Just as Lil Wayne was celebrating his release from prison this week, T.I. was issuing his first major statements from behind bars. The King of the South, who re-entered a low-security federal penitentiary in Arkansas on Monday to serve an 11-month stint for probation violations, posted messages on his website on Wednesday and Thursday. They gave a peek into how he’s feeling about being back in prison for the second time this year and what he thinks about fan reaction to his video with Chris Brown for “Get Back Up.”
“To all of you who say, ’He should practice what he preaches,’ and ’How could he do something so stupid … AGAIN?’ You’re absolutely right, and I couldn’t agree with you more,” wrote Tip (born Clifford Harris) about fans who’ve flamed the rapper for landing behind bars again after his arrest on September 1 in Los Angeles for drug possession.
“But you know what? As history has shown us before, I find my greatest inspiration during my darkest hours,” he continued. “So all fans of music, T.I. or not, should be able to agree that No Mercy will surely be my best work yet. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? If I never went to prison, never did drugs, never f’ed up again, did everything right and never made great music … would you even care enough to comment on T.I.? Doubt it, so bear that in mind while you jump to your conclusions, guys. Martin Luther King once said, ’Notice not the comments of your enemies but the silence of your friends.’ So although I’m still in touch … watching, reading and listening, I’m not concerned with what negative people say more than I am with what positive people don’t.”
T.I. revealed this week that No Mercy (formerly called King Uncaged) will hit stores on December 7. The rapper’s seventh album and first release since 2008’s double-platinum Paper Trail features guest spots from Kanye West, Eminem, Chris Brown, The-Dream and Christina Aguilera. The disc also includes production from such superstar knob twiddlers as Dr. Luke (“Magic,” “Right Round”), Danja (“My Love,” “Knock You Down”) and Jim Jonsin (“Whatever You Like,” “Lollipop”).
“This album represents some of my best work inspired by my most recent best and worst life experiences,” Tip said in an earlier message on his site. “They say adversity brings forth inspiration so y’all can imagine how inspired I’ve been during the recording process for this album. I’ve been taking stock of myself and digesting everyone’s comments and criticisms. Now it’s my turn to express myself and take you into my mind. The real won’t hate and the truth won’t wait! If God is with me who can be against me.”
What do you think of T.I. and Chris Brown’s new video? Share your thoughts in the comments.