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I caught up with celebrities arriving at Radio City Music Hall in New York for the 68th Annual Tony Awards. Check out my interviews with Questlove, Wayne Brady, Fantasia, T.I., and more below.

The times are certainly changing, and if anyone in music has experienced that, it is rapper T.I. TIP has sold almost 7 million albums and 15 million singles in the U.S. alone. Yet the Atlanta-native currently finds himself without a record label and on a tour with Lil Wayne that is selling tickets in some markets for as low as $10.

“This is what we call a paradigm shift in society right now,” T.I. explained over the phone in an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “This is a generational shift where new people are coming in to power and there’s a new day and age; a new way of doing things.”

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The “Whatever You Like” artist notes that anyone in business has to adapt to a changing climate.

“I’m in a very unique position where I have artists, including myself, I have producers, I have writers under my wing,” he said. “For me to go to any distributor and walk in any building and give them instant market share, and give them instant credibility, instant relevance, and also an already-made superstar, that’s going to take a considerable investment.”

With the feasibility in this day and age of recording and releasing music independently, especially under an already-known name, there’s no reason to believe that T.I. is simply showing a poker face. He told me he’d like to release Trouble Man II: He Who Wears The Crown by this December. If there’s no deal in place with a record label, the rapper insists that he’ll release it without a major label. Coincidentally enough, the first single, “Wit Me,” features his summer tour-mate.

“Wayne was in Atlanta man, and he hit me,” T.I. recalled. “I think he might have hit me about 5 in the morning, say he was on his way to the studio. So I was just up watching TV at the house and I was like, ‘Hell man, I’m not going to let him out work me, I’m going to the studio too!’”

The two superstars listened to tracks from T.I.’s Hustle Gang in-house producers. A beat produced by Cordale “Lil C” Quinn stood out from the rest, and shortly after hearing it both Weezy and TIP started cutting verses.

“We didn’t get out of there that morning… might have been about 9:30 in the morning,“ he said. “And (Wayne) was still working!”

T.I. says that Lil Wayne is “doing good” following reports that speculated various conditions of his health.

“He’s in awesome spirits,” TIP said. “One thing I can say, it has nothing to do with drugs, because I’ve been around him several times, shooting the video and on personal time and I haven’t seen him around or doing anything anywhere related to any kind of narcotics. I can attest to that.”

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T.I. couldn’t keep his hands off guns, or his hands off drugs. Now according to TMZ’s Nicki Fertile, the rapper and his wife Tiny couldn’t keep their hands to themselves, either.

Catch Nicki on TMZ TV, local listings here.

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T.I. talked a man off of a ledge in Atlanta, and then talked with TMZ… TMZ’s Nicki Fertile has more.

Catch Nicki on TMZ TV, local listings here.

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Connecticut-based attorney Robert Romano said that the arrest of T.I. alone could be enough of a probation violation to send the rapper back to jail.

Visit Mr. Romano on the web here.

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TMZ’s Nicki Fertile indicated that depending on the outcome of T.I.’s recent arrest, the rapper could find himself back in jail for probation violation.

Catch Nicki on TMZ TV, local listings here.

Turns out new artists Mike Posner and Iyaz have a couple things in common. Both attended four-year schools here in the States. And both used Dell laptops to record vocals and launch their respective careers.

“But it sounds crispy, doesn’t it?” Posner asked on Tuesday, referring to the track “Cooler Than Me.’ Oh yeah, both artists have also joined “The Ralphie Radio Show” as a guest. And yes, “crispy, “clean”, “clear”, you could insert a number of adjectives to describe how good it sounds all considering. Posner wrote and recorded the track in his Duke University dorm room, inspired by the women he encountered at the school.

“I can’t tell you like after the song came out like how many girls from my past came out of the woodwork and were like ‘I know this song is about me,’” recalled the emcee. “It’s like, ‘Ugh, you’re so vain. It’s not about you. But, now that you’re saying that, it kinda is.’”

Despite his disdain for some of the women on campus, Posner credits the Blue Devil student body’s support in launching his career to its current point. And although he wouldn’t divulge on the existence of any form of hazing, the artist even admits that his fraternity, Sigma Nu, also played a big role.

