On the day the hip-hop nation lost one of its beloved and prolific megastars, another one has returned.
Just hours after Lil Wayne was sentenced to one year in prison on weapons charges,
"I ain't never let you down, I'mma shine on sight," Tip raps on the song. "Keep your mind on your grind and off of mine's, all right?/ Hard, I'mma ball on those squares, I flow/ A quarter million dollar cars everywhere I go ... No matter what they doin' they don't do it like me ... recognize I'm back."
Later in the first verse, Tip lays the fiery, brash delivery he's beloved for.
"You ain't got a pimp bone in your body," Tip chastises, throwing thunder at fraudulent MCs. "I can tell you ain't never bought a key or caught a body/ N---a probably just seen Wayne, Gucci Mane, me and Boosie all go to prison/ Now he flip his whole image/ N---a trippin'/ Listen, dude, for you that ain't in the cards." The song was helmed by new Grand Hustle producers the Trackslayerz, and is available for download at T.I.'s Web site.
An hour before the song hit the Internet, Tip held the conference call, for which he did not take questions but reflected on the song and announced his album's release date, according to audio of the call posted on DJ Judge Mental's Web site. There is a title for the LP, but he declined to reveal it.
"I appreciate the support and how hard I was going in during the brief hiatus," Tip said. "The support don't go unnoticed and I don't take it lightly. This marks a special day for us, because we putting out the first song off the album — not an official first single, just something to keep the streets warm. It's properly entitled 'I'm Back.' It's a lot of things that needed to be spoken on. In my absence, it was a lot of things that went down, a lot of matters that needed to be addressed. This was the greatest platform for me to do it. It was the first song I did when I came home. You get me fresh out the box going in. I'm sure you guys will enjoy it."
Tip spoke for a little over three minutes. He said that he should be traveling from city to city this summer.
"It ain't gonna be long before all this is behind me," he promised, referring to his prison sentence on weapons charges, which is expected to end within the next few weeks; he was released to a halfway house in December and last month made his first public appearance since heading to prison. "Middle of April, beginning of May. Y'all gonna start seeing me. Y'all already know, once again it's on. Like we always do this time."
The call ended with a final pledge of excellence from Tip.
"As long as there is air in my esophagus, champ, I'mma keep going," he said. "Nothing is gonna stop that. Nothing short of a 12 gauge is gonna stop me from doing what I do, champ. I just wanna say thank y'all and we gonna keep movin' on."