southern Fried Intro"
(Def Jam)
The loudest salvo came via Luda's "Southern Fried Intro" off the Chicken-N- Beer album. A voice, mocking T.I., says "Man! This Disturbin' Tha Peace sh-- gettin' on my nerves ... While he doin' shows, I'm in these skreets. While he on TV, I'm in these skreets."

"That's the truth." T.I. responds. "They was on tour, I was in the streets. They were doing videos, I was in the streets. And I'm still here. I ain't trippin' on that. I listen to [his lyrics], he stepped it up. It was good for me to inspire somebody."

The Luda and T.I. "tongue wrasslin' " started years ago when Cris was a DJ on Atlanta radio, according to Tip. T.I. came on his show and proclaimed to be the king of the South. Shortly after his appearance, DTP member I-20 did a drop for the show saying he was the king of the South.

The clash of egos and rhymes was sparked.

T.I. says he was crowned the champ by the listeners and started "rubbing it in" on his mixtapes. DTP would respond, then he would answer back.

"It was like a snowball effect," T.I., whose latest barb against Luda comes as a guest on a Young Buck mixtape song, "Break 'Em Off." "I mean to be perfectly honest with you, that's a perfect example of rap sh--. It's not no real hard cold beef. We run into each other at different parties. We know a lot of the same people. What I was real upset about was that my people and they people were coming together and saying, 'Look man, it ain't no problem, it's all good, its cool.' We did that like two or three times, but every time we do that I was catching wind that there was songs being made about me and stuff like that."

T.I. admits that there is a possibility he could have been wrong about the songs and says he could have been "hot-headed, just reacting off of my temper."

"It ain't no major beef between me and them," T.I. says. "I feel like the media kind of blew it way out of proportion. Right now I ain't trippin' on them, they ain't trippin' on me. It's dead."

So what makes this 23-year-old feel he is the king of the South? Yes, he is a master of lyrics, but plenty of people, like Lil' Flip, will argue that legendary wordsmith Scarface is the king of the South, due to his consistency and longevity. The same can be said about 8Ball and MJG and UGK. If you want to talk about modern-day rappers, Lil' Flip, Ludacris, Outkast and even Juvenile have sold more records than T.I. Other people will argue you up and down that producer Lil Jon should sit on the throne for the third coast because everyone is seeking his wildly popular crunk sound.

"When I made that statement I wasn't necessarily speaking of right then, I was just telling what my intentions were," he explains. "I was telling that I was going to represent the South in a way that nobody has represented it before."

T.I. was also alluding to his skill level in his self-coronation.

"Ain't nobody from down here that's coming out the same time as me gonna be making a hotter album than me," he says. "They ain't gonna be able to out-rap me. That's the standard that I set for myself. I feel that I've met that standard, if not exceeded it. The streets concur. So I'm going to be the king of the South until some young man dethrones me. I don't think there's anybody out right now that's going to do it ... I'm sure there's nobody out right now that's going to do it."

NEXT: Becoming a recurring guest of the state was less and less sexy every time T.I. felt the silver bracelets around his skinny wrists ...
Photo: MTV News

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T.I. disses Lil' Flip
live from Atlanta's 107.9 "Birthday Bash 9"
(MTV News)

"Rubber Band Man"
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