A year came and went and he was back home, ready to get back to work, as the public eagerly awaited the musical magic he must’ve been cooking up while behind bars, Tip got to work on his next album, King Uncaged, later changed to No Mercy. What was taking form was his answer to the confinement of doing a prison sentence, any humiliation that he may have felt from such a misstep, and above all else : good music. Trap music. Tip’s music.

Unfortunately, things didn’t unfold as we all thought they would.

By September of 2010, the father of six was back in trouble, and subsequently put behind bars for violating his probation. Regardless of the sentence, No Mercy was released on Dec. 7. In comparison to Paper Trail the enthusiasm wasn’t as great, but the album still surpassed 1 million copies.

Getting out of prison for the second time in two years, T.I. approached this release differently. Rather than only going to the studio, he got busy in all facets of media and opportunity. He dipped his foot back into the acting pool, wrote two novels, signed Iggy Azalea, and premiered a reality show on VH1. “T.I. is one of the last few remaining Hip-Hop superstars,” says Jayson Rodriguez, former executive editor at XXL magazine, and co-host of the BQE podcast. “[He’s] That true superstar that can command the attention of a whole mass of people.”

Rodriguez attended the New York installment of the Atlanta native’s listening session, and like in L.A. T.I. let his present work, rather than his past mistakes, blaze the trail. “T.I. is still one of those people, even if he doesn’t have a reality show, he has a huge social media following, he’s acting, he’s kind of a multi-media person. He hasn’t quite alienated anybody to where even if his album isn’t a blockbuster, it’s a wrap for him.”

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