When T.I. first ventured out to get an Eminem verse on "Touchdown" for 2007's T.I. vs. T.I.P., the King of the South thought the best-case scenario would be that he'd get 16 bars of fire and a hit record. The ATL native gained much more than that while working with Marshall Mathers: a friendship.
"I reached out to Em," Tip explained to MTV News. "My management reached out to his management, just in hopes of getting him on a record. Em personally reached out to me, and we been speaking ever since, especially since I went through my situation [with having to go to prison]. [He would] just kinda remind me that 'I've been through dark period in my life too. You're gonna make it. You're one of the ones we need, so you're gonna make it. Stand tall and walk the walk.' He just made it a point to always reassure me of the spot that I hold in this thing that we got called hip-hop. It was incredibly helpful. It was incredibly noble of him, in my eyes, to even take the time out to reach out to me."
Tip says while he being prosecuted and sentenced for illegally attempting to purchase firearms, Eminem would call him once every two weeks.
"We continue to stay in touch," Tip said. "He wrote me since I was in the joint. We've spoken several time since I've been back home. We maintain a healthy relationship."
Just like Tip has overcome severe circumstances with his conviction, Eminem overcame a drug addiction that almost resulted in a fatal overdose.
"Adversity brings strength," T.I. said. "No matter where the adversity comes from, you become a better person if you are able to channel that strength in a positive way. If you are able to take that experience and learn from it, and you're willing to grow from it, accept the part you've played in it and move forward, I think you're a better person. That's something that I can see he's experienced that I've experienced, that we both share in common."
T.I. and Eminem have agreed to record a song for Tip's August 17 LP King Uncaged.
Which of T.I.'s collaborations are you most looking forward to hearing? Share your thoughts in the comments.