T.I. Outlines What He Sees As The Positive Aspects Of The Crack Era (Video)
Although the crack epidemic is one of the most tragic times for addiction, poverty, and crime, it has an odd relationship with Rap music. Iconic songs and albums have used the free base form of cocaine as thematic inspiration. This ranges from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” to N.W.A.’s “Dopeman,” to Master P’s “Ghetto D,” to Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments,” and beyond.
Meanwhile, iconic artists, producers, and moguls have admitted real-life relationships with the drug. While only a few have admitted to smoking it, legions of rappers have spoken about making it, selling it, or its effects on their community.
T.I. is one such artist. He is the latest guest on Drink Champs. Right before the 32:00-mark, as T.I. finishes a segment speaking about his two incarcerations while being a platinum star, co-host N.O.R.E. references how both men come from the streets and hustling. “People don’t realize how hard it is, man. Right T.I.? We come from the hood, we’re sellin’ drugs, we know that that life leads to two different options. We start writing these words and playin’ with these words and these words work. And there’s no book to say how to hold your money [or] what to do when you spend your money.”
“Being a drug-dealer, a crack-dealer taught us how to handle money,” responds Tip. “It taught you manufacturing, distribution, profit-and-loss. You had to create a demand, supply that demand. You expand. Acquisitions, you go, and you take over a block. Mergers, you do a deal with some guys; y’all share a block. All of these different types of business structures we learned from selling crack. I always say, man, there can be no bad without some good. It’s destructive. And as horrendous as the crack era was, it showed us how to be businessmen. There would not have been a Master P without the crack era. There would not have been a JAY-Z without the crack era. Listen. Eazy-E wouldn’t have had the money to put Dr. Dre in the studio if it wasn’t for selling crack. You dig? Crack paid for that. God bless Eazy-E, but Dr. Dre [is now] a billionaire, champ. That started from crack!”
Moments later, Tip again acknowledges the bad effects of the drug. He deduces, “But let’s focus on the good. That’s what the Trap Music Museum does. [It] does just that that. We focus on the positive message that comes from us surviving those circumstances, enduring that environment, overcoming it, and taking our experiences and setting it to music. [We packaged] it as philosophical presentation that the world, now, tunes into. The same way the mafia had their time, and everybody was tuned into the mafia; now they’re tuned into the crack era. Trap music is a direct result of the crack era.”
In his Atlanta, Georgia-based Trap Music Museum, T.I. confirms that there is an escape-room.