T.I. Talks New Album 'Paperwork,' Staying Connected
When T.I. isn't collaborating with everyone known to mankind or making dreams come true, he's working on massive projects. His latest release is Paperwork, the first album in a planned trilogy, which T.I. has thought all the way through.
"There are three albums, and each of the albums have their different concepts," he told Fuse. "Paperwork, the theme of this album is merging old with new, just applying instrumentation into a futuristic approach to hip hop or where hip hop is going, being ahead of the curve with your lyrics and your cadences, but keeping the music somewhat grounded in an, I guess, nostalgic principle. The next one will be more Trap music-ish... unadulterated, gutter, gangster. It’s going to be some big records because it’s still me, but it’s going to sound like an independent project. Just because I feel like once you’ve gone as big as you can go, the only thing you can do is reset. After that, the next project is more so of a hustler’s love story. It’s songs that are inspired by relationships or interactions, from the beginning or the end."
But T.I. obviously didn't create this album alone. Paperwork boasts of a long list of collaborators. "Everyone from Iggy Azalea to [Lil] Boosie, Young Jeezy, Nipsey Hussle, Young Thug, The-Dream, Skylar Grey, Usher, Chris Brown, I have a lot of people," he continued. "At this point in my career, to work alongside the A-listers in the community, man, it means a lot to me."
T.I. is very much a veteran of the hip hop world, something he uses to his advantage. "The game remains the same. The players are the only thing that changes. I know the game. Regardless of how old you are and what phase of the game you’re in, I’ve been through it all, from the bottom to the top," he explained. "There’s nothing that you could tell me you’re going through that I ain’t been through. I think that ability to relate brings understanding with it. I think, a lot of the time, when we’re ripping and running in the streets, we think nobody really understands, especially somebody who has made it out and is on a whole other level. They ain’t gotta be really, really concerned with what I go through. You just kind of feel like they don’t understand. They don’t care. I think that ability to relate, to understand, kind of gives a mutual respect."
Watch the exclusive interview above!