By Rahman Dukes
Atlanta's self-proclaimed King of the South T.I. was holed up in Manhattan's esteemed S.I.R. Studio on Wednesday, readying himself for a show at the Hammerstein Ballroom that evening and the bigger stage at “Saturday Night Live” days later.
Clad in a mesh, black Gucci hat with red-and-green trim and his signature Akoo clothing line (loved the College jacket), Tip was bouncing back and forth between the rehearsal room, which included a host of young kids, and the studio's lobby, where label rep Mike Kaiser stood feverishly working his Blackberry to regulate T.I.'s schedule for the week.
Check out our clip of him with his live band after the jump!
In the rehearsal room, young Clifford was going over his hit "Whatever You Like" with a full live band and assisted by the sounds of my homey, mixtape kingpin DJ Drama. The kids were scheduled to participate in some capacity, but instead, they stood frozen, watching the rapper in a daze.
Tip took a break and came directly over to the MTV News team. "What up, my man," he said excitedly my colleagues Shaheem Reid and Luther Burke, our intern and me. Then it was back to business.
"Finito!" T.I. said at last, capping the rehearsal.