T.I. Explains Confusing “Hello” Lyrics, Shawty Lo’s Reality Show & More [EXCLUSIVE]

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You had Andre 3000 on “Sorry” and you were on Big Boi’s “In The A.” Do you think we’ll ever see another Outkast album?

From me speaking to Dre man I heard him being open to it, I really did. I think his concern is do the kids right now who are young and buying music care enough about an Outkast album for it to make a difference. Which is the same concern that I hear from other people that we all love and respect in this industry like Dr. Dre. I was working with Doc on “Detox” and that was his same concern. Of course we’re looking at them like we have such huge admiration for them for what they’ve done in the past, but they are looking at themselves kind of like ‘What do I mean to the young kid of today that is going out there to buy music?’ That’s what the struggle is. It’s not whether or not they want to do it, it’s whether they feel like it’s significant enough to be done. Nobody wants to tarnish their reputation or legacy with a lackluster presentation or poorly received album after having  such a decorated past. That’s a lot of pressure for cats like that. But I know one thing, all you gotta do is let me know it’s coming out and I’m there.  That’s just me. And I’m gonna make sure my kids listen to it and that they know how important it is to culture. If you are an admirer of music today you need to know what set the stage for all of your favorite artists right here right now to do it.

I was watching your interview with Larry King and you gave a great response to his question about gun control. However, on “Who Want Some” you tell the ATF that “you have three more .380s left.” Given your history, are you possibly tempting the wrong people?

I don’t know. I didn’t even think that much about it, I’m just making music. I could stand a pat down, that’s for damn sure. And a vehicle search. If they want to roll up on me and search my vehicle so be it. I ain’t really trippin off that man, this is entertainment. The moment I start thinking too hard about what I can and can’t say, that’s when the music becomes diluted. I feel like I owed the people who went and spent their hard earned money on my album. I owe them as much as I could possibly give them. That’s what I did. I focused on adequately entertaining and  making sure people got their money’s worth. I did not go out of my way to antagonize, entice or tempt anyone. I’m just doing what people pay me to do, entertain.

Speaking of entertaining, are there any updates on the bidding war for your services?

[laughs] Hey look man I see all that sh*t man…I respect my present partners at Atlantic records and had there ever been a separation between them and myself I would respect my new partners in such a way that I’m not gonna sensationalize anything. They give me my fair market value for what it is I have to offer.  And if you want to be in business with me let’s give each other %110. But just going out and doing gossip type stories that ain’t a huge part of what I do.

So if you had the choice you’d like to stay where you are?

Ay man, I’d love to stay where I am. It’d have to be shown that the feeling is mutual and the way you do that is on paper with commitment to dollars.

Universal Pictures “Identity Thief” is in theaters February 8th 2013.

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