Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV's "Drink Champs," which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly "Drink Champs" episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
Last night, the latest episode of Drink Champs aired on REVOLT TV, with legendary Atlanta rapper T.I. making his return and sitting down with Noreaga and DJ EFN for a few drinks. One of Drink Champs' recurring guests, T.I. chops it up with the fellas about his new album Dime Trap, the tenth album of his career and one that finds the tenured spitter at the top of his game. Breaking down key cuts from the album, T.I. gives insight to the making of what has been hailed as one of the hottest releases of the fourth quarter and one of his best bodies of work to date. In addition to music, the interview touches a myriad of other topics, including sports, politics, legal troubles and the state of the rap game. From dropping gems about life to entertaining the room with his stories, T.I.'s charisma and charm was on full display, making this episode of Drink Champs a riveting one.
To help give the fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT TV compiled a list of nine things we learned from T.I.'s episode of Drink Champs that the average fan never knew.
1. The meaning behind the title of his new album
One of the first topics of T.I.'s conversation with Drink Champs involved his new album Dime Trap, with the rapper giving viewers insight into the inspiration behind the title. "Dime Trap. It's my tenth album, hence the dime, you know what I'm saying," T.I. shared. "And trap music, that's the lifestyle that we have showcased to the world, it has become so prevalent to today. It's actually the 15th anniversary of Trap Muzik, August 19th, so I wanted to do something that was commemorative to trap music, like, the evolution of trap music and that's where I came up with Dime Trap."
2. He doesn't get influenced by what other artists do
When asked if any of the high-profile rap releases this past summer inspired his own album in any way, T.I. revealed that he tends to be in his own zone a creative. "I don't allow myself to be encumbered by the thoughts of what other artists are doing, I just do me," he explains. "I can't get wrapped up in what nobody else [is] doing 'cause whatever they're doing, that's tailor-made for them. What I'm doing is gonna be tailor-made for me."
3. He and Dave Chappelle are good friends
Comedian Dave Chappelle's presence on Dime Trap is a pleasant surprise, but T.I. says that Chappelle's appearance stemmed from the pair's friendship. "We always get together, man," T.I. shares. "Whether I go to his show if he's in town or he come to one of my shows if I'm in town or whatever. But after the show, we always have these epic, monumental, whimsical evenings, you know what I'm saying? So during one of these evenings, I just played the album for him. And the next morning, dazed and confused in a drunken stupor, I wake up and see that he had text me saying 'the shit you was playing was dope,' so that's when I shot my shot, like, 'Yo, why don't we get together and see what we can come up with,' and he was like, 'Man, I'm coming to Atlanta.' He came and we got in the studio and really just effortlessly knocked some shit out."
4. What he feels is lacking in the rap game
When discussing the current state of rap, T.I. gives his take on what he feels is lacking among artists and figures in positions of power and influence. "We need more genuine men who [are] just unapologetic about pressing they line, respectfully," T.I. explains. "And I think that it's a lot of men that have a lot of physical power, but they don't have the mental discernment to distinguish when it's time to actually enforce and take advantage of this power. I think that's the thing, we need discernment. We need more people who can estimate [that] it ain't even worth instilling or inflicting this amount of authority on the situation."
5. His relationship with Jeezy runs deep
As two of the forefathers of trap music, T.I. and Jeezy's paths have crossed on multiple occasions. However, T.I. makes it clear that there has never been an issue between the two regarding ownership of the genre, and the two are actually longtime acquaintances. "We brothers, you know," T.I. says in reference of Jeezy. "We have a lot of experience and history together. I knew him before he established his true position and I can say the shit that he say is real. And when I actually met him, he was coming into a position where he was buzzing, people was hearing his name, and I knew him from a mutual acquaintance that happens to be in the lifestyle. And when I met him, he reminded me [of] what I would've if I hadn't had got signed. It kinda felt like, 'yo, man, this is the exact position that you'd be in,' you know what I'm saying? So the things that you learned, you should share, and the first thing I told him was 'you gotta pick a side.'"
6. The truth behind his plea agreement
A decade removed from his arrest on federal weapons charges, T.I. sheds light on what led to the incident during his conversation with DJ EFN and Noreaga. "It was a dude who was in my security; he was suggesting to me that I buy firearms from him legitimately and he ended up turning around, trying to make more money and bought firearms from the ATF," T.I. explains. "And when he got caught, he said, 'No, it's not mine, these are for my boss,' and he brought them to me." As a result of T.I. receiving a favorable plea agreement for the firearms charges and avoiding a lengthy prison sentence, there have been questions of whether he became an informant in exchange for his freedom, a claim the rapper vehemently denies. "59458019 is my [case] number; you can look up my plea agreement, there is no Rule 35," the rapper explains, before later adding, "If I told on you and you was in jail doing time 'cause of me, wouldn't you call one of your cousins and say, 'Hey man, Tip told on me. He put me here.'" However, T.I. makes it clear that his freedom came at a hefty price. "Well, I will say this, it was handled exceptionally, but it cost me $8-to-$10 million to get it," he reveals. "I had a $3 million bond. I had five lawyers charging me a quarter million, half a million [a piece]. it didn't happen haphazardly; that was strategic. And it was costly. And I made it...by the grace of God."
