Exclusive - T.I. Extended Interview

September 12, 2016 - T.I. 09/12/2016 Views: 17,831

Rapper T.I. discusses his reality show "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle" and weighs in on the rising tensions between police and the African-American community. (7:39)

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Please welcome TIP Harris!

(applause and cheering)

-Welcome to the show, sir.-Thank you for having me.

Welcome to the show. Thank youvery much for being here, man.

-Thank you so much.-Where's my vodka and pizza?


There's no... there's no fire.

You got to have a cease firefor the vodka and the pizza.

Well, that-that can be arranged.I can...

-Is that a threat?-That's all I need to do?

-Did you just threaten...?-(laughter)

No, we got...we got the pizza backstage.

The vodka's already in your cup.

-You can't taste it, clearly.-Right on.

Uh, welcome to the show, man.

Thank you very muchfor being here.

I know. Thanks for having me.

Yeah. Thank you very muchfor being here.

A very successful show you have,

uh, you know, The Family Hustle.

-Um, I've always wantedto know one thing. -Mm-hmm.

When you're makinga reality show,

how normal are youactually being?

Do you forget that the camerasare there at some point?

I mean, we're doing things

that we would normally doas a family.

Um, the cameras just happento be there to-to catch it.

You know, there are some thingsthat we do that...

They aren't... It really isn'tentertaining, so the cameras...

You know,there's no need for that.

-Oh, so if you guys are, like,chilling... -Yeah. Yes.

-You know, thosenon-conversations. -Right.

Just sitting there in awkwardsilence eating and watching TV.

Like, that's not reallyinteresting.

-I would watch that.-You would?

Yeah. I think they shouldmake a show of all...

just like the-the partsthat have been cut out

-of reality shows.-Yeah.

The cutting room floor.

The Eating Channel,and we just watch people...


We just watch people eat.

That was-- that was a fun clipas well,

because, uh, for people whodon't know this about you,

-you have, is it seven children?-Yes.

-Seven. I do.-Seven, seven children.

And so, that is...

-That is...-(laughing)

-I love the smile-- that's...-(laughing)

And so in-in that clip, uh,

that's-that's your daughter,Heiress.

-Yeah.-Who is, uh...

That's... I got to say,that's a, a slightly mean name

-Why do you say?-to give your daughter.

Because you call her Heiress,

and then the other six kidsare going,

"So, what are we?"

See, no, because I have, uh,

my oldest son is Messiah.

Uh, I have... my tw...

Which doesn't mean you get themoney, but carry on.

-My-my 12-year-old...-(laughing)

-My 12-year-old is King.-Uh-huh.

Still no money, but carry on.

My eight-year-old is Major.


I think that Heiress,is, you know,

she-she had pretty big shoesto fill

-as far as her namewas concerned, so. -Yeah.

We had the bar set pretty highup there.

So you were like,"You will inherit everything."

And Major was like, "Really?That's all I got, Major?"

Well, you know it has to passthrough them

before it makes its way to her.

-That makes sense,that makes sense. -You know?

So, um,you've got a fantastic career,

-you know,-Thank you.

Grammys, uh, you know,hits all over the world.

Uh, and now you've come outwith a new album.

I saw the music video that you,that you just put out,

and, uh, it was, it was,it was quite interesting.

Quite controversial, as well.

You're not known to be esp...

like a particularlypolitical person.

-No.-You've always said your piece,

-but you're not a politicalperson. -Right.

Why did you make the videothat you made?

Well, you know,it was almost, uh,

incoherent, uh, over the summer,

all of the travestiesthat took place in this country.

Uh, it kind of...

I-I felt compelledto say something, do something.

Uh, and-and just out of a lackof other things to do,

I just took to the studioand started speaking my mind.

-And it became a projectout of nowhere. -Yeah.

So, uh, I just really wantto create dialogue, man,

that will,that will promote change.

Well, we-we actuallygot the, uh, the video here.

-Let's-let's look at a pieceof the video. -Sure.

