URGE: How much did the success of "My Love" affect you going in this direction?
T.I.: It had no determination on the concept of the album. It was a wonderful collaboration. One of my favorites, but I was already in line with how I wanted to do the next album at that time. It wasn't like, "Oh, since I got the opportunity to be a big pop star let me." I don't make my music like that.
URGE: What opportunities have opened up for you since "My Love"?
TI.: Believe it or not, man, I was doin' pretty well before "My Love." [Laughs.] I always like to think that I bring just as much to the table as I take away. I don't think JT needed me no more than I needed him.
URGE: At the BET Awards you were very vocal in emphasizing that it's unfair to blame rappers for how their musical content influences children.
T.I.: Have you ever been shot? Shot at? Shot anyone? Done time? Any of that kind of stuff that I've done in my life? Then you don't reserve the right to speak on those of us that have. Old war veterans who went to Vietnam, if they survive and make it home they reserve the right to speak on it because of their experiences. People that haven't had their experiences, can't tell them how to feel about the war or how to speak about it. All they can do is sit back and listen. So I just invite you to sit back and listen. When you got that pen in your hand, you got freedom of expression. That's the same right we have as artists. I feel like the connection is so strong and great from child to star because television is so influential in children's lives.
There's not enough things in their real life to affect them or to influence them. I know people who are very influential to me and my 'hood. If there were people that meant more to [children] than the rappers then whatever those people told these children to do would mean more to them then what the rappers tell them to do. [Parents] got to be there from the jump and can't be there Wednesday between three and five. Real people and influences in your life who can tell you right from wrong. That way you can judge what you see on TV and you don't get jaded. Most parents sit their children in front of the TV and want MTV to raise they child. They wanna go and talk on the phone to they girlfriend and leave the house while they child in front of the TV. Now you can't blame what the TV playin'. You need to take the child off from out in front of the TV and spend time with your child.