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T.I. on Why He Stopped Rapping About Money, Popping Bottles and Embraced Conscious Music

On the Oct. 18 edition of “The Whoolywood Shuffle” radio show, rapper T.I. tells fans and critics why he decided to focus on more positive, conscious themes in his music.

At the 3:20 mark, the rapper says that the dramatic artistic shift came from the repeated killings of Black people by police officers. Fans also noticed this new direction in his latest Us or Else album. In a September interview with “The Daily Show”‘s Trevor Noah, T.I. defended rappers who create music that could be perceived as negative.

“People need to take into consideration that hip-hop traditionally has always been a reflection of the environment,” he said.

Now, he has a new line of reasoning. After watching numerous police brutality videos, he was inspired to do something through his music.

“It was just the consistent, repeated, disregard for human life,” T.I. tells D.J. Whoo Kid. “It made me feel like if ain’t nobody else saying anything surely I can’t sit back and just expect to go on talking about popping bottles, money or wearing jewelry.”

T.I. adds that police officers — like the citizens they police — should be held accountable for their actions.

“It’s the way the travesties are handled, because of course in any society you’re going to have legal mishaps … [However] no one even considers the thought of accountability. It’s almost like, ‘Yeah, what are you gonna expect? Of course, he’s gonna get off. It’s a Black guy and a cop.’ It’s just complete disregard for basic human rights.”

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