T.I. says he's been applauded by his fans, his peers and even Tupac's mom, Afeni Shakur, for settling his differences with Lil' Flip after Rap-A-Lot CEO James Prince called a behind-closed-doors meeting to reach a truce. But the self-proclaimed King of the South says that although he is thankful for the accolades, he'd be a "liar" if he said he'd initiated the meeting.
"I appreciate it, but I can't take full credit for it," he said. "It was not my idea. I thank people for taking notice of me trying to take steps in a positive direction. It was an OG call. They were the ones with the visions — they should get the credit. I don't think me nor [Flip] ... I can't speak for him, but I know that ain't where I was. I had made up in my mind I wasn't dealing with him and I was moving on, but I had no intention of doing a sit-down. But all's well that ends well" (see "T.I Squashes His Beef With Lil' Flip, Plans To Serve 25 To Life").
With the dust settled, T.I. is continuing to make music and, of course, get his hustle on. His Grand Hustle imprint just finished up a deal to put out the upcoming soundtrack to the motion picture "Hustle & Flow," due July 13. Turns out one of the movie's producers, John Singleton, is good friends with Kevin Liles, executive vice president of the Warner Music Group, the same label that houses T.I.
"They reached out to us," T.I. said. "Grand Hustle, 'Hustle & Flow,' — it just works. When I spoke to John Singleton, he told me the movie was the 'Boyz N the Hood' for the South. The first song I remember is 'How to Survive in South Central' or the MC Eiht song ['Growin' Up in the Hood']. Those songs were so significant for the West Coast — not just gangbangers, not just dope dealers. People who work nine-to-five could relate to those songs because they lived in the city and, good or bad, they could relate to the city. That's the kind of material I wanted to put together."
Records T.I. and his Pimp Squad Clique have in the stash include "The King" and "My Hustle, My Flow."
"It's about a pimp trying to get paid," T.I. said of the latter track. "That's what the movie is about. The movie is definitely going to touch a lot of people in the South. [There are] going to be some people with different opinions about how people in the South are being represented, but the fact of the matter is that [there are] really people in the South living like what the film is portraying. It's going to be substantial."
T.I. says since he feels the movie reps the South as a whole, that's what he wants the soundtrack to do. He's been in talks with friends such as Lil Jon, Trick Daddy, Trina and Lil' Wayne to include some of their material.
"We definitely reached out," he said. "We're getting everything together, picking all the options. I'm definitely not going to saturate the soundtrack with a bunch of Grand Hustle [artists] when we have a PSC album coming out after [the soundtrack] and I have an album coming out later this year. There's no need for that. We're gonna give everybody a shot at it."
The "Hustle & Flow" soundtrack comes out June 28. PSC's album, 25 to Life, is slated to come out this summer, and T.I.'s next solo LP, The King, does not yet have a release date. Last week in Los Angeles, T.I. and his camp shot the videos for T.I.'s "ASAP" and "Motivation" and PSC's "Set It Out."
In "ASAP," Tip illustrates some of the activities that landed him in jail in 2004 ("I'm trying to give people an idea of why I was gone so they stop asking me," he said); "Motivation" details some of his struggles while in prison (see "The T.I. Trilogy"). "Set It Out," on the other hand, is themed way on the other end of the spectrum.
"It's basically [about]: You got your freak, don't make her your girlfriend," he said. "Don't get too attached."