Finally, a battle that goes back to the roots of the battle
– a title. T.I. called himself, “The King of the South,” and
all across the southern states, MC’s took offense. Most notably, Houston’s
Lil’ Flip stood up.
In the last six months, T.I. returned from a bid, to reclaim
his throne. In doing so, he and Flip have come toe to toe, running the rumor
mill extra hard. The hearsay level is huge, and what might be beef, might also
be a complete misunderstanding.
Whatever the case, AllHipHop wanted to pick our boy T.I.’s
brain. As his album stacks up sales, and in between his charities, we let T.I.
reveal his perspective on just how the whole thing started.
AllHipHop.com: You in the news homie, has it had any kind of
effect on you?
T.I.: I will say man I couldn’t have paid for this kind
of publicity, this kind of promotion. So in this industry, I’ve been told
by many people over and over again man, [that] all publicity is good publicity
and all press is good press. When Peter Jennings from News Tonight called me,
“One of the biggest rappers in the world,” it gotta be kinda positive.
He used [it] in the midst of negativity.
AllHipHop.com: I was looking at CNN Friday and they had the
story about you doing an unauthorized video and the tried to make it look negative,
but you know how they do, you wanna tell me about that?
T.I.: To make a long story short, I went to shoot some footage
in a Florida County Jail, one of the jails I had been in for weeks from these
past few months, when I’ve been away from the scene. I went to shoot a
video and at the same time I was shooting the video, an inmate escaped, so you
know, that was a pretty big deal.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think it would have been a major issue
her maybe not got escaped from there?
T.I.: It wouldn’t have been a major issue.
AllHipHop.com: Was it hard for you to get clearance to do that?
T.I.: It wasn’t necessarily hard, it was just a matter
of asking someone and them asking someone an waiting on them to [approve] and
that was that.
AllHipHop.com: So is it a video that we are going to see?
T.I.: It was actually an introduction to my show at Birthday
Bash, which was the big major concert by one of the major radio stations in
Atlanta, 107.9, but you know deputies, sheriffs and what not where kinda guarding
the teleprompter and keeping me from playing it so it never got shown. But you
know I’m not gonna let it go to waste, I got everybody from the news media,
even Lyor Cohen [CEO of Warner Music, TI's parent label] wants to see it.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah I was hoping I would get a chance to see
that there, because I heard some other things went down where you kinda barked
at your boy Flip from Houston. What’s really good with that?
T.I.: Yeah, me and that guy have an issue. Well, I have an issue
with him. He steady tryna’ say he ain’t got an issues with me. Well
then, I created an issue then if that’s how they wanna put it. I created
one because while I was away, he was in Atlanta doing shows in several different
venues man. [There] was one in Music Midtown, which is the concert that Z103,
the other radio station in Atlanta got. In the middle of the shows, he would
ask the people, “Who’s the king of the South?” and when my
names mentioned he would tell them, “Well yeah, well tell that n*gga T.I,.
I wrote this song for him and tell him I said game over,” and he do his
song [Game Over] and this is while I’m locked up. I suppose he thought
I was gonna be gone for a lengthy period of time and he wouldn’t have
to see me and whatnot. And the n*gga just felt comfortable in my absence. So
now that I’m back and out, the n*gga coping deuces talking ‘bout
what he ain’t say and what he ain’t do, [saying how] he ain’t
got no problem with me and it’s all a lie,’ man. I mean, he really insulted
my intelligence ‘cause I know better. There were several people at all
three events that saw what went on, not to mention that Music Midtown had him
on tape. And at the show on prime time, he was tryna holla at some girls, who
actually know me personally and he told them, “I run Atlanta, this my
city. I’mma shut that n*gga T.I. down and just watch when I get onstage.”
