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March 2006
ATL: An Interview with Tip "T.I" Harris

ATL: An Interview with Tip "T.I" Harris, continued

by Wilson Morales

Can you talk about your album coming out this week, KING..? Can you talk about the single and what the second single will be and the fact that you have an album and a movie coming out in the same week?

T.I: The album KING. is the best album I have ever recorded to date. I think it's my best album and I had a lot more to dedicate the attention that I needed to put into it for it to be the best album I've ever done. Every time I did another album, there was something else going on. With Trapmuzik, I was moving around and hustling a deal and this and that when I was recording it; and with "Urban Legend", I was doing the same thing. I was recording during the movie and after that I had a certain amount of time to dedicate to the album. I knew that this had to be the best album of my career to substantiate the title, KING.

Did you feel any type of pressure when you hear that there are too many rappers coming into the movie industry? How do you respond to that?

T.I: People want to see us. As much as they respond to us, they can relate. Some of them can relate and some of them are fascinated by us. For whatever reason, people want to see us and if people want to see us, there's a supply and demand in any business that you are in. I don't care if you see shoes, cars, records, movies; there's a supply and demand. If people have a demand to see this person, then I need to be able to supply this person to the demanding audience. That means it's going to be money in my pocket and butts in them seats. If an actor can do that, great, and if a rapper can do that, great. If a juggling monkey can do that, great. Don't get mad at us, get mad at the studios. They're the ones that cut us the big checks to get us on those movies that take your job from you. That ain't our fault. If someone gave you a check, you'll be out here too. Ain't no rappers say anything about Terrence Howard (from Hustle and Flow), so just be cool.

How did you get your start?

T.I: I just started rapping one day and I started writing my own when I was about 9 and I kept on it and got better and evolved.

Did you have fun on the set?

T.I: Jackie Long cracked jokes and acted like a fool all day, throughout the day. He don't get tired. He cracked jokes all day with Al B., Jason Weaver. In the waffle house scene where we just talking back and forth, we did that all day long throughout the whole production of the movie. Then the guys and girls would go at it. Me and the guys and Lauren and the twins, we would have a nice good time having fun.

Did you see a conflict between Rashad and Tip Harris?

T.I: Yes, there's a conflict but you have got to recognize that there's a conflict. You have to separate yourself. This is what's needed for this and this is what's needed for this. Then you have to apply the necessary efforts and energy to the right call. They need this to come across like this and in that, we don't need this. Put that away for something else. It's like when go to play basketball or go to church. When you go to church, you need a suit and when you play basketball, you need shorts and some sneakers. It's just as simple as that. You know what you need, and you take it. You leave what's not necessary behind.

Do you think the film does Atlanta proud?

T.I: It's an absolute pleasure and honor to be involved. Like I said before, it's the most honest representation of my culture and I'm pleased and proud of the project.

Was there a scene that challenged you and made you stretch as an actor?

T.I: Everything. I put the same amount of energy and talents to everything, from the skating to the dramatic scene to the comedy scene to the kissing scene.

How was the kissing scene with Lauren (London)?

T.I: I went hard. I put in 100%. I had to make it real. I had to. It was my duty. I was called to do a job and that's what I had to do.

Can you talk about your song "Why you want to do that?" with the Crystal Waters sample?

T.I: I will not tell a lie. I can't take any credit for that sample. My producer, Kao, came in and gave me the track and I heard it and it was hot. I didn't know where the sample was from. Somebody had mentioned to me that it was from an old song. When people started singing it, I did remember it. I appreciate the response to it and I'm really proud of that song too. It's a definite bond with the ladies.

Are you looking for more acting roles?

T.I: Yeah. I'm looking into film development as well.

Did you get to talk to Dallas Austin and T-Boz?

T.I: I interacted with Dallas and T-Boz. I had seen T-Boz once or twice on the set. I think her and Lauren spoke. I interacted with all the producers, including Will Smith and James Lassiter.

Did Will give you any advice?

T.I: Will just told me to work hard. He told me what I told you. You get out of it what you put into it.

ATL opens on March 31st, 2006

For more info on the film go here.

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