T.I. hasn’t had much of a great reputation when it comes to women, which stretches from countless rumors of infidelity to comments that he made concerning his daughter’s hymen. Nevertheless, the Grand Hustle Records founder presses on within his career, remaining relevant within various walks of the entertainment industry as he continues to release albums as well as in television and film.
The Atlanta rapper made headlines when it was announced that he had signed Australian rapper Iggy Azalea to his label Grand Hustle Records after a failed deal with Interscope Records fell through, which was a huge stepping stone for her career. Azalea first moved to the States by herself at the age of 16 to pursue her rap career and had been heavy on the grind since she touched down.
She would meet a breakthrough when in 2011, her music video for her song “P*$$y” went viral which caught the “Why You Wanna” rapper’s attention, every other major label’s, as well as Wilhelmina Models, who offered her a contract with their agency. “He called me up and was like, ‘Please.’ And I was like, ‘Definitely,” she says of how they first began working together. “You’re Tip. I love you, of course.’ So he’s gonna be kinda helping me out, like just kinda reaching out to people and helping me find production and pointing me in the direction of things that I might like.”
Tip also explained how they linked, but gives a different version. “Her exact words were, ‘It’s very smart of you to call me because I’m going to be smashing shit for quite some time now and no one will be able to breathe if you’re not on my team,’” he stated.
Things seemingly were off to a great start after the ink dried, however, T.I. had already been mentoring the “Fancy” rapper. She spoke to Interview Magazine, having nothing but positive things to say about her label boss in a past interview. “At the time, I felt like I was just floating around in a big ocean. I got picked up and caught by a label [Interscope], and it was very impersonal. It felt like I was a product,” Azalea said. “When I met him and everybody else over at [Grand Hustle], it felt like I was with real people again. He cared about me as a friend, not just as a check. I want to know that when I make mistakes, I have a label and a family who won’t desert me. I think a lot of people looked at it like, “Why would you do that? It’s Interscope! It’s a giant!” but you also have to be happy in the place that you work. I was in a bunch of studios that cost way too much money and I was getting served warm cookies when I walked in the door. It was too far out of my comfort zone.
With her debut album and single topping the charts, Azalea was poised to be one of the next big superstars to hit the scene. However, things would change when after a social media beef with rapper Azealia Banks, and Iggy began to be looked at as divisive. Things Iggy said directed towards Banks caused a stir, prompting legendary rapper/producer Q-Tip to fire a series of tweets to Iggy in attempts to educate the rapper on the history of hip-hop and its relationship to race and politics.
After a period of setbacks and mishaps, Azalea released her 2019 album In My Defense, also her first independent album since leaving the majors. “You get as many shots as you are able to persevere for in life, no matter what you do. You get as many chances as you’re willing to sit there and really fight for it tooth and nail,” Azalea told Cosmopolitan on putting out an album after 5 years. “And I’m not going to stop fighting for a second chance until somebody gives me one, and then I’m not going to f*** it up.”
Meanwhile, T.I. shared some regrets about signing and working with Azalea while promoting Netflix’s Rhythm and Flow. “I’m still actively looking for another female rapper who can undo the blunder of Iggy Azalea,” Tip admitted. “That is the tarnish of my legacy as far as [being] an [music] executive is concerned. To me, this is like when Michael Jordan went to play baseball.”
The comments from her former label boss definitely didn’t sit well with Azalea, and she took to Twitter to lay into him in a series of since-deleted tweets. “Imagine thinking I was his biggest blunder lmaoooooooooooooo Tip. Sweetie. We have a whole list for you,” she wrote, adding, ““The tea I could spill on what bullshit this is but at the end of the day I think people can see it’s clear he’s salty. He’s a huge misogynist and has never been able to have a conversation with any woman in which he doesn’t speak like a fortune cookie.”
Choosing to double down and explain his “blunder” in signing Azalea, he appeared on The Breakfast Club weeks later and had this to say: “As far as I’m concerned, I feel like when she found out white people liked her and she didn’t really need Black people to like her anymore, she switched up, started acting different [and] made moves that I wasn’t proud of that kind of placed my reputation in the line of fire. And she was very arrogant about it.”
In a series of now-deleted tweets, Azalea stepped in to defend herself and speak out against the rapper. “When will this guy shut up. The only song you ever were a part of making was ‘100.’ Thank you for that, but you were NOT a part of the creative OR executive process on that album,” she wrote. “Which is why I’ve always taken issue with you trying to approximate yourself with its success.”
She continued, deciding to throw shade at his family’s VH1 series. “Seeing a man speaking out of his a**hole and blurting out one thing in public and another in private for years is really infuriating. Keep it pushing sweetie & worry about what your next story line is for family hustle.”
Concluding her rant, she added, “Please move on and speak about artist you are (hopefully) actually helping, and stop trying to bring me up for relevance,” she added. “I don’t bring your a** up, NO ONE is asking about you. I’m tryna be nice because I genuinely have better and more interesting things happening…”
#IggyAzalea responds to #TI in a series of tweets. This comes after he said she switched up “when she found-out white people liked her and she didn’t really need black people to like her anymore”. He also said signing her was the “tarnish“ of his legacy as a music executive. pic.twitter.com/FdqX3Mgyfm— SOHH (@sohh) October 28, 2019
Azalea is currently readying the release of her third studio album, End Of An Era.