Few MCs can release seven albums and remain relevant — enter T.I.
Despite the rapper's penchant for trouble, Tip's been able to maintain a presence since 2001, when his barely noticed debut I'm Serious made way for his breakout follow-up LPsTrap Muzik, Urban Legend, King, T.I. vs. Tip and Paper Trail.
RapFix spoke to Tip's manager and Grand Hustle label partner Jason Geter on the eve of the Bankhead rapper's No Mercy album release, which hit shelves on Tuesday (December 7).
"This album was very unorthodox," said Geter. "We were recording in Los Angeles and that whole arrest thing happened in the process of making the album, so a lot of the songs began one way but then the album began to change and a lot of other songs came about."
No doubt tracks like the Chris Brown-assisted "Get Back Up" came as T.I. realized that he was heading back to jail. The MC is currently serving an 11-month sentence for violating his probation and this stint follows the MC's previous year away for his 2007 felony gun possession charge. Promoting an album is an exercise in itself, but the process is complicated when the artist isn't available for interviews or appearances.
"No Mercy comes out Tuesday, so Young Dro, The-Dream and Drake are going to '106 & Park' to represent for him," said Geter. "It's been pretty much all viral and obviously when we're doing stuff on television, it's hard because he's not really available. It really boils down to us trying to be creative and fortunately, we've got a lot of footage in the can filmed before he went in. We also did the VIBE cover, before he went in."
In the revealing interview, the MC admits his problem with prescription pills and seeks advice from Eminem, a recovering addict himself.
"I asked him how he knew he was an addict," said T.I. in VIBE. "Basically, if you put yourself in harm's way ... if you risk that, you've got to assume that there is something fundamentally wrong with your thought process."
Elsewhere Tip seems to be taking a page from Lil Wayne book, with five videos currently in rotation on various video channels. From the rapper's own clips including "Get Back Up" featuring Chris Brown, "Can't Help It" featuring Rocko and "No Mercy" featuring The-Dream, he also contributed to Killer Mike's "Ready Set Go," Young Dro's "Freeze Me" featuring T.I. and Gucci Mane.
"We shot them all in one period, except for Dro's 'Freeze Me.' That was already done, but the rest were literally shot in three or four days," said the Grand Hustle head. "We chopped it up with Zac Wolfe and the Motion Family. We used different directors, all local Atlanta though, and shot them."
Are you excited for T.I.'s No Mercy LP? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!