You know saying all that hating s**t and all while I’m locked up. I ain’t
even know that n*gga. I ain’t never had no dealings with the n*gga’s
projects. It’s a total contradiction. If you recall, he was just on the
cover of The Source with J-Kwon, and the Young Gunz, and Cassidy and initially,
before I turned myself in, I did a photoshoot for the cover, it was just me,
him, and the Young Gunz. And so I guess they wanted to reshoot the cover while
I got locked up and I couldn’t make it so they had Cassidy and J-Kwon
to fill in. And on the n*gga’s remix, the n*gga say, “You know you
mad cause I’m on the cover of The Source.” And in Houston on the
radio, on the morning show mind you, he said he ain’t say nothing about
me, he ain’t got no problem with me, but he telling them, “Yeah,
I had that n*gga taken off the cover of The Source.” Now why would you
have them take me off the cover of The Source then you wanna drop a song hating
on me behind my back? Why would you do that, how is that relevant? So the n*gga
really throwing rocks and hiding his hands. And he sending his p**sy and all
kinds of other people, to tell me, “Flip ain’t got no problem with
you man. Flip like you man, this that and the other.” Damn that! You can’t
squash no issue for him man, this man gonna have to come and see me. No disrespect
to his dad, his dad a cool cat, I spoke to him for a long time. And the n*gga’s
DJ, tried to holla at me at birthday bash, which is just another insult to my
intelligence for real. Because I feel like I know the n*gga, but can’t
no other man speak for you dog? You been in my city badmouthing me, so how you
figure that somebody else could speak for you. Yeah so I called the n*gga out
on the birthday bash, I said eh man, “Bring your ass out here and tell
the people what you been saying.”
AllHipHop.com: Was he there? Your a very intelligent guy. How
would you go about handling this situation if it comes to ya’ll crossing
paths or if he step up to you as a man?
T.I.: I’mma tell you like this homie, like for real, I
would accept it more if the man was like, “Yeah man, I said that man I
was trippin’, my bad.” I would accept that more than the n*gga lying
to me, insulting my intelligence, telling me he didn’t say this and didn’t
say that and even more trying to make it seem like I’m just flying off
the handle for nothing. So now when I see him, I’mma have a whole ‘nother
outlook and I’mma be in another frame of mind. He better be very selective
with his conversation ‘cause any wrong word and any wrong move will cause
an altercation. I mean all in all, I definitely wouldn’t want it to come
to that. I wouldn’t want it to be the reason why there is beef amongst
the Hip-Hop community. I don’t wanna be a part of that, but I mean man,
like for real – everything I did, everything I’ve been involved in has
been minor, me and DTP that was minor, me and [Luda]‘Cris, that’s
minor. I heard they had a song coming out, but for real though they ain’t
my problem, they ain’t never really done nothing to me dog. I ain’t
trippin’ on that. Even if they do come out with a song. Aiight cool man,
do your song, get it out of your system. Aiight cool, but unless we ‘finna
go meet somewhere and fight and get it over with, then I don’t see no
reason to go keep going back and forth. I don’t see no reason to keep
going back from he said this about me, I’mma say this about him, he said
this about me, I’mma say this about him. If we got a problem with one
another, we need to meet somewhere and fight and I’m down to do that.
But if that’s not the way it’s gonna be, then we might as well be
respectful and just respect one another’s mind and just let it be.
AllHipHop.com: So you ain’t with that back and forth on the records and
T.I.: Don’t get me wrong. Now in the past, I have done
that, but like you know, within the city [of Atlanta] man, it just ain’t
necessary. ‘Cause we see each other too many times, you know what I’m
saying. Too many times I see them and too many times they see me. The reason
why it never got physical and it never got violent with me, is because they
had never posed no physical harm to me, they had never posed no threat. It wasn’t
never no reason. I never had any justification to pose any kind of violent attempts
on them. So it wouldn’t be necessary, it wasn’t worth it, so it
stayed pretty much professional for the most part.
AllHipHop.com: So I understand that you are highly respected
in the South for your rap skills, and there’s a lot of people in the south
that may wanna call themselves the “King of the South” and I’m
sure this is where all the little spitting is coming from. How do you figure
you’re the King?
T.I.: Just like you said man, I only respect it, I’m respected,
first and foremost, just for my personality and my lifestyle and just for me
keeping it real and being the kinda n*gga that I am. I’mma real n*gga.
You ask me a question, I’mma tell you the truth; you ask my opinion, I’mma
tell you how I feel. On the real, if all these n*ggas thought they was the “King
of the South,” they would have said it before me.