Industry observers scoffed when T.I. announced he wanted a new $75 million recording contract at the demand. As we reported,T.I.’s 10-year contract with Atlantic Records had just wrapped up when declared his new going rate. Well, T.I. is now talking a $200 million record deal.
“I am a free agent. I’m operating as an independent label. I do not have corporate sponsors. I don’t have no corporate backing. I don’t have no major distribution. We Master-P-ing this Isht right now… I’m proving I’m worth $200 million,” T.I. told Billboard.
By proving it, he means delivering hits through his Grand Hustle label, which launched in 2003. But as the magazine points out it has been an uphill battle. The label struggled when T.I. was in prison for most of 2009 through 2011. There had been some bright lights, such as B.o.B. and Yung L.A., who released a platinum-selling hit “Aint’ I” in 2008 but they all petered out. And Meek Mill, who signed with T.I. in 2008, jumped to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group before releasing a record.
Grand Hustle finally had new signings like British rapper Chip, and Houston vet Trae Tha Truth. T.I.’s first post-prison album, “Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head,” hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Last week, he released “G.D.O.D.,” the debut mixtape from Hustle Gang, a new moniker for the label, notes Billboard. The project was preceded by a single from T.I. and B.o.B., “Memories Back Then,” featuring Kendrick Lamar and Hustle Gang singer Kris Stephens. The song broke through the Hot 100 at No. 88—without a major-label push.
“That dark period is over, and the celebration shall begin. But before the celebration we got to put in the work. And this work is a part of it,” T.I. told Billboard about Grand Hustle.
Grand Hustle now has 30 members and T.I. says he knows his company’s worth—and wants to be paid it. “Right now, I’m proving I’m worth $200 million. I done sat with all the people; everybody says they’re interested, but they don’t want to cut that check. Alright — we’re going to motivate them to cut that check,” he said.
We’ll ask again: Will T.I. get what he’s asking for? Or is he over-reaching?