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Mike Posner is poised to explode on to the scene with his mixtape anthem, “Cooler Than Me” – an ode to the types of women he typically encountered on the campus of Duke University. The Duke graduate also spoke on the school’s basketball championship and his forthcoming appearance on this year’s Vans Warped Tour.

Download Posner’s mixtapes for free at mikeposner.com.

“I told my brothers to help me spread (my music),” he said. “Within’ a matter of months, the people in my fraternity had helped me create a nationwide fan base and now, I’m living my dreams because of them.”

Matter of fact, Posner is so busy that he can’t even find the time to collaborate with the likes of Flo-Rida and T.I. for the rappers’ respective forthcoming albums. The Michigan-born artist is currently working on his debut LP. He wouldn’t release the title to “The RRS” but did reveal that he’s looking at a September release and that there would be no features with other artists.

“All Posner, all hits!” he joked. “I don’t need to trick people in to liking my stuff.”

Certainly a unique perspective, but then again – how many emcees do you know entering the game with a degree from Duke?

T.I. is recording material for a new album, and according to one artist he collaborated with, is in good spirits as he prepares new tracks for his forthcoming LP.

“Oh yeah, he’s definitely got a lot to prove,” remarked B.O.B. The Atlanta emcee is signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle label, distributed by Atlantic. “(He has) a lot of motivation.”

Authorities released the “Live Your Life” rapper from prison to a halfway house last December. T.I., real name Clifford Harris, is permitted to leave the house on weekdays for work purposes, but must return by evening. Jim Jonsin, who has produced a plethora of hits, including “Whatever You Like”, is also confirmed to be working on the project. T.I. will leave the halfway house on March 26.

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On Monday, after the interview with B.O.B, T.I.P made his first public appearance, at a charity event organized by his fiancée, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle. He also created a Twitter account. Already “Verified”, there is only one tweet from username “Tip”, a tease for a “major announcement” coming next Monday at T.I.’s website, trapmuzik.com, with the hash tag “#kingsback.”

“We actually got in the studio recently, recorded a track for his album,” B.O.B said on working with the head of his label. Although later he clarified that the song may not appear on T.I.’s album, but will see the light of day in some form or fashion.

B.O.B’s LP, B.O.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, hits stores on April 27 – actually pushed up from an original May release date due to the success of the single, “Nothin’ On You”, which features Bruno Mars. The emcee is currently on tour with Lupe Fiasco.

As politically active as Young Jeezy was last fall, it only made sense that last week, he felt right at home in what the pundits called, “The Ground Zero of the Presidential Election.”

“I appreciate Scranton for standing behind (President Obama),” Jeezy told me backstage at the first stop on the “America’s Most Wanted Music Festival.” Obama won both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. “We here now, we’re trying to make the world a better place.”

The Atlanta-rapper is both realistic and patient – he believes it’ll take President Obama two terms to fix the various big ticket issues our country faces. But he also recognizes the other half of the winning ticket.

“Joe Biden! What up homie!” he cheerfully shouted when I reminded him that Vice President Biden is from the Electric City.

The conversation quickly turned to music, as Jeezy is working on his fourth studio LP: Thug Motivation 103. No release date is set – and the rapper is rather evasive on details. Jeezy did tell me that fans can expect, “a little bit of everything,” referring to a conglomerate of material that people grew accustomed to between Thug Motivation 101 and The Recession.

“Everything still pretty much in the can right now,” Jeezy revealed. “It’s gonna be a very special album, but at the same time, the streets gonna love this, Scranton are gonna love this, people are gonna love this album.”

Still, Jeezy would not as much as divulge any type of timeline for the record’s release, simply stating that he’ll drop it once it’s finished. You would think that if it’s already in production, it’ll be released by the time fellow Atlanta rapper T.I. leaves jail. Young Jeezy told me that through their respective camps he keeps in touch with T.I.P.

“He’s gotta pay his debt to society and get back on it. We here for him though.”

06.25.09 : T.I. – All Night


T.I. samples the Vanessa Carlton track, ” A Thousand Miles.”