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The following will appear in The Weekender, which hits newsstands this Wednesday.
His jail sentence may be imminent; his music and acting career may be flourishing; but don’t think for a second that rapper T.I. may have mixed up his priorities.
The platinum-selling artist called up The Ralphie Radio Show exclusively last week, talking about a wide array of topics – from his scheduled performance at the Wachovia Arena on December 29, to acting career and his plans for the holiday season.
“We’ve been looking forward to doing something, and we look forward to doing more in the future,” T.I. revealed about his cameo on Season 5 of HBO’s Entourage. The rapper played himself in a small, yet hilarious scene across from actor Jeremy Piven, known on the show as super-agent Ari Gold.
But the Atlanta-born artist isn’t all business.
“Just spend (Christmas) with my family, and try and grant all of the wishes of my kids,” T.I. replied when asked of his plans for December 25, four days before he heads to Wilkes-Barre. “And try to give back to the community. We always try to give away about a thousand bikes on Bankhead (Atlanta) in the hood; every year… we make sure everybody in the hood got something.”
The rapper, real name Clifford Harris Jr., received a number of gifts this year: most of the positive ones stem from his LP “Paper Trail”, already spawning the number-one hits, “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life”, which features Rihanna.
The latter actually wouldn’t have come to fruition without a couple gifts, thanks in part to the Barbados-born bombshell as well as the man responsible for sampling the “Numa Numa” song.
“I can’t take no credit for the sample man, that’s all Just Blaze,” T.I.P admitted. “He brought me the track, and you know, I gave my contribution to the record. Rihanna did her thing. She seemed perfect for it, and when she agreed to do it, I think it took the record to another level.”
With Rihanna’s recent track record, no pun intended, of hits, as well as the performance that preceded the release of the LP, T.I.’s assessment of her addition to the song couldn’t be more correct. This is reaffirmed in news that broke this week: Kanye West will re-release the track, “Paranoid” off of “808’s and Heartbreaks” with RiRi featured on it.
Speaking of Yeezy, T.I. also talked about a track that he admits to rocking out to… yes, one of his own, the star-studded “Swagga Like Us.”
“I think all the music I do man, I do it because, you know, it’s something that I can appreciate as well as something I feel that the fans can appreciate,” T.I. told me regarding the song.
On the track, Lil Wayne, who shares the record with T.I., West, and Jay-Z, shouts out NBA Superstar and fellow Syracuse University alum Carmelo Anthony. Certainly Anthony and T.I.P. could be compared right… two superstars attempting to capture Mainstream America while maintaining street cred?
“(Laughing) Yeah I guess I’d have to agree, I guess the facts would show just as you stated.”
That really is the “type of ish that make them call you Carmelo.”
Listen to Ralphie Aversa weekdays from 5-10p on 97 BHT.