i'm a big fan of clifford harris, jr. i was truly devastated when he fell into his latest round of legal troubles. i can remember exactly where i was when i found out he and tiny had been arrested on weapons charges. as it happens, a friend and i were in atlanta for the taping of the ghettofab bet hip hop awards. i was anxiously awaiting t.i.'s performance as this would be the first time i'd see him perform live. however when he didn't bound onto the stage after winning his first award, i knew something was up. my friend and i quickly pulled out our crackberries and furiously tried to figure out what had gone awry via goggle. and there it was in black and white. RAPPER T.I. ARRESTED ON FEDERAL GUN CHARGES. plus images of tiny with her fiery red and blond hair draped over her face as she sat on the curb in shame.
as the details unfolded, it became clear that the talented mr. harris wouldn't be getting out of this one so easy, even with the best defense money could buy. these were federal charges carrying federal time with federal evidence to back them up: confidential informants, surveillance tapes, confessions, etc. etc.
and so, t.i. embarked on the biggest public relations campaign of his life, complete with a new album, multi-city tour, and a cheesy mtv reality show following his road to reduction in sentence. yet when the time came for him to learn his fate, it was still a year and a day despite all the life lessons and scared straight tactics. still t.i. seems committed to his nicer, shinier persona, having recently launched a new ad campaign called Responsiblity Is A Lifestyle: It's Time to Bury Da Beef.
I hope that through my mistakes, young people can begin to learn, as I did, that we have to put our guns down and start to give our guns back. It pains me inside to hear about so many of our people dying because of gun violence. Just in the past weeks, a 13-year old boy was shot in the head in Harlem, a 17- and a 19-year old were murdered in a double homicide in Queens and a 15-year-old was chased, beaten, shot and burned in Chicago.
while he seems sincere in his new positive direction, i wonder what kinda records he's gonna put out after his federal stint is over. on paper trail he rapped less about hurtin folks and more about the sorrow of those dead and gone. but i wonder what will he rap about after the fed time is done. will t.i. become the new "conscious" rapper of our generation, speakin the truth to the young black you?
what say you?