“No one's looking to do what's in the best interest of the town.”
T.I. paid a visit to New York's Power 105.1 this morning and came forth on a variety of topics, including the current state of hip hop in his native Atlanta, with The Breakfast Club crew.
When asked why Atlanta seems to have lost its grip on hip hop culture, T.I. said he wasn't sure what the problem was, but he plans to solve it.
"That's a question I've been asking myself," he said. "Whatever it is, I intend to put an end to that. I need us back in a place of prominence and I'm doing all that's in my power to make sure we get there."
T.I. said he thought selfishness could be to blame for the perceived decline.
"I think it's a matter of people not caring," he opined. "Everybody's trying to do for self and no one's looking to do what's in the best interest of the town. There's no camaraderie anymore. There's no support system."
In T.I.'s view, Atlanta is also suffering a lack of leadership.
"There's no one saying 'I'm the head of this. I'm gonna take charge and make sure we do this and this to achieve our goals,'" he said. "In the days of Outkast and Goodie Mob, they pretty much passed the torch to Lil Jon, [Luda]cris and myself. And we did what we felt was necessary, both separate and together, to put the city where it's supposed to be. Now it feels like there's no group that's there doing that."
T.I. said there were a number of artists that are making a mark on Atlanta, but haven't broken through to the national stage.
"That presence on Billboard, at awards shows, and on a bigger, national scale just ain't there," he said. "So I gotta adjust that."
Asked about up and coming ATL artists like Travis Porter and Future, T.I. said it was up to them to deliver on their promise.
"I rock with 'em," he said." But now they've gotta finish. It's like being in a fight and up against the ropes. What are you gonna do with it? How are you gonna get from where you are to where you need to be? What they do in the next three or four months is going to determine whether or not they solidify on a national level, or whether they remain on the level they're on."
On the topic of another titan of the ATL hip hop scene, his sometime collaborator Young Jeezy, T.I. disagreed with the assertion that he had gone "cold."
"Jeezy is trying to find a way to reinvent himself and still connect with that key audience," he said. "I think with Jeezy, if he puts out something and says ‘This is it.' Then the town gonna rock with him. He's got the movement behind him, he's just gotta be certain."
T.I. said there could be other business forces involved with Jeezy's situation that people might not be aware of.
"On the executive level [at Jeezy's label Def Jam], there's been musical chairs. When you start the project there's one person in power, and then someone else comes in who you're not familiar with. So it's like, how do you deal with that circumstance?"
T.I. just released his first, prison-penned novel, Power & Beauty, and has been hard at work on his eighth studio album.
(Photo: Albert L. Ortega/PictureGroup)