NEW YORK — Apologies to Ol' Dirty Bastard and Trick Daddy, but T.I. might be the rapper who most loves the kids.
"My children," [artist id="1225081"]Tip[/artist] told a roomful of media Monday evening (February 2) when asked what he would miss most next month after he enters prison. The King of the South was in NYC to promote his new MTV reality show, "Road to Redemption," which debuts February 10. The eight-episode arc will follow the recording star as he honors probation commitments, promotes Paper Trail, and prepares to do a year in jail.
The Atlanta lyricist is scheduled to do a prison stint following his arrest on federal gun charges stemming from an incident during the 2007 BET Hip-Hop Awards weekend.
Tip was under house arrest during his arraignment and sentencing. After a judge ordered the rapper to jail, Tip gave a heartfelt speech during a press conference. The show's title is, in part, from his words that day.
"I'm proud of ['Road to Redemption']," he told MTV News before Monday's screening at the Norwood. "We worked hard. It started in my house while I was in house arrest just as an idea. We didn't even know if I would leave my house to be able to do it. It just manifested, and I'm proud of it."
In the premiere episode, T.I. offers to tell "the whole story," alluding to the reason why he attempted to purchase such heavy artillery in the first place. In a confessional-style testimony, Tip recalls the 2006 shooting death of his best friend and assistant Philant Johnson. Prior to Johnson's murder, T.I. had a history with guns, but his desire for firearms subdued as he gained success.
"The one time I needed [a gun], I didn't have one," he said during the show's opening minutes. He blamed his anger over Johnson's death and subsequent paranoia for creating a "train of thought" that led him to illegally attempt to buy guns.
Throughout "Road to Redemption," Tip is challenged with changing the lives of seven kids. They range from a number of cases, including a high school dropout-turned-drug dealer. "We're gonna help him whether he wants it or not," the rapper said in the segment before being introduced to the teen and opening up about his own tribulations.
T.I. said the show features a number of scenarios, only one of which is him preparing to be away from his family and the spotlight while behind bars.
"You'll see all the things that go into what I do," Tip told MTV News. "The work I put in to maintain this level of success and stardom. ... You see me deal with kids in a way that may surprise you.
"The sky can be the limit," he added later. "All you have to be willing to do is accept it."