EXCLUSIVE: T.I on Being Hip Hop's Cliff Huxtable
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in trouble, and it’s a soundtrack for people out there who are still doing things that can get them in trouble. It’s just something about danger and something about hazardous circumstances and living on the edge that just—it pumps your adrenaline and it provides a certain level of excitement. So to bottle that up and put that in music is just an exciting moment, and that’s what people grew to love about T.I. Just because I changed my life, I don’t want to lose that excitement.

EBONY.COM: So has working on this album been therapeutic?

T.I:  I guess so, man. See, before when I was talking about these things, I was doing ‘em. You know? And right now, I remember I used to do ‘em, but I’m not doing a fraction of these things. You know? But the music is still fun. It feels good to -- at least -- throw caution to the wind and just live in the moment. Even if you’re not going to do it for real.  It’s just like if you having a hard day at work and you got into it with your boss, you just say, ‘f--- this job!’ You’re not really going to quit, though. You just want to say that right then, just to make yourself feel better. So I think that’s what this album represents.

EBONY.COM: Do you have a drop date for Trouble Man?

T.I: Nah, not yet, but it’s going to be out this summer.

EBONY.COM: What else do you have in your lineup of things that we can let people know about?

T.I: The OMG Girlz, we’re working on their album. They’re getting a lot of support on BET, 106th and Park, number two, number three, soon to be number one. They’ve been touring with Diggy, and with Mindless Behavior. So we’re very proud of that project. This is the part of the project where I’m getting them in the studio and I’m writing and I’m doing some songs and stuff for them now.

EBONY.COM: Aside from your step-daughter’s group and your son’s rap career, you’re also signing and managing a bunch of new acts. Are we seeing the emergence of Tip, the business guy?

T.I: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve been saying it for a long time. But I’m ready to take myself into the next phase of my career.

EBONY.COM: And what’s the next phase?

T.I: Behind the desk, you know, more so than in front. Not to say that I’m going to retire or nothing, because that’s so final. I’m just going to do it when I feel like doing it. I’m not going to be on the clock.

EBONY.COM: And that makes it easier to be just dad, too. Do you like to think of yourself as a role model for other dads?

T.I:  If I could be an example, or lead by example, of how to be a father, how to keep families together and how to strengthen the Black community, if I could do that, that could offset some of the wrong I’ve done. So it’s my pleasure.