“Some of my songs, they derive from a very, very graphic place,” T.I. says on this week’s episode of T.I. And Tiny: The Family Hustle, quick to add that there is still a message in even the dirtiest couplets or most visceral of subject matter he raps about. Yes, don’t let the excellent parenting and cute photo opps fool you; just because his lyrics contain the word “family,” doesn’t mean a video set with tables of artillery is an appropriate hangout for his children, or that a quote-unquote gangster lifestyle is one he wants them to emulate.
Rather than hide his past from his children, TIP tries his best to be direct about things, including the decisions that landed him in serious legal trouble. “Them knowing where I’ve been let’s them know exactly where they do not want to be,” he explained. Which brings us to yet another important gem from the daddy full of swaggy.
T.I.’s Fatherly Wisdom: Don’t Let Life Imitate Art, Let Art Imitate Your Life
By taking time to explain to his brood what exactly he went through as a child without a father or a fancy house, T.I.’s helping to teach them that the stuff they see in movies or music videos isn’t a life they necessarily want to be about. While there have been public missteps there has also been rehabilitation, and the success T.I. has experienced has allowed him to provide for his family and protect them from harm’s way. “I’m going to make sure they have the most safe and prosperous life they can,” he says. “There’s just gonna have to focus on what it is inside of them that they can offer the world.”
So when King becomes slightly hung up on the perceived toughness of a gangster, it’s time for Pops to step in for some real talk and explain that all actions have consequences–in a bathrobe and slippers no less (I said real talk). “To be honest with you, I’ve never met a gangster that wanted to be a gangster,” he says. “The outcome was not a likable or a livable one.” Living what some could call a sheltered life, away from crime, drama, and heartache, might seem less compelling than the street sagas currently flooding today’s radio. But T.I. is quick to point out the success of other musicians (Drake, Kanye West) who don’t have to rely on a disruptive past to be strong storytellers and successful artists. And neither will his kids; there’s a trove of inspiration right inside the Harris household–have you seen how T.I. and Tiny look at each other? Besides, Major’s quest for a big bed and small television is deserving of its own spinoff.
Did T.I. teach his children well this time around? Given its mature nature, should his children be exposed to his music? Should Tiny reevaluate letting her baby boy sleep in her bed? Let us know in the comments below.