More than ever, emerging artists are forgoing major label deals (think: Chance the Rapper) in favor of independent careers, which allow them more freedom. And, T.I., who's been dropping blockbuster albums with the backing of huge labels for well over a decade is reveling in that newfound freedom.
After releasing his 2014 album Paperwork via Columbia Records, Tip officially became a free man, ending his previous contract with Atlantic Records. He tells MTV News that his recent EP Da' Nic -- a banger, by the way -- was birthed from that freedom.
Although the project is a prelude in his trilogy series that begun with Paperwork and will continue with his 10th album The Dime Trap, it came together more quickly than ever before.
"The idea to release an EP came September 2 and we released it on September 11. I could only have done that as an independent artist," he explained. "I don't like to procrastinate. I like to figure out what I'ma do and go do it before I get bored. If I sit around and just keep thinking about it...I'm bored."
"Corporate structure is about X's and O's and dollars and cent," he continued. "So if you take something that derives from a sincere feeling and a passionate origin and then you try to put it into this system of protocols and procures, it doesn't fit. Either you break the machine that you're trying to put it into, or you damage the form of the art that you're trying to present."
Well, we're thankful that there will be no damaged art coming from Tip moving forward.
He also elaborated on his trilogy, breaking it down like this:
"Paperwork was the artsy blend of musical tones [incorporating] soulful R&B -- a Blueprint–ish approach to an album. Da' Nic and The Dime Trap [will be] unadulterated trap music and [the third album] will be my version of 808s and Heartbreak."
Word? I'll be tuned in for that.
On The Dime Trap, Tip plans to link with "young, hungry, talented producers that are making headway in the game" like Metro Boomin, Mike Will Made It, 808 Mafia and Zaytoven.
Also, he hates being called T.I. -- and you'll notice that Da' Nic was specifically billed as a "Tip" project.
"This is a perfect time to be able to call myself what I've always been known as," he revealed. "Being called T.I. is very weird. It's kinda awkward to be famous for a name that you’ve never been called before in your life. If you want me to know that you don’t know me, call me T.I. It’s the weirdest most awkward thing.
Noted. Never mind that I called him T.I. at the beginning of this article.