T.I. has had a lot of time to do some soul searching after enduring nearly a year of incarceration due to a parole violation last year. And after being released from custody last week, the rapper recently gave his first post-prison interview and explained that he’s through with his glossy T.I. persona, and he doesn’t owe any explanations to anyone but his family.
According to HipHopDX, while talking in detail about his new change to Atlanta radio station V-103, T.I. explained that prior to his arrest, he’d become so concerned with keeping up a successful image and meeting other people’s expectations of himself that he began to lose sight of the people who originally loved the man behind the mic.
“When I went through everything I was going through, [I became] the new, sophisticated, Paper Trail, upper echelon T.I.,” he said. “All of those people [who liked this new T.I.] were the ones quickest to give me their back pockets to kiss. The ones who really stayed down with me was them Bankhead natives. The ones who supported them first two albums. So I feel like I’ma stay down with who stayed down with me.”
Though T.I., who’s experienced legal drama several times over the last few years, is aware that many fans are disappointed in criminal actions, he explains that he’s not required to explain himself to anyone but those most affected by his actions — his family.
“I owe that to myself. I really don’t owe anyone any explanation. I think I had to grow to that point. I can’t live for y’all. Y’all like my music and I appreciate that. Y’all like me as a person and I appreciate that wholeheartedly. However, I don’t owe all these explanations to all these different people I don’t even know. If you have disagreements with the way I move, with the way I operate, that’s fine, you’re entitled to it. But at the end of the day, I got to live my life for these people. For my family, for my children, and I’m going to do what’s best for them. You don’t have to believe me. And I can’t make you believe me. There’s nothing I can say to make you believe me. But I got to live my life for [my family].”
Despite his intention to return to his Bankhead days, T.I. has clearly grown as a person following his prison stint, displaying maturity and restraint at a recent party where he diffused a potential altercation between Diddy and a club patron.
Though fans will undoubtedly appreciate seeing the return of a familiar face, it’s good to know that T.I. is learning to bridge the gap between his humble past and, hopefully, his future as a wiser man. –nicholas robinson