Tip and Timberlake: It has a certain ring to it — an award-winning ring, if you will.
[artist id="1225081"]T.I.[/artist] and [artist id="1231683"]Justin Timberlake[/artist] collaborated on the former 'NSYNC singer's "My Love" from his 2006 album, FutureSex/LoveSounds; the song won them the 2007 Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Now, on the eve of this year's Grammys, the two have joined forces again in Los Angeles to shoot a video for T.I.'s next single, "Dead and Gone," featuring and co-produced by Timberlake. The clip will be helmed by longtime Tip collaborator Chris Robinson ("What You Know," "ATL") and will mirror the pair's performance on Sunday at the Grammy Awards.
T.I. said working with Timberlake taught him a lesson in mass appeal.
"I learned how to cater to a different audience," he told MTV News on Wednesday about working with JT. "To stay on a different demographic's mind. What Justin do, I don't do the same way as him, but I can accomplish the same things using a different approach. He showed me that I can do just that on 'My Love.' If I did 'My Love' over a DJ Toomp beat, it would have probably been 'Get Loose' [an album cut from Urban Legend]. But you put Justin on a track, and it's Grammy Award-winning 'My Love.' So it taught me if you take the same thing you have right here and [add] a few more different elements that you can definitely appeal to a different crowd."
"Dead and Gone" is one of the more memorable tracks from Paper Trail, partly because it's a tribute to T.I.'s late friend Philant Johnson. Johnson was killed in 2006 in a shooting that singled out T.I.'s entourage following a show in Cincinnati. Tip spoke about his friend during the funeral.
"It just seems like as long as I can remember, he was there," he said. "As long as I can remember, his mama and my mama were partners. His cousin and my uncle were partners. His auntie and my grandmama stayed up the street from one another. And we just always knew each other, and it was cool."
"We were born in the same year, so we grew up together," T.I. said during examination. "[He] was my oldest living friend. We knew each other since [we were] 2 years old, at least. ... He had a role in my life, personally as my best friend, a role in my organization ... as my assistant."
"The video is the inspiration for the performance," Tip later told MTV News. "I wanna personify the sentiment of the song and do the same onstage."
Will Lil Wayne grab all the gramophones? Is Katy Perry going to tell her girl rivals to kiss off? Can Coldplay march off with a win? MTV News is all over the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, so stay tuned for interviews, analysis and more before, during and after the big night, Sunday, February 8.