‘That Wasn’t the Thing Then’: T.I. and Fabolous Say It Wasn’t Cool to Admit Being in a Relationship, But Things Have Changed in Hip-Hop

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One could easily credit Jay-Z and Beyoncé for making marriage and long-term relationships look cool in the hip-hop space.

But before the superstar couple became relationship goals for many, it wasn’t often that a rapper was heard talking about his wife, let alone being seen with her at an industry event.

T.I. (left, with wife Tiny Harris) and Fabolous (with girlfriend Emily B.) said nowadays it’s cool for rappers to admit that they’re in a committed relationship but it wasn’t always like that. (Photos: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images, Brian Stukes/WireImage via Getty Images)

It’s something that T.I. and Fabolous talked about when the Brooklyn rapper recently stopped by Tip’s “ExpediTIously” podcast.

Both men said that times have changed in hip-hop, and now it’s totally acceptable for a rapper to admit that he’s married or in a committed relationship.

T.I. has been married to his wife Tiny Harris for almost 10 years, and they share a blended family of seven children.

Fabolous and his girlfriend Emily “B.” Bustamante have also been together for many years and have two sons. Emily has a daughter from a previous relationship as well.

“Even when I first came in, at the same time when you was coming in, family life wasn’t at the forefront of your career or who you was as an artist,” said Fabolous at the very start of the discussion. “You was even supposed to be projected as a single man for the public.”

T.I. agreed and said he once received instruction from his record label to hide his relationship.

“I remember when Atlantic didn’t really want people to know that I had, you know, a girl,” said Tip. “They were trying to keep me from showing [that part of my life.]”

Fabolous then said if he would’ve seen rappers with their wives or mates when he was younger, it would’ve made a big difference to him and others when it came to revealing their relationships to fans.

“I didn’t know DMX was married or Ja Rule was married,” said the “Make Me Better” creator. “You never knew them sh–s ’till this era. Them n—as was married for ten years or had a girl from their high school. That wasn’t the thing then. Those key figures, if we’d have seen them having families, we’d have known that’s cool.”

Tip said that he caught a lot of people off guard when he’d show up with Tiny somewhere, but he never thought it was strange that they would attend events together.

The Grand Hustle leader also said he’d have to explain to people that he’s a “diverse individual.” Because many would ask him if he’s a trapper, a ladies man or a family man since he’s claimed to be all three in his music.

“I remember n—as looking at me like I had three heads when I used to show up with my old lady,” T.I. recalled. “Back in 2003, 2004, I’d show up everywhere with my old lady. They was like, ‘Man why do you have your girl here?’ I was like ‘Man, why you ain’t got yours?'” 

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