T.I. Says Artists Need To Be "Mindful" Regarding Endorsements

T.I. speaks from experience about dealing with "outside dollars."

T.I. knows controversy. The Atlanta rapper has had high-profile rivalries with Ludacris, Lil Flip and others, and has served several stints behind bars on a variety of charges. As an entertainment mogul who has also starred in several big budget films and has served as a celebrity pitchman for GM, Sean John and others, he also knows how negative press can cost artists sponsorship opportunities.

"Endorsements come from corporations and corporations, that's outside dollars," T.I. said during an interview with SiriusXM's Hoodrich Radio. "That means that's money that you would not normally be making if you were not associated with this brand. So if you gone be associated with this brand, you gonna have to be associated with this brand and have them be associated with pride in whatever it is you do. So, it's kinda like you've got to be mindful of things you say if you choose to take in money from outside sources."

T.I. lost his endorsement deal with GM's Chevrolet in 2008 after he was convicted of felony gun charges after attempting to purchase firearms from an undercover federal agent. The rapper said he also lost numerous film and tour opportunities due to his status as a convicted felon.

But T.I. isn't alone. Several rappers have lost their sponsorship deals recently. Rick Ross lost his Reebok endorsement last month (April 11) after women's rights groups blasted the rapper for his lyrics on Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O.," in which he rapped about having sex with a woman whom he had drugged and was unaware that the sex had taken place.

Mountain Dew pulled an ad directed by Tyler, The Creator earlier this month (May 1) due to controversy surrounding the spot's purported racist and misogynistic bent. The beverage company also dropped Lil Wayne this month (May 3) after the YMCMB rapper rhymed on a remix to Future's "Karate Chop" that, "I beat the pussy up, like Emmet Till." Till was a Black Mississippi teenager was beaten and killed in 1955 after allegedly flirting with a White woman. The two White men accused of killing Till, who was visiting from Chicago, were later acquitted.

T.I. said that Wayne, in particular, didn't mean any harm with his lyrics. "He was just kickin' flav," said T.I., who was on the air, in part, to promote the release of Grand Hustle's Hustle Gang collective's G.D.O.D. mixtape. "You've really got to be in our life and of our lifestyle to understand."

RELATED: T.I. Explains Why "Addresses" Went Nameless, Comparing Himself To Tupac

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  • Money First

    I understand what he's saying and I understand the game...The only problem I have is the whole nation is getting soft! If you don't stand up to these brands and these organizations its another form of censorship....People say insensitive shit all the time...Hell, all this homosexuality they push on TV is offensive (well at least to me) but I'm not marching trying to censor anything so they need to realize just as well that this is just Rap and thats all it is!!!

    • foreal

      they arent soft. it is corporate america. they are paying these rappers for a reason, to help promote their business product, not make them look bad. business' have the right to drop spokespeople if they are bringing negative attention to their product, ei. rick ross. it is about money, not being soft. ross failed to see that, now he is out $$

    • Anonymous

      Not so much soft, more like they're just tired of turning a deaf ear to the things rappers are saying. It's not cool to be controversial anymore, because a company can always pay some straight lace to fall in line and represent the image they want.

  • the predder

    hey buddy have you seen ti the kid with the back pack and skate board oh hes at the game store playing t2 ok thanks

  • ImhO

    is it really that hard where u have to go thru life without saying stupid fuckin common sense shit? i mean its crazy.

  • Fuck Atlanta

    Fuck that, if Disney offers him a billion I'm sure he'll sign anything

    • foreal

      i dont think you read the article. he didnt say people should not take endorsements. he is saying that if a rapper takes an endorsement, they need to act more professional since people will be watching them closely. i think he is just droppin knowledge and giving advice.

    • ETK

      as would you, what's your point

  • 666

    first of im not 50 fan but this is why he a smart buisness man.. all these guys have to watch what they say because of there Endorsements deals .. 50 can say whatever he wants but he owns pretty much everything he does SMS AUDIO SK SHOTS SMS PROMOTIONS 50TH LAW UNDER GUNIT BOOKS THAT BOOK HE DID FOR FITNESS ETC. NOW I KNO WHY 50 DONT GIVE A FUCK WHAT HE SAY ..LOL

    • Sounds about right to me.

      I agree. But calm down with all of that 666 nonsense. You can't be a logical person and then turn around and rep the devil's mark. C'MON SON!

  • Anonymous

    Got respect for T.i. but he lost mad points for that one: 'in our life and lifestyle'(?) what life and lifestyle is that is that? Street? Black? oh I get it rappers and the celebrity life. Okay, I get it. That dumb line was not street, was not Black, that shit was way past ignorant, bruh.

  • Jay D

    "If you gone do an endorsement" way to make him sound like a coon

    • Anonymous

      they probably what he said. he talks like that. so really you should be calling tip a coon

    • Lboy

      "coon" who the fuck still uses that word anyway? So you use him saying "if you gone" instead of "if you want to" as a mark of whether he is a "coon" or not? lol that's some ignorant shit yo. By that criteria %90 of black people in Atlanta would be a "coon". I could go in more but I will leave it at that, educate yourself on southern dialect fool.

    • NONO

      Learn to be yourself. Don't worry about what others view as being coon.

  • Anonymous

    Eminem, arguably one of the most controversial lyricists has/had endorsements with lipton, g-shock, and chrysler. The heat from his initial blow up flared down and look at the endorsements that followed. Ross was unlucky.

  • Anonymous

    They basically cake out on these artists who have always had offensive lyrics until particularly targeted lines have been brought to light, aka rick ross. "OH MY we didn't know Rick Ross had such nasty lyrics in his music". Lol.

  • dentaldamboy

    Faker using my name. My grandparents never heard of this site but are cheating on other people.

  • the predder

    hey ti hey little pal have you seen camron oh hes at the video game store playing t2 ok thanks

  • Fuck swagfags like you

    To "YMCMB OVA ERRYTHANGGG", there always is one nigga hating on another. Take it easy, if you're already sucking YMCMB dick how are you mad T.I is doing this allegedly? The man speaks sense. A partnership one creates with these companies is an endorsement; and in most cases an artist getting arrested/taking about date rape/beating pussy up until it resembles Emmett Till are all things that can potentially make a company lose its value. It's aight dentaldamboy, we ain't mad at cha.

    • dentaldamboy

      that takes SO much weight off my chest. THANK YOU. I learned a real lesson here and I hope everyone will feel the same and not hate me

  • MrRapGuy

    I dunno why its so hard for rappers to endorse a f**king product without any incident? I guess its not for everybody...

  • dentaldamboy

    I actually am not a accountant, I gotta come clean. I'm 14 and live in my grandparents house (my mom gave me up cause she was a crack-head and never met my dad). I do this trolling thing because it makes me feel like I matter to SOMEONE at least ! Now that the jokes over, I just want to apologize for being such an troll and all my fake opinions...please don't be too mad, this site is all I have ...


    who cares about this washed up hoe ass nigga sidelining shows to lil wayne and signing garbage artists