T.I. Explains Lessons Learned, Reveals Eminem Was A Big Supporter

By Allen Starbury  |  05/07/2008

T.I.While free and doing his community service duties, T.I. is finally back in the public eye. For once, while not speaking to the kids, the rapper recently explained his new music, and some of the things he learned as a result of his federal gun case over the past year.

Via an interview with Atlanta radio station Hot 107.9, T.I. revealed that he's learned a lot about himself while sitting on house arrest, awaiting his trial. Specifically, how strong he is.

"I've learned that I have a lot more patience than I previously gave myself credit for. I've learned that I have a lot more strength than I may have given myself credit for. Possibly, before this whole situation, I may have not been living up to my full potential," T.I. said on the air.

While he admits he's definitely changed over the course of the ordeal, he said it shouldn't change his music... that much. But, of course, he admitted that there will be slight differences shown on his upcoming album, Paper Trail.

"Very, very... ever so slightly," he said when asked if his circumstances have changed how his new album will sound, content-wise. "Not to a great deal, or an extra degree of censorship. I'm just making sure this album is much more intelligently and artistically put together. I'mma still get loose. I'mma still do me by all means. Don't expect nothing else. ... You're gonna hear different styles, different parts of me. I'm gonna have different views and different perspectives because those elements that were in my life, no longer exist."

The Atlanta rapper recently leaked the first song since being sentenced to community service called "No Matter What," where he rapped candidly about his struggles over the past year. T.I. explained that the track was recorded during the holidays last year, a time when he was feeling the effects of the entire situation.

"It was just me feeling the effects of not being able to be with my family. It was right when the hating and the rumors were real fresh. On the radio, when everybody was really getting their T.I. hate on, dropping videos, saying they had me in coffins, and all kind of other foolishness," he explained.

To his surprise, during those rough patches, he said his hip-hop peers showed a lot of support, revealing the names of some surprising supporters.

"I wasn't expecting to hear from nobody. I made a point not to reach out to people ... because I didn't want to get none of my trash in nobody else's yard ...

"Jeezy actually came to one of my hearings. ... I spoke to Wayne a couple times, spoke to Puff, Jay a few times. I probably spoke to Busta [Rhymes] the most," he continued. "The only person I spoke to more than Busta was Eminem. Me and Eminem stayed in contact, stayed on the phone. Just checking in on each other, making sure one another was doing good. Of course I spoke to Nelly, a lot."

T.I. will speak further on Wednesday (May 7) via BET News special, entitled "T.I. Speaks," his first televised interview since reaching a plea bargain on weapon charges in March.

He is said to directly answer tough questions from host Toure and a group of at-risk students about his life and future after being sentenced to a year in prison.

His upcoming Paper Trail album is expected to hit stores in September.