Since leaving house arrest earlier this year, T.I.'s public appearances have been at a premium. He's traveled all across the country talking to children as part of his community service duties, as well as promoting his upcoming LP, Paper Trail, which is due August 12.
But Friday night in Washington, D.C., was the first time the MC has gotten onstage and performed since his arrest on gun charges in October of last year. Tip rolled out 24 songs from his catalog and rocked the enthusiastic crowd at the Chocolate City's popular nightspot Love for 90 minutes, well into the early hours of Saturday morning.
With DJ MLK playing the records and his Grand Hustle family there to help spur him on, Tip started with "Help Is Coming," "Top Back" and "Rubber Band Man." He followed that with a three-point shot for the ladies, with "Let's Get Away," "Freak Through" and "Why You Wanna."
"He still got it," Tip said with a smile, referring to himself. "I can go all night with all the hits I got."
He performed one song, "No Matter What," from Paper Trail (he talked with MTV News about the album and his three-picture deal with Screen Gems at the MTV Movie Awards last week). And he reprised his recent appearances on remixes from Usher ("Love in This Club") and Lupe Fiasco ("Superstar"). He also paid tribute to the late Pimp C on the UGK-featured "Front Back" and to Tupac Shakur on "My Life."
Later in the set, he also delivered a promise to the crowd. "As long as I got a ounce of breath left in my body, I'mma be right here doing what I do," he said, before finishing off the set with "Big Sh-- Poppin' " and "What You Know."
"[T.I.'s] first show back was monumental!" raved DJ Drama, who attended the show, on Monday morning (June 9). "The house was packed, it was crazy."
Singer J. Holiday, former BET host Big Tigger, Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin and the Washington Redskins' Clinton Portis were among the celebrities in attendance.