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FEATURE ARTICLE

 
2007 T.I.

 

“I can be an a**hole.  I pride myself on the skill.  At the same time, I know at times I go above and beyond and out of my way to do things to help people.  I’m a real person…I’m just a s much of an a**hole today as I was when I didn’t have shit*t.  I’m the same guy.”  - T.I. on how other’s perceive him

 

Claim to fame:  Tip

 

With the release of his 2007 album, T.I. v. Tip, the rapper found that life imitated art all year long.

 

T.I. appeared to be riding high on success teaming up with industry darling Timberlake at the Grammys in February.  However he followed up one of his biggest opportunities by socking Ludacris’ manager Chaka Zulu in the face at Warner Music Group Executive Vice President Kevin Liles’ charity power brunch.  T.I. later publicly apologized for his behavior, but that wasn’t the last of his bout.

 

In July, Tip emerged yet again when he allegedly attacked a fan with his microphone at a Hollywood pre-party for the 2007 ESPY Awards after an audience member tossed a cup at the rapper.  A month later, T.I made up for the attack to fans by orchestrating what MTV.com called a “mammoth hip-hop moment” when he brought Kanye West, 50 Cent, Diddy and Jay-Z together on stage in Madison Square Garden for his New York stop of Screamfest. 

 

Obviously on a good streak, T.I. hit the silver screen and appeared in the Denzel Washing hit “American Gangster” where he played the nephew of Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas.  It almost seemed like we could close the year out sans Tip until he was arrested on felony weapons charges hours before the BET Hip-Hop Awards in October. 

 

In mid-October, the rapper was arrested in Atlanta on charges of buying illegal machine guns, possession of three unregistered machine guns and two silencers, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. Agents booked Tip as he allegedly accepted a delivery of three machine guns and two silencers from one of his bodyguards. Since posting bail, he has remained under house arrest, and is not allowed to step out his front door unless he has a medical appointment or court appearance. He is awaiting trial on the gun charges.

 

Still the rapper remains in good spirits.  T.I. tried to spread some Christmas cheer by posting a video on his StreetCred.com social networking site.


"Sorry I couldn't be there with you to do it face-to-face," he tells fans. Reiterating his earlier video message, he thanks fans for their support and prayers, saying "they're definitely working, keep the prayer going up. I know God is listening."


Though he faces up to 10 years in prison, T.I. tells fans to focus on themselves and not to sweat his problems. "Don't worry about me, man," he says. "Find you something else to worry about. God got me covered."

 

Read Class Superlatives

 

 



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