In a telling interview this month, T.I. disclosed his feelings about his recent drug charges and subsequent jail time. Before the Atlanta rapper headed off to jail earlier this month, he’d sat down with Vibe magazine to describe what he thinks about the public’s perception of him, and if he feels he’s being treated unfairly.

“If I place my value in the way humans treat me, then maybe. But they’re human, man–they can’t help themselves,” T.I. said. “They do that to people they know personally. So how can I expect them to treat me, only knowing me through television? They did that to Jesus. They did that to Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali. They did it to every great person you could possibly think of. When it was all good, they was with them. When things got bad, then they was against them.”

While public sentiment has been one of disappointment with T.I.’s actions, the rapper has remained relatively quiet in explaining his behavior. However, he finally tried to vocalize why he thinks he’s fallen back into old habits and also takes umbridge with those who’ve spoken against him.

“Let me just say this,” he began. “If you look at a guy who came up, no pops in the house, moms on welfare, food stamps, started selling dope when he was 12, 13 years-old, came up handling guns, being in shoot-outs, started going to jail when he was 15. In all of this chaos and this mischief and lawlessness, the person who was just in jail for machine guns and silencers turns his life around. And now you want to crucify him–for what? Three pills. I mean, of course it’s wrong and unacceptable and inexcusable. No problem. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s rather petty. It’s rather petty to hold someone’s feet to the fire for something so small when they have overcome things that were so big. All that could have been going wrong–if I was riding with more guns, or if I had gotten into a shoot-out and killed somebody, then I could see that. But just think about it. I’ve gotten it down to this much.”

Although T.I. and wife Tameka Cottle were arrested for possession of ecstasy, he says he first got into the drug habit because of prescription drugs.

“I had a lot of work done to my teeth. Oral surgery, extractions, six, seven, eight root canals. Between January to February. As soon as I got out, I had a lot of stuff done. In the joint, you eat shit that is unhealthy for you. I had fillings that fell out and stuff that had to get dealt with. Of course for the pain they gave me oxycotin and hydrocodon. And, mind you, on October 13, 2007, I had cut off everything–weed, alcohol. Then I get these pills and I start taking them for the pain at first. And then, I’m like, ‘Wait–this shit makes me feel good. And it’s legal.’ After the pain went away, I kept taking it. I had like five, six prescriptions. So I had, like 80 pills. Everybody else might have a drink or smoke a blunt, I took a pain pill. Times when I had 18-20 hour days, I’d take a pain pill. And eventually I developed–I guess–the beginning stages of dependence.”

The Vibe cover story will appear in next month’s issue.