Exclusive – T.I. may be the charismatic host of his own expediTIously podcast, but every once in awhile he’ll sit down for an interview where he’s answering the questions. During a recent Zoom conversation with HipHopDX, the Hustle Gang CEO touched on a myriad of topics, including his marriage to Tameka “Tiny” Harris and intuitively sharp business acumen.
Of course, being the illustrious Southern rapper he is, Tip also talked about his latest album The L.I.B.R.A. before the topic turned to “Drive Slow,” his 2005 collaboration with Kanye West and Paul Wall. The song appeared on both Wall’s album The People Champ and Kanye’s Late Registration, which Wall told DX shocked him at the time considering it’s rare the original artist will allow a song to go on a contributors’ record.
Tip, on the other hand, was more surprised at the length of the song and admitted he’s never even heard his verse in public.
“Kanye called and asked me to get on it,” Tip recalls. “He said he needed a verse for it. And the strange part about it, right, the song was already five, six minutes long. I was like, ‘Ye, what you want me to do here? He’s like, ‘Man, don’t worry about it, I just need you to do a verse.’ I was like, ‘Alright, brother.’ So I did a verse for him, then he shot the video.
“I was like, ‘What are you going to do with this mini movie? This is a short film.’ Know what I’m saying? That was my first time working with [director] Hype Williams and I love the record. I didn’t hear it much played in its entirety. I’ve never heard anywhere — any club, any radio station — the whole thing played from start to finish and I’m the last the verse [laughs].”
Tip likened it to Big Sean’s 2013 single “Control” featuring Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica, which clocks in at over seven minutes.
“That’s like what I always say with Kendrick’s ‘Control,’” he adds. “Nobody’s heard Jay Electronica’s verse yet. I have not heard his verse yet [laughs].”
Fast-forward to 2020 and things are drastically different — and not just because of the raging COVID-19 pandemic and non-existent concert industry. Kanye has evolved into somewhat of a spectacle, especially following his 2020 bid for president and outrageous online behavior. But despite Ye’s off-kilter persona, Tip is always going to call Kanye a friend.
“Ye, I’m going to always appreciate his contributions to the culture and I’m going to always have love for him,” he says. “I look at him like a brother that’s just tripping. I’m not going to waste much time or energy trying to convince you to turn it around, to see it a different way. I’m just going to sit back and I’m going to continue to love you from a distance and just say you’re tripping.”
Tip did admit he agreed with Kanye’s Twitter rants about major record labels, which kicked off in September. During his tirade, he demanded all artists should own their masters.
“I do think he has a very, very, very, very valid point on how the record industry,” he says. “I agree that if he asked Universal how much for his masters and how much to buy him out of whatever contract he’s in, and they’re not even giving him a number, I think that’s an excuse. Why would they not tell him? Even if it’s a $100 million dollars.
“‘Well, looking at what your catalog generates and looking at what we look to make from here to whatever time this contract expires, let’s call it $125 million.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, let me give you the $125 million.’ Then they need to let that man up out that contract, even with his political views, I don’t believe that the equity of his art should be held hostage like that.”
While the chatter around Kanye’s contracts has died down for now, T.I. is still on a roll with his expediTIously podcast. Speaking to Young Thug on this week’s episode, Thugger confirmed he once asked T.I. for a $1 million loan and swore he “had a plan.”
Check out the clip below.
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