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‘Bruh, Who Approved That?’: T.I. Speaks Out After Atlanta Falcons Debut New Sports Anthem from Nigerian Superstar Rotimi Instead of Local Atlanta Artists, Singer Responds to the Backlash

The Atlanta Falcons debuted a new anthem days before their season-opening game on Sunday, Sept. 11. To get fans hyped for the new season, the NFL team released a trailer and theme song for “Rise Up,” featuring Nigerian artist Rotimi. He wore a number-seven Falcons jersey in the video, while singing, “Red, black, and white, yeah/ We gone rise up/ ATL that city, we go higher.”

However, Atlanta native T.I. disapproved of the new song and told the world so during an 11-minute video on Instagram. “Listen, um who in da f–k did you call bro’? Who did you call?” he said.

T.I. (L) and Rotimi (R). Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Prince Williams/Wireimage

The 41-year-old admitted he had “no problem” with Rotimi, whom he called a “brother” and “ally.” But he would have preferred the song be performed by an original artist from Atlanta.

“He’s a brother we f–k with him but bruh we have so much culture so much talent from the city. So many die-hard Falcons fans that happen to be a-list talent in the city,” he continued. “Who did you call?”

T.I. went on name-dropping himself and other Atlanta natives like Migos‘ rapper Quavo, 2 Chainz and Jeezy, who would have welcomed the opportunity to be a part of “Rise Up.” “Bruh…who approved that? Who sitting in these meetings,” he added.

He believes the anthem creates “animosity” between the team and fans, referring to it as “counterproductive.” He claims he “reached out” to his contacts and other “personal relationships” with the Falcons to find out how this happened and why he wasn’t consulted.

“Y’all call me about other things and I answer and I contribute. Why not call me about this bruh?” In response to a woman who alleged that maybe T.I.’s “not that important in Atlanta,” he said, “Maybe not. You right. Just call the Mayor of Atlanta…ask him. Ask the last Mayor, ask her, or call the mayor before that.”

To those who don’t like him, he said, “Call 2 Chainz if you don’t like me. Call Ludacris if you don’t like me. Call Killer Mike if you don’t like me. I don’t give a f—. I care about the people.”

The “Trap Muzik” artist predicted the team will have a “tough” season later in the video. He explained to a female waitress that he was “not mad but perturbed” about the song, calling Rotimi “a friend of the city but out of the country.”

For a brief moment, T.I. switched gears to promote the House of Creole restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio and shared three tips with a male waiter on how fans should conduct themselves when meeting an artist or entertainer.

“Anyway, back to the Falcons,” said T.I. “Anybody been by the official Falcons headquarters? said T.I. in reference to his restaurant, “Trap City Cafe.” Another gentleman he referred to as the “GOAT” suggested Rich Homie Quan could have sang the song instead of Rotimi.

T.I.’s fans in the comments were equally confused, wondering why an artist from another country was chosen over an artist from Atlanta.

“That’s right TIP, call them out because that’s not right.”

“I don’t know why this usually happens! If you’re going to make something to represent a certain city then bring the LEGENDS who went through blood sweat and tears to put the city on for years.”

“TIP I’m with you when you’re right. I said the same thing!!!!!!”

“@atlantafalcons we need answers expeditiously!!”

“Who even was that dude that did that video for the falcons? There’s soooooo many more qualified candidates that’s part of ATL & ATL culture!! Plenty more that would’ve been PERFECT for that occasion imo Salute Kings. @troubleman31 @bob @2chainz @bigboi @andre3000 @ceelogreen @killermike @jeezy @pastortroydsgb. Just to name a few. Any of those would’ve been much much better!! Smh. Atl falcons y’all dropped the ball on this one.”

Unfortunately, the Falcons ultimately lost their game against the New Orleans Saints with a score of 27-26. Fans began blaming Rotimi’s song for their loss, but he immediately responded to the backlash in a comical video on Instagram. Using his infamous “Mr. Butterscotch” persona, he told fans in the caption, We are on the same side. @atlantafalcons. #Theycalledme.”

“They’re going to kill Rotimi,” he continued. in his Nigerian accent. “Rotimi. He loves Lil Baby. I want us to win. He wants us to win. He loves T.I. and Outkast and Waffle House, and all the things that are in Atlanta.” He added, “We love it here. We bought houses in Atlanta. ‘Eh, ‘Rise Up.”

After stirring up a bunch of fuss, Rotimi cleared up how he got involved with the song and video during an interview on “The Big Tigger Morning Show.”

He explained to hosts Big Tigger, who appeared in the “Rise Up” video, and Shamea Morton that reps were impressed after watching one of his performances. Afterward, they asked if he would do the promo for the official Falcons anthem. But there were several reasons why he chose to participate.

“One…not every day a billion dollar company calling you. And then secondly, I actually live here. I’ve been living here for the last 10 years off and on.”

He continued, “I’ve been living here for the last four years straight. I got two homes here. My son was born here. So for me, I’ve been around the south’s feeling for years and years and years. Even when I was filming ‘Power,’ I would be coming to the A just to get away from New York. So for me it was always like my second home.”

Rotimi said his third reason for doing “Rise Up,” was because of how much he loves the city of Atlanta. The 33-year-old slipped up and revealed that he received “compensation” for the song and video. “We got compensated for our work so for me it was just like a definitely great thing and plus I love the city so much,” he said.

The father of one said he was less phased at the backlash he received and more surprised. He also noted that T.I. was one of the few people who even knew he lived in Atlanta.

“That’s why I made my response…just jokes. But for sure they chose me and I was honored.” He concluded the interview by saying, “Butterscotch forever baby. Hashtag, they called me baby.”

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