Whatever you might think about T.I., the choices he’s made and the situations he’s found himself in over the past five years, you must admit that when he finally sits down to speak on all of it, there’s a level of honesty we can’t help but respect. Recently, in promotion of his new album “Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head,” T.I. has had to answer a lot of questions regarding the time he spent in jail and, in stark contrast, the relationship we see him share with his wife and children.
In an interview with ROLLING OUT, the interviewer asked T.I. whether or not he felt people in the hood have more respect for people who go to prison rather than those who go to college. See what he had to say about the subject.
That’s a misconception. I think white folks put that out there because they want us to feed off that. I grew up in Bankhead, been around Campbellton Road, Simpson Road, West End and every ghetto in Atlanta. And I never thought it was cooler to go to jail than to go to college. I knew college wasn’t for me, but I knew jail wasn’t for me, either. If you give me the option between jail and college, I’m taking college. They have women in college, ain’t no women in jail. I’ve never thought that. And no one I ever spoke to said, ”Man, something in me wants to see what it’s like to go to jail.” On the other hand, we knew that we were doing things that could land us in jail. But we never thought it was cool. That’s a misconception. If you’re a teenager, or whatever, don’t believe that going to jail is cool. I’ve been in there with people who are doing 20-year bids and life sentences. Those folks never feel like it was cool.
And since T.I. has had personal experience in this area, he explains how being in prison affected him.
When I went to prison in 2009, I had so much resentment for the system. When you’re in a certain element, you can exercise certain strengths. But when you place me in a jungle and it’s all about survival, I’m going to have tp posture myself in a way I’m fit to survive. By the time I came out of prison, my mind-set was different from when I went in. Prison did me no good. But personally, I regressed completely.
And in an interesting interview with the Breakfast Club, T.I. explained how that regression from the first prison bid, contributed to him going back the second time.
With me going on the campaign trail and speaking to kids, I actually had developed new policies and procedures. My character had changed for real. And when your character changes you become a more positive thinking, a more law abiding, just a more even spirited person. And now you take all of these character progressions and you now say I got to go to prison?! Well wait a minute, these policies and procedures don’t apply here in this environment that you’re sending me to, so now I can’t use what I’ve learned. So now I’m going to adopt new policies and procedures to accompany my environment, because now it’s about survival.
So now I’m back on my square. I’m back like I’m trapping. Because I’m in general population… So now, by the time I get out, these new policies and procedures…what I’m just supposed to hit a button and go back to the way I was before I went in. No! No! So now, these policies and procedures that I had adopted from being in prison… I did more drugs in prison than I did all throughout “Paper Trail.” I was doing things that I hadn’t even considered doing in the free world in a long time, in prison, which tells you that my mentality had changed so much that when I came home, I was like ‘Hell man, whatever man, let’s get back to the get back.’ So now, that’s what put me in the mindset to where I could make that kind of slip up and mistake that I would have never made while I was on the “Paper Trail” run. But see nobody ever thought about that. They were like ‘T.I. man, he just dumb.’ Naw!
It’s sad it had to play out like that but it would appear that he’s certainly learned from and become a better man because of it.