Atlanta rapper, T.I. has had a rough couple of years, but now has his criminal past in his rear view mirror.
However, T.I. still recalls the events the led to his back-to-back year long sentences. In Billboard Magazine, in a cover story, the rapper and father acknowledges some of the celebrities who were there offering him support throughout his imprisonment. One of those people was actor, Will Smith, who went the extra mile to help.
“Of course, Em[inem]. He was extremely supportive and inspirational during that time,” Tip said. “Busta Rhymes,Puffy, Lyor Cohen, Russell Simmons, Nelly, David Banner, Charlie Mack, Will Smith. Will actually went as far as getting in touch with [attorney general] Eric Holder and the Obama administration trying to see if we could get some kind of release. He was very politely told that was not possible [laughs].
“It was the last time I was going back, and I was going to court for my probation violation. He was in deep discussions about it. And he’s been a huge contributor to the administration, and I mean not just in finances, I’m talking about time and other kinds of efforts, so it ain’t like his words were falling on deaf ears. But I understood. I didn’t even expect no help. I didn’t expect nobody to be able to help me. I knew I made my bed and I knew I had to lay in it.”
T.I. has been very busy this year and out of trouble since his release. He has been busy with several projects including a reality show focused on his family, wrote two novels, has been in the studio and has recorded over 100 songs for his approaching album Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, and a makeover of his image.
One area that took a big hit during his time behind bars was his endorsement game. Now that he’s back on the scene, companies are beginning to take notice of his selling ability.
“A lot of people are open to it,” he said. “Everyone knows that America has a short-term memory and they’re very forgetful and forgiving. I mean, I haven’t even went out and checked. Don’t get me wrong. When it’s time to sponsor events for us, we don’t have a shortage of takers. A lot of people want to be associated with our brand to create awareness of their brand, and they recognize our relevance and our influence on the marketplace.”
“Now as far as people calling to make me the face of their brand, there has been nothing that I have taken seriously as of yet. People have inquired about building brands around my face and about building brand-new brands from scratch more so than associating me to an existing brand, with the exception of the Atlanta Hawks. We’ve had this very, very positive working relationship with the Atlanta Hawks for quite some time, and just recently they called me to broadcast two quarters of the Hawks game when they played the Miami Heat for Fox Sports South, and I had fun. They would like to further the relationship and see how we could do more together.”
Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head hits the streets Dec. 18.