T.I. Explains Life On House Arrest, Losing Money & New Music

By Liz "Red" Thomas  |  04/11/2008

T.I.Atlanta rapper T.I. recently gave his first in-depth interview since receiving a judgment in his federal weapons possession case, in which he has been ordered to complete 1,500 hours of community service.

After speaking at an Atlanta YMCA, the rapper spoke with local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for a 30-minute chat, discussing how he's been able to maintain while on house arrest, and how the case has effected him.

He admitted that it has definitely slowed him down.

"Patience," T.I. said, when asked how he's been able to cope. "Just a lot of patience. If I can sit at home all day and wait on people to bring me what I need ... wait on getting permission to be able to do this and do that, it's not as serious as I used to make it sometimes. Sometimes it was like, 'If I don't get this right now I'm just going to lose it.' ... When you're going 350 MPH, it tends to be that way. But when you are stopped -- halted, not slowed down, but halted -- you figure, 'Well I could have just slowed down. I didn't have to be stopped.' I thought it was bad just to slow down. Now I see in me being stopped, I could have done this, been this, myself, instead of being forced to do it."

According to the rapper, the time he's missed working has lost him money, a lot of it. Not only did he lose an endorsement deal with General Motors, but a lot of other things as well.

"There are films that I missed out on. Not speaking of, of course ... tours. Tons of business. I've probably lost about $10 to $12 million," the rapper admitted.

"Sometimes you laugh to keep from crying. But you know, I'm blessed to be able to be out here to make $10 to $12 [million] more. Especially considering I brought this all on myself. So you know -- minimal injury. Maximum lesson learned," he continued.

T.I. (real name: Clifford Harris) arrested in October 2007 for illegally attempting to purchase firearms, which he's not allowed to own because he's a convicted felon.

Just last month, he pleaded guilty in exchange for a plea deal for a lesser sentence. In the deal, he would serve 1,500 hours of community service where he would speak to youth groups, followed by a year sentence in jail if the 1,500 hours were completed. He was facing up to 10 years.

As far as his next album, Paper Trail, T.I. said he's scheduled to go into the studio with Amy Winehouse soon, but he not sure if it will make the album. A new single, however, will be revealed in the coming weeks on his social-networking site, StreetCred.com.