Speedboats are whizzing through the water in this upper-upscale Atlanta community, but their passengers have to acknowledge the King of the South. Passersby yell, "Heeeeeeeeyyyyyy!" or "T.I., what's up?" as they spot Tip, sitting on his deck overlooking the lake by his house. And you thought T.I. would be the noisy neighbor, not the other way around.
"T.I. ain't making no noise," the calm King said with a smile.
T.I. gave us a preview of some of the tracks from his Paper Trail album last week, and without exaggeration, we can tell you the material was excellent. The project really has the potential to be his best since Urban Legend. Look out for a heater he has called "I'm Illy."
Last week, while Tip was celebrating the birth of his sixth son, Major, his nemesis Shawty Lo was getting at him on the Internet. Shawty showed the world Tip's high school picture from what he claimed to be a place of learning outside of Bankhead, Georgia. But the CEO of Grand Hustle Entertainment continues to laugh off L.O.'s jabs.
"I never looked to gain acknowledgement or recognition by mentioning another person's name," he said, explaining that he sees his and Lo's career paths as being totally different. "If it was an issue between me and another person, it was an issue between me and another person. It wasn't a publicity stunt or marketing tool."
Tip reiterated that a back and forth with another rapper is the last thing on his list of priorities.
"That's nowhere near my train of thought right now," he explained. "Back when that was my train of thought, we didn't have those problems. Since it's well known that that's not what I'm on right now, then it's easy to make those comments or take that approach."
When asked if he considered Shawty competition, Tip laughed loudly.
"I'm sorry," he said. "Compa-who? Man, that was funny! Nah, man. [Lo going at me], it's a cry for attention, dog. At the end of the day, Units in the City in stores right now! Go get it! That's what's that's for. I never felt I was in a position where if this person don't mention my name, I will just die. I went for mine and made people say my name. That's the separation [between me and him]."
Tip is also distancing himself from a lot of other MCs by fostering his talent for making beats. He's been in the lab lately making tracks for the Bawwwssse.
"I was in the Grand Hustle studio. We sat down. [Tip] told me he wanted to produce five records for me," Rick Ross said of his work on his next LP, Deeper Than Rap (due at the end of 2008). "I was like, 'Wow. It's all good.' We sat down, and he played some beats for me. It was one of those special moments, 'cause I got so much respect for him as an artist, as a lyricist, as a CEO. Now he reeled me in as a producer. Real talk. I'm not saying he's gonna sell them [beats] to everybody, but he laced me."T.I. is humble about his turn as Track Master. "It's absolutely an honor and a pleasure people would even consider allowing me to produce for them," he said. "I take it very seriously. I enjoy it a lot. it brings me outside my comfort zone. It makes me sharper. With rapping, I feel I can do anything. With producing, I'm real meticulous."
Tip and his co-producers like to sit down with his collaborators in the studio, rather than just sending beat CDs. He might also throw a hook on an instrumental as well.
"It kinda depends on the artist," he said of his sound. "We can get real pretty, real clean. I think most of our music, they say, sounds like it has real broad sound to it. When you hear 'T.I.'s making a beat,' and you hear what I do, you don't really get what you're expecting. You don't get the trap music. For some reason, we concentrate real hard on that. The things we do, it sounds like somebody who's been doing music for a minute is supposed to be on there. Not everybody can just pull off the things I do."
Tip has just added onto his Grand Hustle roster with upcoming MCs Young L.A. (Tip and Dro appear on L.A.'s new record "Ain't I") and B.O.B., whom we all know from
"Haters" (we see you, T.J.!).
Ah, I fixed the videos Mods. I keep laughing at his laugh in the first video. And Shawty Lo needs to