In a new interview with Vulture to promote the release of his latest album, The L.I.B.R.A, T.I. discussed his storied career, including his successful foray into reality TV. According to the 40-year-old rapper, actor, podcaster and TV personality, the idea for T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle came from a desire for the star to fix his image after winding up in prison for nearly a year on a federal weapons charge.
“Talked about it in the visiting room at Forrest City Prison,” he told the publication. “I felt like people were judging me based off my headlines and not off the life that I had invested in. I had to clear up a bunch of bullsh-t that I had in my path from poor decisions, being impulsive, lack of planning, and just trauma — understanding that I had been through a bunch of sh-t that f–ked me up a little bit. I had to work through that, and it took time. In that time, I was working through it, I godd–n … f–ked up my freedom. However, that is a blip on the radar in comparison to how far we have left to go.”
The show certainly did that after its 2011 premiere, running for six seasons before returning as a revamped T.I. & Tiny: The Friends and Family Hustle in 2018. The decision to bring in other players to have their stories told may have been done purposely, as T.I. said in the interview that his family’s business became a little too public. There was a point where people would see him out in the world and try to speak to him about his life, which he didn’t like at all.
“Only two times have I felt like my family business was too public. That was when me and my lady were going through our sh-t and everything, when we had our separation. We both had our moments in the public. She and I had come to an understanding that we weren’t necessarily seeing eye to eye anymore and were making decisions for ourselves based off what we felt was best for our futures,” he said. “But I would be out at a business meeting or just socially but harmlessly at a bowling alley or something, and an old lady would come up saying, ‘You all need to work that out. You need to get back with your wife.’ In the airport or anywhere. That’s the sh-t that upsets me, not the comments on social media. That sh-t isn’t even real until it hits your face.”
He said he drew a line though when it came to people trying to talk to him about daughter Deyjah and his admission that he was taking her to see the gynecologist yearly before she needed to go to ensure that she was still a virgin.
“Same thing with the situation that I had with Deyjah. If a motherf–ker come up to my face talking about my daughter, I’m gonna beat your a–. That’s straight up, period,” he said. “Don’t play with me. Either you kicking some a– or I’m kicking some a–. One of us is walking away with a a– whooping if you pull up on me. Whatever your opinion is, I don’t give a f–k what you got to say if you got my daughter’s name in your mouth. If you within arm’s reach, man, we will be reaching.”
Despite the knee-jerk reaction to commentary regarding how he parents, his eldest daughter Zonnique Pullins said he has certainly changed since the backlash he received from the public and from Deyjah. And in addition to that, it seems that his relationship with Tiny is stronger than ever before, and who knows if the urging from fans helped in any way. Hit the flip to see photos of the couple together and happy since reuniting in 2017 after their separation.
Since Tiny filed for divorce in 2016 and the pair reunited the next year, they have seemingly been all smiles.
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 22: Tameka “Tiny” Cottle and T.I. attend the 51st NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/FilmMagic)