A voice for the voiceless: How T.I. became hip-hop’s hope for the future
In the words of Elliot Wilson to T.I. during his Rap Radar interview on Tidal, “You have made yourself this person that is omnipresent to our culture.”
Wilson’s statement is unquestionably the truest words ever put together in a sentence. Still, it was no easy feat for the originator of trap music to get to where he is today. The wisdom T.I. has gained over the past two decades proves just that.
Can you remember the days when T.I. was on the Road to Redemption back in 2009? The show focused on the Atlanta rapper wanting to encourage the youth that there is another way out of the hood besides a life of crime.
Although T.I. was facing a year and one day for weapons charges he was able to take a negative experience and turn it into a positive one. The experience made the rapper realize that he is a “leader of a generation” and not just a celebrity and entertainer.
A very humbling moment for T.I. and he became the Moses of hip-hop overnight. Time and time again he has encouraged us to take a stand for what we believe as a culture is right.
Back in July 2008, T.I. spoke to a group of youngins at Washington D.C. for the “Respect My Vote” campaign by the Hip Hop Caucus. A memorable quote from the lecture,
“It is very important that we accept responsibility as leaders in this country. And the sooner we do that, the sooner we will see this country’s ways represent us. Right now, we might look at politics and say, ‘well, you know, politics don’t really represent me.’ That’s because there’s not enough of us involved. The more of us that get involved, the more this country’s ways will represent us…”
Fast-forwarding to 2016, T.I. put out his tenth studio album, Us or Else: Letter to the System. The album was a follow to a double EP and served “as a warning to black Americans who find themselves labeled social disruptors for simply trying to live their lives harmoniously,” as PitchFork beautifully phrased it.
With the album release also came a 15-minute short film that debuted on BET and gorgeously tackled the issue of American police brutality. If you haven’t seen it, we suggest you become woke below. You should know T.I. ain’t shook of police either, you know what I’m sayin’.
T.I. is straight up the voice of our people. Recently the “Trap King” was seen at an Atlanta church service and march in honor of the late Dr. King. The events were in honor of his death.
At the march, were thousands of people standing alongside the late Dr. King’s relatives including his daughter Rev. Bernice King and his son Martin Luther King III, according to the AP.
T.I. called the events “a blessing” and expressed how important it was for him to attend. He said that Dr. King “blazed a trail for us to have liberty and freedom, and all the luxuries we enjoy today.” True!
We have to guess this is why T.I. had the courage to boycott one of Atlanta’s biggest restaurant chains back in October with Wacka Flocka’s mama Deb Antney.
Houston’s refused to service a large party of African Americans as they watched another large party of Caucasians walk to their seats comfortably. FOH, with that Jim Crow shit, meng.
Recently the boycott was lifted as the racist restaurant assured T.I. there will be no discrimination in seating based on a customer’s skin color or dress code, according to TMZ.
Nowadays the southern prophet is focusing on his new competition series The Grand Hustle, which he plans to debut July 19 at 10 pm on BET.
According to Billboard, “the show will focus on 16 aspiring hustlers competing to see if they have what it takes to earn the coveted, six-figure position at T.I’s Grand Hustle empire.” There will be a whole lot to watch as there will be hustlers from all walks of life and 12 hour long episodes.
T.I. said to Billboard,
“It doesn’t matter if you got your hustle at Harvard or the hood, The Grand Hustle is about how you handle business and what you can do for the brand so I wanted to create a show that offers an equal playing field.”
Besides that, T.I. has his hands tied trying to get his homie Kanye West out of the Sunken Place. Boy, if you don’t stop playing with us and take that MAGA hat off!
Kanye gives us a behind the scenes look on the making of “Ye vs. the People”
— Def Jam Recordings (@defjam) May 1, 2018