Finally, T.I. says, he's getting his just due.
Sales of his fourth album, King, went through the roof during its first week as it moved more than 520,000 copies (see "All Hail The King: T.I. Tops Billboard Albums Chart"). The King of the South is evolving into one of the kings of rap. And yet he feels like he's playing catch-up.
"I have mixed feelings, because I feel like I should have been here when I dropped my first album," he said recently. "I feel I should have been right here in this position. I feel like I should have had Nelly's or 50's career. I should have dropped and debuted #1 and went hard from the top. But God don't make mistakes, and I don't regret none of the things I went through."
The next single from King is going to be "Why You Wanna," which, as dance-music enthusiasts will recognize, uses a sample from Crystal Waters' hit "Gypsy Woman."
"I will not tell a lie, I cannot take any credit for that sample," he explained. "Kato, a Grand Hustle producer, he came in and gave me the track. I didn't know what the sample was from. I think [my publicist] was like, 'That's from a old song.' Then when people started singing it, I was like, 'I remember that.' I like the response from that song, that's a definite bond with the ladies I haven't had."
For more on T.I., check out the feature "Expanding An Empire."