tivibe tivibe

T.I.: The Dec/Jan 2011 Cover Story

T.I. leans back into the cushions of a well-worn sofa in the doorless green room of Atlanta’s Artisan PictureWorks studio. One foot touches the floor, the other rests high up on the sofa cushion, giving him the posture of a patient settling in for a long session at his therapist’s office. But really, he’s a man on the losing side of a war with time. On September 1, T.I. and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, were pulled over for an illegal U-turn while he was in L.A. promoting the film Takers. The officer claimed he smelled marijuana, and an ensuing search turned up four ecstasy pills. Now T.I.’s in a familiar position. One week from today, he will report to jail to begin serving an 11-month bid for violating probation.

Over the next few days, Clifford “Tip” Harris will scramble to shoot 11 months’ worth of music videos, which will be used to promote his upcoming album, No Mercy, while he does time at Forrest City prison in Arkansas. His strategy is “to be as forward-thinking as possible to make sure we have more than enough content to make a realistic attempt at, like, replacing my presence,” he says, chuckling at the absurdity of it all. “Of course there is never no real replacement.”

The album’s original title, King Uncaged, referred to Tip’s release from his 366-day prison sentence for trying to buy illegal guns back in 2007. In an unprecedented “experiment,” U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell, Jr. allowed him to do 1,000 hours of community service to shave almost four years off his sentence. “I’d like to thank God for blessing me with a second chance in life and success,” he said at the hearing in March of 2008.

But this time around, there are no do-overs. “I think Mr. Harris had had about the limit of second chances,” Judge Pannell said at his October 15 hearing. And T.I. confessed that he had a drug problem: “I need help,” he told the court, “for me, my mother, my kids. I need the court to give me mercy.” While the D.A. in Los Angeles dropped the case, reportedly because of shoddy police work, Tip still must serve out his sentence for violating probation.

Meanwhile, much of the goodwill he’s earned has been erased with one traffic stop. “You’ve been given a bunch of different chances,” Ne-Yo told the Associated Press, “and now is the time to really go, you know, I get it.”

The whole ordeal has taken a toll on Tip’s mental state. Right now, his only comfort is focusing on his music career. When asked how long he’ll be working tonight on his video-shooting marathon, he sighs and shakes his head. “I don’t know, however long it takes, I guess.” For T.I. the days are too long, and yet not long enough.


VIBE: What are you hoping to accomplish with No Mercy?

T.I.: It’s supposed to tell how I feel right now.

How did you go about picking songs?

Most of those songs I made aren’t on this album. They were made from a different point in my life. It gotta speak to the moment. And the records that don’t necessarily speak to the moment are put there for the purpose of not being overwhelmed by the moment. It’s too dark. 

What is this “moment”?

I don’t know what more I can say besides saying it is a dark, humbling and painful moment.

I’ve heard you mention how the good that you’ve done is easily forgotten. Do you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly?

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

Continue Reading
Joe Scarnic

Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


View this post on Instagram


#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

A post shared by the Jasmine BRAND (@thejasminebrand_) on Mar 22, 2019 at 5:32pm PDT

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

Continue Reading

Top Stories