T.I. has been saying for months that sometimes he can be two people in one person’s body: A calm, cool, collected businessman who can mingle with Hollywood stars and fashion and music moguls at one minute, and then the kind of guy you’d see fighting outside a club.
Well, he wasn’t outside a club, but on Sunday afternoon at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, California, T.I. was involved in a brawl nonetheless. During a luncheon held by Kevin Liles of Warner Music Group (parent company of T.I.’s label, Atlantic Records), the MC got into a fight with Ludacris’ manager Chaka Zulu. According to witnesses, T.I. punched Zulu in the face and a small, brief melee ensued.
The luncheon, called “Make It Happen” (after Liles’ book of the same name), was aimed at power brokers and actress Holly Robinson Peete was the guest of honor. Yung Joc, Musiq, Twista, Brandy, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth and Omar Epps were in attendance, among others.
Ludacris and Zulu are said to have arrived about three hours into the event, with Zulu and Tip’s altercation happening shortly after. A statement released by Zulu’s publicist on Monday (June 25) called the incident “an unprovoked attack from [T.I., which] forced [Zulu] to defend himself.”
Zulu is quoted in the statement as saying, “It’s a shame that things like this continue to happen, especially with the backdrop of an event that was about benevolence and charitable works. I’m thankful that all issues have been resolved.”
T.I. and Ludacris had been microphone rivals for quite some time before squashing their differences a couple of years back. They were seen being friendly toward each other at MTV News’ “Great Day in Atlanta” event (see “A Great Day In Atlanta”), and congratulated each other backstage after the Grammy Awards in February. Both MCs performed at L.A. radio station Power 106’s Powerhouse concert in Anaheim, California, on Saturday.
On T.I.’s upcoming LP, T.I. Vs. T.I.P., he does say that he had the best rap album of last year even though Ludacris took home the Grammy in that category, but the lyric sounds like nothing more than standard hip-hop bravado.
At press time, representatives for T.I. had not granted MTV News’ requests for comment on the incident.
[This story was originally published at 9:00 pm E.T. on 06.24.2007]