T.I. Tracks His Change From Teen Criminal To Social Justice Advocate On ‘People’s Party With Talib Kweli’

In the latest full episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, guest T.I. shares insight into the current situation involving ASAP Rocky in Sweden and his legacy as the originator of the term “trap music,” as well as dropping jewels with regards to his transformation from teenage hustler to upstanding businessman and social justice advocate. He tracks his criminal origins all the way back to elementary school, where he bribed his fifth grade teacher to allow him to sell candy at a respectable profit.

Eventually, he says, he expanded his operation to include stolen Starter jackets and Jordan sneakers, which he paid other students to lift from lockers during gym class, allowing him to sell the contraband at another school in his grandmother’s neighborhood. T.I. remarks that his facility for making money and bending rules naturally led him to the drug game when he was introduced to the greater profit margins suggested by a local dope boy. There’s some hilarity as host Kweli misunderstands the process of getting the Jordans — apparently, New Yorkers didn’t change for gym back in those days.

T.I. proves to be an astute student of the game: He explains how the economy of Atlanta, a mecca for Black enterprise, ran through the hustlers of the ’60s and ’70s. He theorizes that trap rappers are “veterans of the war on drugs,” sharing war stories about survival. However, the most important thing for him is giving back; later in the interview, he details his efforts to pay bail for local Atlanta dads on Father’s Day, his upcoming film about the Flint water crisis with Overbrook Entertainment, and his inability to run for mayor of Atlanta due to his record. Check out the full episode above.

People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. Previous episodes have invited Angela Rye, Jemele Hill, and Lamar Odom. Subscribe to Uproxx Video on Youtube to see future episodes of People’s Party With Talib Kweli as they premiere.