T.I. Performs Classic Hits on NPR’s Tiny Desk With Students From the Atlanta Music Project
T.I. becomes the latest rapper to stop by NPR for their Tiny Desk series, and his performance was definitely one to remember. Backed by young musicians from the Atlanta Music Project, Tip performed three of his biggest songs, "Rubberband Man," "What You Know," and "Live Your Life."
He began the set by highlighting the "trap elements" at play—given that horns, strings and organs were present, making for a perfect acoustic trap setting, before launching into "Rubberband Man," from his classic album Trap Muzik, which turned 15 last week. The album cemented him as a pioneer of the genre, though the history of its development spans much further.
With each song at Tip's NPR Tiny Desk performance, he delivered pared-down pieces of verses and choruses, sprinkled with monologues containing the kind of wisdom only T.I. can give. At one point, he spoke directly to the Atlanta Music Project students who backed the instrumentals, who are a part of the program in Tip's hometown that provides free music education to at-risk youth.
"You are never defined by your environment unless you allow yourself to be," he said.
You are able to do anything in the world you want to do in life, you know what I'm saying? Don't ever let nobody tell you what you can accomplish. The only thing between you and your dreams is your effort."
In addition to speaking to the students, he also spoke about the Trap Muzik album and gave some amazing anecdotes giving insight into his life at the time. Evidently, right after wrapping the video for "Rubberband Man," he received a call that police were raiding his home, a moment that he recalls as "bittersweet."
"I think that's all in the essence of trap music," he said. "This music was about the elements that people have to endure in their lives every day and find the brighter side to make a way out of no way, and that's what this music really represents."
Whether you're a T.I. fan, a trap music fan, or just a Tiny Desk fan, the video is pretty amazing. Check it out in full at NPR.
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