T.I.’s image has changed since he first burst onto the music scene at the ripe young age of 19, but not everyone’s thrilled by his new family man persona.
“They hated it,” T.I. told XXL about how Atlantic Records responded to his new image. “Labels love hardcore. T.I. That kept the cash register ringing. They don’t want me to go to prison and [get] caught though. They want me to be the Teflon Don.”
T.I. has had a few run-ins in the law and has spent time behind bars, but he said that lifestyle is a thing of the past.
“I ain’t going to face the same adversities I’ve faced again. I’m not going to have another friend die in my arms. I’m not getting caught with no more guns and silencers,” said T.I. who wants others to learn from his example.
Though some suggest that T.I.’s new family hustle is solely about him staying out of trouble, he said what fans see on his VH1 reality show, is a result of maturity and learning from one’s mistakes.
“A lot people want to take that change and connect it to entertainment. ‘Oh he got all this money and changed, or He got in trouble so he changed.’ When I got introduced to the game, I was 19. Right now I’m 32. You could take anybody, man—police, fireman, journalist, radio personality, actor, producer—from 19-32, he’s gonna change,” explained T.I.
Some fans consider the thug lifestyle sexy and exciting, but T.I. said he’s past that phase of life.
“I’m older, man. I’m wiser; I’m calmer… I’m better, stronger. I’m ready for whatever tomorrow got coming,” he said.