Friday, September 3, 2010

Before latest arrest, T.I. sought to 'travel a narrow path' and regain 'exclusivity' in Hollywood

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 2:41 PM

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  • SCREEN GEMS

It's hard to look at T.I's portrayal of an arrogant, paroled bank robber named Ghost in the heist film /i>Takers (which he executive produced) without drawing some comparisons to the rapper himself, especially in the wake of his and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle's Wednesday night arrest in L.A. on charges of suspicion of possession of methamphetamine.

In the film, which topped last weekend's box office at $20.5 million, Ghost uses his swagger to charm his way back into the good graces of his former crime syndicate — after serving time and refusing to snitch on his partners — only to double-cross them. But in the end, his character flaw proves fatal.

Whether T.I.'s real-life drama will have such a Hollywood ending is anyone's guess, as he heads back to Atlanta to face the same federal judge who granted him the lenient and non-traditional sentence of 1,000 community hours and 1 year in prison after T.I.'s guilty plea to federal gun charges.

However things play out for T.I., his planned transition from hip-hop to Hollywood probably won't go as smooth as he'd hoped. After serving seven months in an Arkansas prison plus three in an Atlanta halfway house, T.I. was positioning himself to regain his title as King of the South with last week's release of Takers and the upcoming release of his album King Uncaged a month later on Sept. 28 (currently pushed back to an unknown date).

But in a recent interview he seemed more eager to leave his rap career, and the burden of his image, behind.

In a conference call, T.I. told a group of journalists that “music is my first love” but admitted that “film is something new and fresh and exciting to me.” He also shared his observations about the current state of the music industry.

“Right now, music is oversaturated," he said. "The music industry is so oversaturated and there's so many (pause). Let me just say, back when I began back in '88, '89, when I first decided I wanted to be a rapper, if you were to make it and become a rapper and get a video and a record deal and go platinum or go gold, man, you were something special. You were a cut above the rest. It was far and few between who could manage to be discovered, let alone manage to get a video spinning on MTV, let alone manage to do shows and go touring, let alone manage to go gold.”

Times have clearly changed, T.I. noted. “[N]owadays, if you tell somebody, ‘Yes, I'm a rapper,’ they're like, ‘Oh yeah, everybody's a rapper. Of course you are. Sure.’”

“You tell somebody, ‘My video [is] coming on TV,’” and the response is “'Yeah, right. Everybody’s video comes on TV and YouTube, too.’ There is no exclusivity to the artistry anymore. It's sort of like it's been diluted and oversaturated so much that, if you want to be special, you got to find another way to be special. You got to step outside of this and do something else.”

Film appeals to “the side of me that yearns to be special and exclusive and different and the side of me that wants to travel a narrow path,” he explained, “I’ve got to get out of this game and get into something that I can do that everybody else can't do.”

That something else for T.I. is film. “Everybody can't just hop into a box office smash and debut number one and earn $25 million the first week. Everybody can't do that,” he said with confidence before Takers even hit the screen.

Depending on how the judge sees it, T.I. may get Ghost for awhile after all.

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