♪ Do that to a grown man,drop where you stand ♪

♪ Tell my grandmago on with all that prayin' ♪

♪ If it's God and hein the sky, he looking down ♪

♪ He understand I'm just a manand I'm wrong for revenge ♪

♪ But I don't get 'em it's liketellin' him to gon' kill again ♪

♪ Keep ... around,it gon' be on in a minute ♪

♪ But we livin' in a war zone

♪ Guess you don't noticewhen you livin' in it ♪

♪ Like every weekendit's a man down ♪

♪ Ain't got no pity for theinnocent so I'm-a represent it ♪

♪ Dedicated, tell 'em

-♪ Hands up, can't breathe -♪ What, uh ♪

♪ Hands up, can't breathe...

Now, that's a...a piece of, uh, "Warzone."

-Mm-hmm. -That's some strongimagery there because,

-basically, the whole videois... -Mm-hmm.

-switching roles.-Sure.

You have, uh, a black policeman

and you have,you know, a white kid

-being mistaken and being shot.-Mm-hmm.

You have a black policeman

and you have, uh, you know,

white people who are shot down

-or-or strangled in the streets.-Sure.

That's-that's a powerfulstatement to make.

Is-is that the dialogueyou want people to have?

Well, absolutely.I wanted them to take notice.

As disturbingas these images may be,

uh, to watch on your television,

just remember these arefictional. You know?

These thingsactually happened to people.

These-these same events

took the lives of fathers, sons,

brothers, uncles, sisters--

like, these thingsactually happened to us.

So as disturbingas it may be for you

to watch it on television,imagine how,

uh, how-how uncomfortable it is

for us to live through itin reality.

It-it really is a strongstatement. I, um...

I know, as well, you know,

people are talking aboutdialogue in America right now.

A lot of peopleare getting involved

-who-who weren't involvedbefore. -Right?

You know, you-you haveKaepernick,

who started this wholediscussion, the NFL,

you see more and moreplayers joining in.

-You see artists gettinginvolved. -Sure.

You see, uh, you know,sportsmen, all-all...

-A whole wide range of peoplegetting involved. -Mm-hmm.

Uh, what's also greatis the dialogue

that you guys have started.

Because, um, I saw you've gotthe Many Rivers, uh,

-movement that's starting up...-Yes, Many Rivers to Cross.

-Absolutely. Yeah. -...with,you know, with Harry Belafonte.

And Dave Matthewsis playing with you as well.

Was that, like, a specificallyplanned thing? You go,

-"Bring T.I. and Dave Matthews-John Legend as well.

-and then we fix the world."-You know, as-as much

as I would like to think so,that... not-not so much.

It just... I mean, you know,we just all... we all have

different approachesto, uh, our art,

-uh, uh, entertainment.-Yeah.

We all have differentpolitical views. We all have...

you know,come from different places

and all walks of the earth.But what we have in common

is that we all know and believe

that something has to be done

to promote respect, justice,and equality in this nation

for us to move forwardand continue to be as prosperous

-as we have been.-Now, there's-there's always

a tough questionthat gets thrown.

-I mean, I'm-I'ma huge hip-hop fan. -Okay.

And then you get peoplewho will say,

"I hear you guys sayingyou want justice.

"I hear, oh, hip-hop starsand fans saying

-"that this is not right.-Mm-hmm.

"But then, in hip-hop,people are talking about guns.

-"People are talkingabout shooting. -Sure.

People are saying things like,'(bleep) the police.'"

-Absolutely. -And they go,like, "How is this helping

the dialogue?"As a hip-hop artist,

-how do you reply to that?-Well, first of all, I think

that people need to takeinto consideration

that hip-hop, traditionally,has always been a reflection

of the environmentthe artist had to endure

before he made itto where he was.

So if you want to changethe content of the music,

change the environmentof the artist,

and he won't havesuch negative things to say.

(cheering and applause)

I can tell you,when I was asked that question,

I didn't have as eloquentan answer.

-I will now direct themto this video, man. -Right on.

Thank you so much for your time.Thank you for being here,

-brother. Really appreciate it.-I appreciate it.