RALPHIE REPORT: T.I.’s take: the industry, Lil Wayne

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First Posted: 6/10/2013

The times are certainly changing, and if anyone in music has experienced that, it is rapper T.I. He has sold almost 7 million albums and 15 million singles in the U.S. alone. Yet the Atlanta-native currently finds himself without a record label and on a tour with Lil Wayne, a show that is selling tickets in some markets for as low as $10. For the show’s July 21 stop at Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 97 BHT teamed up with Live Nation to offer lawn seats as low as $9.70, and three-packs of 200 level tickets for $97.

“This is what we call a paradigm shift in society right now,” T.I. explained over the phone in an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “This is a generational shift where new people are coming in to power and there’s a new day and age, a new way of doing things.”

The “Whatever You Like” artist notes that anyone in business has to adapt to a changing climate.

“I’m in a very unique position where I have artists, including myself, I have producers, I have writers under my wing,” he said. “For me to go to any distributor and walk in any building and give them instant market share and give them instant credibility, instant relevance, and also an already-made superstar, that’s going to take a considerable investment.”

With the feasibility in this day and age of recording and releasing music independently, especially under an already-known name, there’s no reason to believe that T.I. is simply showing a poker face. He told me he’d like to release “Trouble Man II: He Who Wears the Crown” by this December. If there’s no deal in place with a record label, the rapper insists that he’ll release it without a major label. Coincidentally enough, the first single, “Wit Me,” features his summer tour mate.

“Wayne was in Atlanta, man, and he hit me,” T.I. recalled. “I think he might have hit me about 5 in the morning, say he was on his way to the studio. So I was just up watching TV at the house and I was like, ‘Hell man, I’m not going to let him out-work me, I’m going to the studio too!’”

The two superstars listened to tracks from T.I.’s Hustle Gang in-house producers. A beat produced by Cordale “Lil C” Quinn stood out from the rest, and shortly after hearing it both Weezy and T.I. started cutting verses.

“We didn’t get out of there that morning… might have been about 9:30 in the morning,“ he said, “and (Wayne) was still working!”

T.I. says that Lil Wayne is “doing good” following reports that speculated various conditions of his health.

“He’s in awesome spirits,” T.I. said. “One thing I can say, it has nothing to do with drugs, because I’ve been around him several times, shooting the video and on personal time and I haven’t seen him around or doing anything anywhere related to any kind of narcotics. I can attest to that.”

-Listen to “The Ralphie Show” weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight on 97 BHT.