7. The story behind his arrest at his home
This past May, T.I. made headlines after the Grand Hustle CEO was arrested at his Georgia home, the rapper's most recent run-in with the law. While many fans chalked the incident up to Tip being Tip, T.I. gave Drink Champs the full scope of the situation. "It's a golf-course community, you have gates and you have guards and you check-in and when they see you, they see who are you, they let you in and so on and so forth," T.I. explains. "This particular gentleman was sleeping when I pull[ed] up to the guard gate. So I'm on the phone, FaceTiming with my old lady and I show her on my FaceTime [like], 'look, this motherfucker sleep.' And he wakes up in the middle of me [doing that] and he see he caught, so now he's in shock and his first response is not to let me in immediately, it's to project that frustration, that embarrassment on me. I guess he was figuring if I misconduct myself, it'd be more about me and less about him being asleep So finally, we go back and forth and then my wife called him [to] tell him to let me in, he finally let me in and I say, 'No, I'ma walk back.' So I walk back and I ask him to step outside so I could speak to him so we could clear it all up. He chooses not to; they call the police. The police come there and instead of accessing the situation and finding out what's going on, their answer to the question of the circumstances was to arrest me."
8. His feelings on the positive effects of the Crack Era
The crack epidemic is largely viewed as one of the leading factors in the destruction of the Black and Latino community, however, during T.I.'s most recent appearance on Drink Champs, the rapper pointed out some of the positive aspects that came out of that era. "Being a drug dealer taught us how to handle money, but even moreso, it taught you manufacturing, distribution, profit and loss, you know what I'm saying?," T.I. explains. "You had to create a demand, supply that demand. You expand, acquisitions, you go and take over a block. Mergers, you do a deal with some guys and y'all share that block. All these different type of business structures, we learned from selling crack. And like I said, there can't be no bad without some good. As destructive and horrendous as the crack era was, it showed us how to be businessmen. There would not have been a Master P without the crack era. JAY-Z, there would not have been a JAY-Z. Listen, Eazy-E wouldn't have had the money to put Dr. Dre in the studio if it wasn't for selling crack, you dig? Crack paid for that. God bless Eazy-E, but Dr. Dre a billionaire, champ. That started from crack!"
In an attempt to glean positivity out of the negative, T.I. recently opened up his Trap Muzik Museum, in Atlanta which will celebrate his classic sophomore album, as well as the lifestyle of the hustler. "The Trap Muzik Museum does just that," T.I. shares. "We focus on the positive message that comes from us surviving those circumstances, enduring that environment overcoming, taking our experiences, setting it to music and packaging it as philosophical presentations that the world now tunes into. The same way the mafia had their time and everybody was tuned into the mafia, now they tuned into the crack era, and Trap Muzik is a direct result of the crack era."
T.I. also gives fans an idea of what they can expect when making a visit to the Trap Muzik Museum. "It's open indefinitely," he says. "As long as it can sustain the budget of keeping it open month-to-month, we gon' keep it open. We charge a nominal fee to get in and there's also an escape room in there, a trap-themed escape room. You're put in an environment and there's a situation that is created, a set of circumstances that is created and you gotta think your way through it or prison is the likely outcome."
9. He has no plans to become a politician
In recent years, T.I. has become one of the more outspoken artists when it comes to political matters, resulting the former trapper being viewed as an activist, of sorts. However, if you had any hopes of T.I. making a run for office, don't hold your breath. "I have no political ambitions at all, man," T.I. assures. "I would love to affect politics in a positive way by supporting the people who I know are most qualified for the position. Celebrities dying to be in political positions is what got us what we have in office right now. We need people that are right now legit in third grade thinking about changing the world." While T.I. is not fond of the circus that Donald Trump has brought to the White House, there is a shortlist of superstars he feels could steer the country in the right direction—Oprah, Dave Chappelle, and Will Smith being among them. "If they actually run, I'm voting for them, why not?," T.I. says. "But I'm voting for anybody but him. It's to the point now where we can't do any worse."
Watch Drink Champs with T.I. below!
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