WEST HOLLYWOOD, California — And the countdown is on for T.I. With only weeks to go before the rapper's mug hits the silver screen, the "ATL" star and self-proclaimed "King of the South" is ready for his close-up.
"I'm eager and I feel honored," T.I. said recently of his debut film role in the coming-of-age-in-Atlanta flick, due March 31. The film, directed by Chris Robinson, also features Outkast's Big Boi as well as Diana Ross' son Evan Ross Naess as Tip's younger brother, Anton (see "Roll Up! T.I., Atlanta Hip-Hop Luminaries Star In Coming-Of-Age Flick 'ATL' ").
"I'm proud of it and I think it's going to be a huge move for myself and my company, and I think it's going to be an incredible display of talent for all individuals involved," added Tip. He attended Queen Latifah and Vibe magazine's Oscar bash in West Hollywood earlier this month with his friend Warner Music Group Executive Vice President Kevin Liles.
The duo were also on hand to promote the rapper's forthcoming fourth album, King, which hits stores three days before "ATL" hits theaters. The follow-up to his 2004 platinum disc, Urban Legend, includes cameos from hip-hop's top ranks, including Common, Pharrell Williams and Young Jeezy as well as Blink-182's Travis Barker and actor/singer Jamie Foxx.
Though the album's first single is "What You Know?," at the moment T.I. is keen to talk about "Why You Wanna," the next single, which finds the rapper preaching to a woman that you must get with a real man if you want to be treated right.
"I think Tip is expressing himself and basically saying to her, 'Why do you want to go through all those [bad] things when you can be with a real man that does real things?' " Liles explained of the track.
"Simply said: Why don't you drop that zero and get with a hero?" Tip added, laughing as he quoted Vanilla Ice's "Cool as Ice."
So what does the Atlanta native possess that men lack? "It's just the way I carry myself," he said. "I think some women out there — actually, I think the majority of the women out there — can find something to desire about that."
A video for "Why You Wanna" has yet to be shot, but Tip insisted he's going to "do something special ... and pull out all the stops. All the bells, all the whistles, and we're going to leave no stone unturned."
T.I. is also ready to hit the road again with Young Jeezy. The two toured together last fall (see "T.I., Young Jeezy Hitting The Road On Georgia Power Tour"), but the trek was cut short when T.I. needed to finish up his album.
"Me and Jeezy are going to get back out there and pick it back up," Tip said. "I'd like to call out all the other people who [are] running sh-- down [there] and have them come along [too]. Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Mike Jones, UGK, Big Boi, Lil Jon, Ludacris ... you know, whoever."