Multi-platinum selling and Grammy-nominated rapper T.I. is winning.
The new season of his VH1 reality show, T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, premieres August 25. His highly anticipated ninth studio album, Paperwork: The Motion Picture, executive produced by Pharrell, will be released this fall.
T.I. is also tied to pop’s biggest breakout star of 2014, Iggy Azalea. The 33-year-old rapper developed and signed the Australian sensation and was with her as a mentor and music exec well before she was sitting atop the charts.
Azalea now holds the spot for the most weeks at No.1 for a female rapper ever.
In a wide-ranging interview with Chris Witherspoon for MSNBC.com, T.I. weighed in on some of the criticism Azalea has received, specifically from the African-American hip-hop community.
“She is a white rapper, but she’s also a phenomenally talented and gifted performer,” T.I. said. “I think that in this day and age… 2014, color, race, creed, gender… for us to use those stereotypical things to separate us or use it as an excuse to not like something… I think that makes you a wack person. I think you should judge a person on their action and deeds… their ability and what they have to offer and contribute to the world.”
There has been a lot of buzz that Azalea has a chance to sweep the 2015 Grammy Awards, just as Macklemore did earlier this year.
T.I. addressed the ongoing debate surrounding Macklemore’s win for Best Rap Album of the year.
“The Grammys… that kind of scale is off… when you’re talking about what is going on in hip-hop,” T.I. said. “Their vision or their opinion is kind of jaded, because of the generational gap in the judges and the people that sit on the board. They don’t really know what’s hot in the streets. I think people were outraged because they felt like there was someone else that deserved to win. I wasn’t upset. I was surprised that one of the greatest albums of last year didn’t get more acknowledgment and more consideration, which was Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar.”
T.I. also revealed some new details about his upcoming album Paperwork: The Motion Picture, which he said will feature new collaborations with Pharrell and Azalea.
Last Year, T.I. teamed up with Pharrell and Robin Thicke for the chart-topping hit, “Blurred Lines.”
The song was a huge success in the United States but was banned from being played in five British University campus bars, amid claims the song’s lyrics “excused rape claims.”
T.I. defended the message behind “Blurred Lines” and said he considers the song a tribute to women.
“I think you have to work really hard to get ‘rape’ out of “Blurred Lines,” T.I. said. “I think it was a celebration for beauty for women… just really admiring women who deserved admiration.”
Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.